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Is The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) Right for You

*By: Anthony J. Enea, Esq.

Recently, the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) has received a great deal of negative press as it is a home care program that is being victimized by fraud and abuse by both some of its participants and some of the fiscal intermediaries involved with the program. Clearly, those using the program and participants in its implementation must avoid committing fraud. However, a few bad actors should not dissuade seniors from attempting to use the program.

Most seniors are set in their ways: they know what they like and do not like. Thus, bringing someone into their home they do not know to provide care may be a hurdle and challenge.  Thus, if you are facing such a dilemma, eligibility for the CDPAP may be a great option.

CDPAP is a New York Medicaid initiative that allows someone who is eligible for the Medicaid home care program (both financially and physically) to hire their own home health aide (caregiver), including members of their family & friends (with the exception of their spouse). The caregiver is paid hourly by Medicaid based on the number of hours the consumer has been approved for by Medicaid.

Thus, the child of the person eligible for Medicaid home care can be the caregiver, as well as other family members and/or friends.

The consumer (person in need of care) or their representative will be responsible for hiring, firing, training and back up for the caregiver. Of the above-stated requirements placed on the consumer, the most difficult is ensuring that there is back up. If the primary caregiver is unavailable the consumer cannot call the Managed Long Term Care Provider (MLTC) or Home Care Agency involved and request that an aide be sent. They must arrange for their own backup to provide the care.

Additionally, the aide chosen by the consumer does not need to be a certified healthcare provider nor do they require any training in healthcare. The consumer or their representative can provide the training at the consumer’s home. An additional benefit of using the CDPAP program is that the caregiver is not limited in the services they can provide. For example, if the consumer requires an injection (insulin, et al) the aide can provide said services. They can virtually do all that a registered nurse can do.

CDPAP more than anything else provides the consumer with the option of receiving home care from someone they know and trust. The level of familiarity and comfort that awaits both the recipient of the care and their family knowing that a loved one and/or friend is providing the care needed is invaluable. The present allegations that participants and fiscal intermediaries may be committing fraud is not sufficient reason for the consumer to not use the program, legally and ethically.

* Anthony J. Enea is the managing partner of Enea, Scanlan and Sirignano, LLP of White Plains, New York. He focuses his practice on Wills, Trusts, Estates and Elder Law.  Anthony is the Past Chair of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), and is the past Chair of the 50+ Section of the NYSBA.  He is a Past President and Founding member of the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).  Anthony is also the Immediate Past President of the Westchester County Bar Foundation and a Past President of the Westchester County Bar Association. He is also fluent in Italian. He can be reached at (914) 948-1500 or at [email protected]

Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP