Person-Driven Services and Supports are…

Person-driven services and supports (PDSS) are about choice and control.  PDSS are exactly what they sound like — PDSS means that services and supports are directed by the person who needs them.

Unlike traditional services controlled by agencies, the person gets to choose who supports them and how and when they are supported.  In PDSS, the person directly hires support workers instead of using an agency.  PDSS give people more flexibility, power and responsibility in selecting, managing, and paying their staff.  Person-driven services and supports are also called self-directed services, participant-directed services or consumer controlled services.

One of the barriers to directing your own services is the uncertainty and confusion about being an employer or managing your own budget.  Supports Broker and Recovery Coach services are services intended to help persons with disabilities be an employer, develop and manage their finances, and set goals and plans to meet goals.

In Pennsylvania, there are a number of person-driven models in our different waivers.  The different models of person-driven services vary quite a bit in terms of how much control people have.  In PDSS, there are two areas that people can have control — as an employer of support staff and over budget for services and supports.

The way that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) define these types of controls is:

Employer Authority: people are afforded the decision-making authority to recruit, hire, train and supervise the individuals who furnish their services.

Budget Authority: people may also have decision-making authority over how the Medicaid funds in a budget are spent.

In Pennsylvania

Participant Direction comes in the form of Services My Way (also known as ‘Cash and Counseling’).  Services My Way allows you to manage your own budget and purchase disability related goods and services based on your needs and goals as identified during the assessment process.  For more information

National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services

The National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services helps organizations, agencies, and states offer participant directed services through advocacy, technical assistance, training, education and research to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

Fraud Abuse Concerns with Participant-Directed Services

Many have asked about the potential for fraud and abuse with participant-directed services.  While it can be a concern with any program, if there are proper safeguards set up within the programs, fraud and abuse can be prevented as in any program.