Participant-Directed Services

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Participant-Directed Services (PDS) allows individuals receiving 1915(c) Medicaid waiver services to hire their own providers for non-medical, non-residential waiver services. These providers may be friends, neighbors or certain family members. This option gives waiver participants more choice, flexibility and control over their supports and services. PDS used to be known as the Consumer-Directed Option (CDO).


Individuals receiving services through the Acquired Brain Injury and Acquired Brain Injury Long-Term Care, Home and Community Based, Michelle P. or Supports for Community Living waivers may participate in the PDS program.  

If you are interested in enrolling in the PDS program, talk to your case manager. The Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) helps administer PDS for 1915(c) HCBS waiver participants. Visit the DAIL PDS page to learn more about the program or to find program forms.  

PDS Questions and Answers

Do I have to receive all of my services through the PDS option? No. You can receive some of your services through the PDS option while receiving others through traditional service providers. This is known as blended services.

What is a PDS case manager and why do I need one? All waiver participants who choose the PDS option for some or all of their services have a PDS case manager. The PDS case manager will help you:

  • Enroll in PDS.
  • Develop your person-centered service plan.
  • Find service providers and negotiate rates.
  • Hire, supervise, and fire your employees.
  • Coordinate with traditional providers.
  • Transition you back to traditional services if you choose to stop using PDS services.

To find a PDS case manager, contact an Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) or a Community Mental Health Center (CMHCs). Once you choose PDS, you will no longer have a case manager through a traditional agency.

What are my responsibilities if I enroll in the PDS program? 
You must:

  • Work with your PDS case manager to develop a person-centered service plan.
  • Follow the person-centered service plan.
  • Hire, train, schedule, and fire staff.
  • Choose a PDS representative if you want or need one to help you. 
  • Submit paperwork on time.

Whom may I hire as my employee? 

You may hire friends, neighbors, some provider agencies and certain family members. Employees must be at least 18 years old and submit to a criminal background check. The PDS case manager will assist with hiring and training employees.

How will my employees be paid? 

You will keep track of the service/services your employee performs and submit a timesheet. A financial management agency will pay employee(s) for providing PDS services and make sure all state and federal laws are met, such as withholding enough money to pay for taxes. 

What if I need help directing my services? 

You may choose a qualified friend or family member to serve as a PDS representative. Your PDS representative cannot charge for the help they provide and will not be a paid employee.

What training is required? 

You, your PDS representative and your employees must complete training on person-centered planning and self-determination. Training will be available on abuse, neglect and exploitation prevention, recognition, and reporting. You can also require additional training of your employees based on your specific needs.  

What if I decide I don't want to use PDS anymore? Let your PDS case manager. They will work with you to transition back to traditional services.