Participant Direction: PDS-FMS

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) provides for three service delivery options by which individuals who are enrolled for services can receive these services. The option which has been around the longest is the traditional provider option in which providers, both agencies and individuals, contract with ODP to provide these services. When an individual uses this option they agree to have the provider manage their services. There are also two service delivery options which allow for individuals to participate in Participant Direction. For all service delivery options, the services an individual receives through funding from ODP must be included in their approved/authorized person-centered Individual Support Plan (ISP).

In accordance with the principles of self-determination, choice and control, the Office of Developmental Programs has made Participant Direction Service (PDS) available. Participant Direction, also referred to as Self Direction, allows individuals to have more control over where, when and how some of their services and supports are delivered. Individuals have choice and control regardless of the service delivery option, but with participant direction they have a greater amount of choice and control, along with some additional responsibilities as they become a type of employer. Individuals can be the employer of the people who provide their participant-directed services and supports or a surrogate can be selected to take on the role of employer on their behalf.

When someone chooses to self direct their services they do so with the assistance of a Financial Management Service (FMS) Organization. The FMS enhances their choice and control while reducing some of the employer-related work that is associated with self directing services, such as processing payments and maintaining tax records. There are two types of FMS: Agency With Choice (AWC) and Vendor Fiscal/Employer Agent (VF/EA). The two options provide the individual or their surrogate with different levels of control and responsibility.

Not all individuals are eligible to participant-direct their services. In order to be eligible, they must live in their own home or in the home of a family member or friend. Additionally, not all services are eligible for participant direction. Please refer to the Consolidated Waiver and the Person/Family Directed Support Waiver and the associated service definitions which specify the eligible services. Individuals must have at least one of these services on their authorized ISP before they can use one of these service delivery options.

For more information regarding participant direction, please see the materials available or contact your county MH/MR program or Administrative Entity.