FreedomCare is one of the largest fiscal intermediaries in NY helping thousands of elderly and disabled New Yorkers get in-home care from family members or friends through the CDPAP program.
An innovative alternative to traditional home health aide service, CDPAP or the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program has soared in popularity in recent years. This Medicaid-funded program serves some 75,000 low-income, elderly, chronically ill, and physically disabled people across the state who are in need of personal care.
Instead of having to rely on home aides they may not feel comfortable with, the program beneficiaries can appoint almost anyone among their family members, friends, or neighbors as their paid caregivers. With a loved one taking care of them, not only do they have access to better in-home care and need fewer hospital visits, but they’re also in control of their own care management and coordination. And there’s no more need for family members to make tough choices between quitting their jobs to stay at home or leaving a loved one in the care of a stranger. With CDPAP, it’s a win-win situation.
Anyone who is eligible for New York State Medicaid (Medicare is not enough under current government regulations), over 21 years old, and living at home can qualify for the program. The CDPAP beneficiaries must be medically stable and either capable of directing their own care or have a designated representative who can make decisions in their place.
How does it work?
The CDPAP application process through FreedomCare is straightforward. There’s no need to visit one of their offices—you can email or fax necessary forms and documents without ever leaving the comfort of your home. FreedomCare coordinators are there to guide you through every stage of the submission process and, if needed, help you with your Medicaid application.
Once your approval is in place, a Medicaid nurse will do a home assessment visit to determine your eligibility for the CDPAP program, the type of care and the number of hours needed. Consumers can receive anywhere from 4 to 168 hours of home care per week, but the program is designed for long-term care of at least 120 days.
The caregiver’s hours are completely flexible. The CDPAP consumers or their designated representatives are free to coordinate the schedule in a way that works best for everyone. It’s also possible to hire more than one caregiver at a time, which is a great option for family members who prefer to share the responsibility.
The CDPAP approval process, however, does take time. You can expect to wait for up to three months for the Medicaid office to process your application, although anyone with a documented urgent need for home care can apply for the Immediate Need CDPAP. With this option, the Medicaid office will implement home care services within just two weeks.
Who can become a caregiver?
All individuals above the age of 18 who are legally allowed to work in the United States can become caregivers or “personal assistants” as they are referred to in the program. This can be nearly any member of the beneficiary’s family, a neighbor, a friend, or a previously employed aide. The beneficiary and the caregiver can even share the same address, although there are some exceptions. A spouse, a designated representative, or a parent of a disabled child under the age of 21 are considered legally responsible and not allowed to work as compensated CDPAP caregivers.
A caregiver’s tasks include assisting their loved one with day-to-day activities including dressing, bathing, cooking, doing household chores, as well as transportation for shopping and doctor visits. Unlike traditional home health aides who can’t provide skilled nursing services, caregivers are allowed to perform tasks otherwise reserved for nurses such as wound care, giving insulin shots, and suctioning tracheostomies.
Because they are trained directly by the CDPAP program beneficiaries, caregivers don’t need to have any special licensing or certification in healthcare. The only requirement is undergoing a full pre-employment medical exam with a TB test, showing proof of measles and rubella immunity, and having annual health assessments.
How much will a patient’s caregivers earn?
The FreedomCare CDPAP pay rate is between $11.80 and $17.00 per hour, depending on the county and insurance provider. This is about the same amount Medicaid would pay for home health care aid. Caregivers are paid through Medicaid and the service is completely free for beneficiaries. FreedomCare serves as a middleman between consumers or their designated representatives and Medicaid, and is the most widely used fiscal intermediary in the state.
Caregivers employed by FreedomCare clock in their hours through a time and attendance app on their phone. But the FreedomCare app is meant for more than just clocking hours. It uses a GPS and cutting-edge facial recognition technology to prevent fraud and ensure that caregivers are fulfilling their duties during the times for which they’re billing.
With FreedomCare, caregivers are also guaranteed some of the best benefits in the home care industry, including a generous wellness allowance, pampering care package, child care reimbursement, paid sick time, holiday pay, caregiver wellness program, and more.
FreedomCare caregiver support program
FreedomCare understands the importance of effective communication between consumers, caregivers, and employees. Everyone who signs up with the agency is assigned a personal coordinator to help them navigate the system and resolve any issues that may arise. If they have any questions or concerns or are in need of emotional support, caregivers can easily reach their coordinator by phone. With the average wait time of only 7 seconds, help is always just a call away.
FreedomCare is among the leading CDPAP agencies and the only one that services all New York counties. As a member of the CDPAP Association of New York, they’re contracted with almost every insurance provider and trusted by thousands of doctors and hospitals. For more information on the CDPAP application process, call 718.989.9768 or visit www.freedomcareny.com.