People with chronic illnesses and disabilities, especially older adults, often need a caregiver to help them throughout the day. While this role has traditionally been played by one’s family members, the pressures of modern life have made it a difficult one to fulfill. Sometimes loved ones must quit their jobs or forgo other opportunities, placing them in precarious financial situations. These issues strain relationships and potentially compromise the patient’s quality of care. Although managed care plans in New York do cover personal aides, many patients dislike working with traditional home care agencies.

For these reasons, New York State created the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program. Also known as CDPAP, this program pays New York residents to work as home care assistants for their loved ones who need it. If you are a Medicaid recipient in need of personal assistance and who would like to “hire” a loved one to do the job, CDPAP may be able right for you.

grandmother and granddaughter hugging

What are the drawbacks of traditional home care?

If you’ve been assigned an aide through an agency before, you’re probably already familiar with these issues. However, if this is your first time considering home care, it’s a good idea to keep the following in mind while making your decision. The top complaints from traditional home care patients include:

Lack of choice. Most traditional home health service companies allow their clients little say in who their caretaker is and how their care is handled. In contrast, CDPAP empowers you to make your own decisions.

Frequent personnel changes. Even when assigned caregivers who turn out to be the right fit, patients have no guarantee that they will be there for them next week. Home care aides have one of the highest turnover rates around; the yearly rate was reported to be a whopping 60 percent in 2014! With CDPAP, you’ll be able to depend on someone you trust for a long time.

Poor communication. With the bureaucracy of a large company and a constant revolving door of workers, patients often experience communication breakdowns when working with agencies. At best, this can be frustrating. At worst, it can cause serious medical errors. CDPAP participants can pick someone who they know understands them.

Inconvenient scheduling. This can be a symptom of poor communication or just an overwhelmed system. Agencies don’t always provide aides when you need them most. On the other hand, your needs will be a much higher priority for a CDPAP caregiver.

Potential abuse. While agencies have cracked down on elder abuse by home aides, it’s still an all-too-common occurrence. This is an especially frightening prospect if your health problems make communicating with the authorities difficult. You’re likely to feel much safer with a friend or family member by your side.

Who can work as an aide through CDPAP?

Many common types of home care don’t require much — if any — specialized training. Consequently, almost any adult who isn’t “legally responsible” for your care may qualify for payment through CDPAP. This means that you can choose almost anyone, including both family members and close friends. However, certain individuals are excluded from the program.

For example, your assigned representative cannot participate in CDPAP. Also, since one’s spouse is always legally responsible for the other, yours cannot be paid through CDPAP as a family caregiver. In general, a CDPAP aide cannot live with you. However, an exception is made for family member caregivers who currently reside with a patient because of the level of care necessary but would otherwise have separate living arrangements.

Are there other advantages to CDPAP?

Patients who choose consumer-directed assistance programs like CDPAP tend to be significantly happier with their care compared with those who receive agency-directed assistance. It makes sense; friends and family care about you on a personal level, so they’re more attentive to your needs than a random stranger would be.

Another plus is that CDPAP aides can perform certain “skilled” tasks that agency aides cannot legally do, such as insulin injections. Since these tasks would otherwise need to be done by a nurse, your aide taking them on reduces costs and streamlines your care.


How can FreedomCare help you?

All New York residents currently enrolled in Medicaid can potentially benefit from CDPAP. If you aren’t sure about your eligibility or what steps to take to get the ball rolling on your application, FreedomCare is here for you.

Like many government programs, applying to CDPAP can be complicated and frustrating. Unfortunately, our state is particularly infamous for its fragmented healthcare system, making CDPAP difficult to navigate for those without prior experience. The experts at FreedomCare guide our clients through the application process step-by-step, making sure their needs are met and preferences respected.

If you or a loved one is considering CDPAP, you can learn more by contacting our offices today!