A beginner’s guide to CDS

As a Missouri resident, you or your family member might be eligible to take advantage of Consumer Directed Services (CDS), a program through Missouri State Medicaid designed to help adults with physical disabilities take control of their own home care needs. In this guide, we’ll look at the CDS program, how it works, and how it can benefit Missouri residents.

What is Consumer Directed Services (CDS)?

Consumer Directed Services (CDS) is a program through Missouri Medicaid and is designed to assist people living with physical disabilities. The program arranges care services from a personal care attendant (PCA), allowing the care recipient to live in their own homes and communities as opposed to a nursing home. The Consumer Directed Services program is administered by Missouri’s Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), a division of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior and Services (DHSS),

What are self-directed services?

The idea behind self-directed or consumer-directed services is to let the consumer (i.e., the patient) direct their own caregiving needs as opposed to living in a nursing home and having their needs overseen by others.

What are the benefits of Consumer Directed Services (CDS)?

The most significant benefit of the Missouri CDS program is that the care recipient gets to live in an environment in which they are comfortable, despite their disability. Like many people, you might not want to move into a nursing home, separated from your community.

Another benefit of CDS is that you are allowed to hire friends or family members to provide you caregiving services. The only exception is that they cannot be your spouse or legal guardian. By allowing you to hire a caregiver of your choice, CDS makes it possible for you to receive care from someone you like and trust, instead of a stranger at a nursing home.

Also, when a personal care assistant helps you with daily living activities, you will be able to live on your own and pursue activities that otherwise might not have been possible due to your disability. You can continue working, going to school, or engaging with your neighbors and community.

Finally, if you’re a caregiver, CDS allows you to earn money while you provide care for a friend or family member (except a legal spouse). The extra income could be ideal if you’re seeking part-time work or if you’re retired.

How does Consumer Directed Services (CDS) work?

To qualify for CDS, you would have to be deemed eligible by Missouri’s Division of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). One of the prerequisites of CDS is that you must be currently on MO HealthNet, which is Missouri’s Medicaid program. If you’re not presently enrolled in MO Healthnet, please visit our Medicaid section for more information on how to enroll.

As a participant in the CDS program, you will hire, train, and direct your caregiver. The specific tasks your care assistant helps you with will vary based on your needs and according to your disability and living arrangements. However, here are some of the typical things that you can expect your assistant to help you with:

  • Grooming
  • Bathing
  • Personal hygiene
  • Toilet use
  • Mobility
  • Taking medications on time
  • Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Cooking
  • Shopping
  • Essential transportation

Your personal care assistant (PCA) will be compensated by Emerest. As mentioned above, you can hire your friends or family members as caregivers.

Am I eligible for the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Program?

CDS is intended for people who have difficulty performing daily activities due to physical disabilities or illness.

  • Here are the requirements to be eligible for CDS:
  • Missouri resident above the age of 18
  • Have active Missouri Medicaid coverage.
  • Have a physical disability that makes it very difficult to perform activities of daily living (cleaning, cooking, bathing etc.)
  • Be capable of self-directing your care.

What to look for in a personal care assistant (PCA)?

Choosing the right personal care assistant (PCA) for yourself or a loved one can be a challenging task. Through CDS, you can hire someone you already know and like, such as a friend or family member. However, it still makes sense to think it through and pick someone who will be a good fit for the job.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when hiring a PCA:

  • Understanding – Make sure your PCS has a solid understanding of all the tasks they would be helping you with. Also, make sure they are adequately capable of helping you with these activities.
  • Compassion – Try to find a PCA who has some relevant experience. Individuals who have helped others in the past will be more likely to understand your needs and provide care accordingly.
  • Agreement – For the consumer-PCA relationship to thrive, it must fit the lifestyle of both the patient and caregiver.

Next Steps

For more information on the CDS program or to switch your CDS to Emerest, contact Emerest and a representative will happily answer all your questions. You can reach us at 833-937-2912 or by filling out our online contact form.

CDS is a free program available to all Medicaid participants. There is no cost to participate.
It's easy to get started!

Am I eligible?

Fill out the form to see how fast you can get started


Have a Question?

Contact us and we will answer your questions or visit our FAQ page