Frequently Asked Questions

Questions from both clients and employees tend to be the same; therefore, to assist in ensuring everyone receives the same information, we’ve answered some of these questions for you below. However, we do encourage direct communication and, if your question is not answered below, please call your local office for clarification.

Most frequent questions and answers

The Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, is designed to help older adults and individuals living with a disability remain in their community rather than a congregate facility.

PCA Services support individuals living in Minnesota with non-medical, health-related needs and daily activities. The goal of PCA services is to help individuals live independently in their homes and community.

Available to individuals of all ages with special healthcare needs, PCA services are a paid benefit under the Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare Program and may be provided through the fee-for-service program; Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver programs; or through prepaid health plans (UCare, Etc.)

For more information, visit Minnesota Department of Human Services PCA consumer information page.

PCA services provided to the client are all based upon each individual receiving care through their individualized care plan.

However, a client has the choice to use one of the following plans:

PCA Traditional: where the client receives the most support from our agency in terms of hiring, training, managing, supervising and evaluating the employee.

PCA Choice: the client is responsible for hiring, training, managing and their own direct care.

Honestly, there isn’t any difference in the duties that a PCA and HHA perform. The difference is Minnesota DHS refers to a PCA as an individual who provides the hands-on care to a client and Minnesota Dept of Health refers to the same person as a HHA.

A Registered Nurse is the ONLY person that is allowed to set up medications for a client. A HHA can provide assistance with opening a pill container and remind the client to take it but a PCA is only allowed to provide reminders (not open the pill containers).

Individuals who are age 16-17 years old can become employees, with restrictions. Rules include that the person can only work for one provider agency and work the number of hours allotted by the current labor laws. Anyone who is 18 years old and older are eligible to work a total of 275 hours per month. 

One of the biggest differences is that the client is responsible for recruiting, hiring, training, supervising, and terminating employment of their PCA(s). As with Traditional, the client will assist in the development of the care plan with the Qualified Professional at the start of care and annually.