Do you or someone you know utilize the Personal Care Assistance (PCA) program? Have you faced transportation challenges because your PCA cannot transport you to medical appointments, errands, or a COVID-19 vaccination site? Call your state senator and ask them to support SF 984: Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program!
On Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021, at 1:00 pm, the Minnesota Senate Human Services Reform Finance & Policy Committee will hear testimony on SF 984, authored by Senator Andrew Mathews (district 15) and Senator Carla Nelson (district 26).
SF 984: Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program would amend state statute 2020, section 256B to allow PCAs to drive their clients to appointments and errands. This amendment will streamline transportation for people with disabilities that use the PCA program and provide more transportation options, especially in Greater Minnesota, where transportation options are limited.
To find out who your senator is and how to contact them:
- Visit Who represents me?
- Enter your address to bring up all of your local and national representatives.
- Select your State Senator to find out their phone number and email.
We must pass SF 984 so that people with disabilities can work with their PCAs to receive their COVID-19 vaccines and access critical services.
Sample Message to Your Legislator
Dear Senator [Name],
I am your constituent, and I would like to ask you to support SF 984 – Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program to ensure that Minnesotans with disabilities have reliable transportation options and can travel with their trusted PCA to medical appointments, errands, community events, and to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Please contact your colleagues in the MN Senate Human Services Reform Finance & Policy Committee and tell them to vote to pass SF 984 through the committee.
Thank you for supporting the disability community in Minnesota.
[street address – to show that you are their constituent]
[city, state, zip]
People who receive PCA services are currently not permitted to have their PCAs drive them as part of their service plan. This service is most needed when a client owns an adapted vehicle but needs someone to drive it. There are waivers – similar to the PCA service – that allow the Direct Support Staff to drive the service recipient. However, this is at a higher cost to the state.
SF 984 would amend the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) in the PCA program to include transportation of clients. IADLs, do not add time to the assessment. Passage of the bill would mean that PCAs/caregivers of Minnesotans with disabilities would be permitted to drive the service recipient, using their already authorized service units, in either their own or their client’s vehicle.
This amendment would provide a significant amount of flexibility in getting disabled Minnesotans to and from their appointments using resources already allocated to them, avoiding the need for more costly services. In many cases, especially in Greater Minnesota, there are no transportation alternatives if clients cannot drive themselves to and from work, school, volunteer opportunities, the store, or anywhere else. This change is critical during the pandemic, as clients may need to get tested or get the vaccine.
Lack of dependable transportation is the most cited cause of disability unemployment. Transportation is critical to civic engagement, full participation in the community, and advancing the principles of the Olmstead Act.
SF 984 is a 2021 policy priority for the Minnesota Council on Disability; we actively encourage the disability community in Minnesota to contact their legislators and ensure they pass the Restoring Community Access to the PCA Program bill this legislative session.