Self-Directed Services: ‘Having Caregivers Who Really Know Me is a Life Saver.’
Linda Tedford was a single parent of two young children who worked full-time when she first learned about PICS (Partners in Community Supports), a subsidiary of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS). “I didn’t realize that there were options for me to actually have people who were in my family as paid caregivers for my son Chris,” recalled Linda.
What Is Self-Directed Care?
The option that has worked best for the Tedford family is a self-directed service called consumer-directed community supports (CDCS). CDCS and other self-directed services allow people with disabilities and older adults to receive support in their home, provided by caregivers of their choice.
Self-directed services allow people who need support to remain in their own homes and communities. They decide what types of support they receive – like personal care, transportation and respite – and set their own schedules. The participant also decides who provides their care, often family members and friends.
The participant serves as the employer – selecting and training their caregivers and setting schedules. If the participant is unable to perform this role, a representative may be appointed to carry out those duties.
PICS Provides Support for Families Who Self-Direct Care
In Minnesota, families who choose to self-direct must work with a financial management services (FMS) provider, such as PICS. As an FMS provider, PICS offers technical support for individuals and families who design their own supports and remain in their own homes and communities.
“At PICS, we will help you hire and train your workers, manage payroll, stay on budget and make sure all your financial reporting is correct,” said Tory Merhar, senior operations director of PICS.
“We chose the CDCS route because it allows us to use the budget dollars much more efficiently,” explained Linda. “If I had been going through an agency, I would be paying the agency’s fees at a much higher rate than what I’m able to pay direct care support personnel using PICS as the FMS.”
Family Support at Home
“Self-directed services allow people who are eligible and need support in their home to have the control, choice and flexibility to write their care plan and have it delivered in the way that they choose,” said Tory.
Chris’ caregivers are Linda and his aunt Pam. His aunt drives him to activities, goes with him to his job and assists him with physical therapy.
“Having caregivers who really know me, that is a life saver,” said Chris.
Linda’s advice to anyone considering using PICS as their FMS provider: “I would say trust the people at PICS. They will have your back, and they will help you navigate the system. PICS will be your village.”
For more information on self-directed services offered through PICS, connect with PICS’ Enrollment Team by going to the PICS website or calling 651.967.5060. They are ready to answer any questions you might have about how to get started.