Empowering People Through Choice

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

​​Bently and his mom playing in the living room.“Raising a child with medical complexities is a long and lonely road,” says Kristine, whose son, Bentley, was born with multiple congenital medical issues. “It’s similar to a sport, in a way. It takes dedication. It takes courage. It takes perseverance.”

Bentley was born two months early. His upper esophagus didn’t connect to his lower esophagus and stomach, and he had several other congenital abnormalities and complications. He had 10 major surgeries before his fourth birthday. Kris and her husband, Nathan, decided to move from their small Iowa hometown to continue treatment for their son at Gillette Children’s, a hospital in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and to take advantage of the support they found through PICS (Partners in Community Supports).

PICS supports more than 2,000 participants who live with disabilities and more than 2,900 in-home caregivers as a Financial Management Services (FMS) and licensed services provider, processing the payroll of caregivers and handling accounting and tax reporting. The majority of in-home caregivers are family members or friends. Before learning about self-directed services offered through PICS, many don’t know they might be eligible to be paid through Medicare, Medical Assistance, Social Security or other means.

“The key value of PICS is the ability for participants to direct their own services,” said Alaina Ericksen, PICS’ senior director. “That allows them to remain in their home and community. They have the freedom to design the support that best fits their needs.

“Accessibility is at the forefront of all we do,” said Alaina. “We ensure accessibility in the mobility sense as well as cultural accessibility with materials in a variety of languages. Our services empower the people we serve to live their best lives, supported by caregivers they know and trust.

“Your choices, our support. That’s our theme.”

As a PICS participant, Bentley receives regular visits from health care providers who work with him on his mobility, strength, social interactions, personal care and emotional stability. Kris says being able to determine which services Bentley needs the most has been life-changing for both of them.

“Having that self-directed care that PICS makes possible has literally saved my son’s life and maybe mine, too! PICS has made me feel human again. It’s not just the services they provide—it’s also knowing that at any time, I can reach out and say, ‘I need help,’ and they’ll be there. I can breathe again, thanks to PICS.”

To learn about the services offered by PICS, read about the self-directed care options available, and contact PICS by calling 651.967.5060.