If you are receiving Medicaid Personal Assistance Services (PAS) you have probably already received a letter from your personal assistance services provider letting you know that your PAS services would be transitioning over into a new program called the Community First Choice Option (CFC). You do have the option of remaining on the traditional PAS program by signing that letter and returning it to your PAS provider. However, before you do so, rest assured that all of the core services you receive under the current PAS program are also available under CFC.
Community First Choice is very similar to the current PAS program but also includes several additional components not typically associated with State Plan services. Additional services include: person-centered planning, a comprehensive quality assurance system and a requirement that the people who receive CFCO services must meet Nursing Facility or ICF/MR Level of Care. For individuals who do not meet the Level of Care guidelines and are currently receiving PAS services through the PAS program, nothing will change! The current PAS program will continue to exist alongside the new CFC program. Individuals receiving services under the CFC program will also still have access to Medicaid Waiver services.
Community First Choice is a “consumer-controlled” attendant care program that supports people who need hands-on assistance, supervision or reminders in order to perform important daily life skills, such as: bathing, dressing, eating, mobility, shopping, and meal preparation. These are the same services that are available under the current PAS program. However, CFC also contains additional services not typically available under the current PAS program, such as: money management/budgeting, socialization, non-medical transportation, and emergency back-up devices.
The CFC program is designed to improve upon the current personal assistance service system in order to better meet the needs of people who need personal assistance services as well as to give consumers more of a voice in the design and delivery of their own care. This new program is an exciting opportunity for both the State of Montana and individuals who rely on personal assistance services across the state. The Department of Public Health and Human Services is currently working to get the details of this program put in place and approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS). Once that occurs, CFC program implementation will begin and consumers will have more control over their own services.