A Beginner's Guide to CDS

Do you care for an elderly or disabled friend or family member? If you aren’t familiar with Missouri’s Consumer Directed Services (CDS) program, you may be missing out on funding. 

Are you disabled and require extra help with daily tasks? You may be missing the opportunity to direct your own care and choose your own caretaker. 

Consumer Directed Services is a designed to help our elderly community, provide at-home services for people with a disability, and give caretakers a paycheck for helping people they love. 

So many families in Missouri struggle with providing care for a friend or relative. There’s a better way. 

In this comprehensive guide, we break down the basics of CDS and help you determine if you’re eligible, or if it’s time to switch from your current provider to Emerest.

What is CDS?

CDS is a Medicaid-funded program that allows disabled or elderly people in Missouri to hire the caregiver of their choice to help with daily activities. This caregiver, or personal care attendant (PCA), can be a friend, a neighbor, or a family member other than a spouse or legal guardian. A PCA can help with daily chores or hygiene, including: 

  • Help with cooking, cleaning the house, doing laundry, or taking medications on time. 
  • Assistance with bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, or other personal hygiene tasks. 
  • Support on errands or appointments, or general help with mobility. 

This service is administered by the Missouri Division of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and it’s available to eligible people 60 or older and to adults with disabilities who are between 18 and 59. 

What this means is that if you are in need of extra assistance in your home, and you qualify for CDS, you may hire your own personal care assistant. The friend or family member you hire will be paid $12 per hour through Emerest.

How Does Compensation Work?

The Personal Care Assistant (PCA) is compensated at an hourly rate. The current maximum number of hours per month that a CDS participant may receive is approximately 125. So, a participant may be compensated for approximately 4 hours a day, depending on the number of days in each month and each individual’s personal care needs. 

This entire program is funded through Medicaid, so there are no extra bills to pay. The person in need of care effectively hires the PCA, and they are paid through a CDS company like Emerest. 

At Emerest, all PCAs earn $12 per hour, the highest rate available. 

How Does a Person Qualify for CDS?

It’s really not difficult for a senior or a disabled person to qualify for this service and hire a personal caregiver. If you 

  • Are over 18
  • Have Medicare 
  • Have a disability that makes you unable to perform certain daily activities,
  • Are able to direct your own care, and 
  • Live in Missouri 

you probably qualify. We can help you sign up.

What Benefits Does CDS Offer?

We’re excited about this program because of the many benefits it offers members of our community: 

  • CDS allows elderly or disabled people to remain in their own homes and communities rather than having to seek institutional care or move to an assisted living facility or nursing home. 
  • The program allows people to choose caregivers that they know and trust. 
  • With CDS, many family members who would be caring for their loved one anyway can get funding. 
  • Because the money is provided by Medicaid, participants do not need to worry about payments at all. 
  • CDS promotes healthier communities and allows elderly and disabled people to live with more independence. 

Essentially, CDS allows people to stay at home where they are most comfortable, direct their own care, and choose a caregiver they trust. Plus, the personal care assistant can receive regular compensation, which takes some of the burden off finances for regular Missourians. 

How Did This Program Start?

This program began in the mid-90s and underwent a few shifts and name changes to become CDS. In 1993 a program was started under the oversight of Vocational Rehabilitation. Titled Personal Assistance Services (PAS), it was funded by Medicaid and was meant to support people with disabilities. 

In 2005, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) took ownership of this program, renaming it Consumer Directed Services (CDS). A major reason for this change was that the program had shifted away from a focus on employment and grown into a more general personal care program that was home and community based. 

The DHSS offered vendors the opportunity to serve the CDS program; within 10 years, there were several companies helping match caregivers with elderly or disabled people. In 2015, the state of Missouri reported that over 25,000 people were utilizing the CDS program. That number is still growing.

How Can a Participant Apply or Switch Providers?

The representatives at Emerest can lead you through the application process or help you switch. We’re proud to offer the highest level of compensation and the friendliest support in the area. If you’d like more information, contact us today.