Adventures in Independent Living.



Personal Assistance Services


What are personal assistance services?

Personal assistants are individuals who are hired to assist individuals with disabilities and the elderly with eating, bathing, grooming, hygiene, chores, and other services, based on individuals' needs. Personal assistants allow individuals with disabilities and the elderly to live in the community, rather than at institutions such as nursing homes.

"Personal assistants empower older Idahoans and individuals with disabilties the choice to participate in all areas of community living with our family and friends. Without their assistance many individuals with disabilities and older Idahoans would not have the opportunity to live in our own homes or work in competitive employment," from Dana Gover's Idaho's Personal Assistant Survey Results (December 2011). Click on the link below to view the results of the survey.

Idaho's Personal Assistant Survey Results (December 2011)

Who pays for personal assistance services?

The State of Idaho Medicaid authorizes personal assistant services so that eligible participants can enjoy the greatest degree of self-reliance possible and enhance their quality of life, individual choice, consumer control, independence and community integration. Insurance plans also may pay for personal assistance services.

How do I determine if I'm eligible to obtain the help of personal assistance services?

If you are covered by insurance other than Medicaid, contact your insurance company to determine the process for applying for personal assistance services. If you are covered by Medicaid, call your Regional Medicaid Services office (RMS) to request an assessment to see if you qualify for services.

  • Participants approved for Medicaid Basic Plan or one of the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services waivers listed below can receive personal assistance services if medical eligibility criteria are met:
    • Developmental Disability (DD) waiver
    • Aged and Disabled (A&D) waiver
  • A Uniform Assessment Instrument (UAI) is completed for adults requesting Personal Care Services (PCS) or A & D waiver services. The Regional Medicaid Services (RMS) nurse reviewer completes the UAI to determine whether the participant meets medical criteria. If the personal care services are authorized by the RMS, the participant (and/or his family) will create a plan of care that outlines how the selected the services are to be delivered.

Can I choose my personal assistant?

If the RMS nurse reviewer determines that self-direction of services is a viable option, participants and/or their families can request the self-directed care option. This allows the participant to hire, train and fire his or her own personal assistant. Participants will be able to choose a fiscal intermediary, one of the Centers for Independent Living (CILs), that help with recordkeeping for payroll and liability insurance payments and to bill Medicaid for the personal assistance expenses.

For more information

Statewide Panel of Personal Assistants Work Group

Access to quality personal assistance services is crucial for Idahoans with disabilities seeking and maintaining competitive employment in the community. The panel consists of providers of personal assistance services and participants of those services.

The Panel's mission is to identify and promote constructive ideas to improve working conditions for Personal Assistance Services (PAS) employees and to encourage professionalism, recruitment, and retention.

The goals of the panel are to:

  • To carry recommendations from three regional PAS work groups.
  • To organize and present those recommendations to the State Personal Assistance Oversight Committee, and other public policy groups.

View the most recent recommendations that were presented to the State Personal Assistance Oversight Committee. (44B PDF)

For more information on the Statewide Panel of Personal Assistants Work Group:

idahopas.blogspot.com

Additional Resources

Phinational

Phinational.org has information regarding improving personal assistant services. They have a chart on personal assistant wages.

Direct Care Clearinghouse

Directcareclearinghouse.org also has information regarding personal assistant services. They have a fact sheet on personal assistants without health insurance.

Health Care for Health Care Workers

This is another service of PHI National. They have a fact sheet about why it is important for personal assistants to have health care coverage.

Pascenter

Pascenter.org has information, research, and links. The website is for both those that use personal assistants and those that are personal assistants.

Elder Law Answers

Some long term care questions can be answered at http://elderlawanswers.com.

Olmstead

The Olmstead vs. L.C. challenged state and local governments to provide long term care in the most integrated setting, in the community. Resources about the Olmstead Decision can be found at http://www.ilru.org/html/projects/olmstead/index.html.

Steve Gold

Steve Gold is a disability rights attorney that works promote the Olmstead Decision and the ADA. His web site is at http://www.stevegoldada.com.

Other Resources