Frequently Asked Questions
What is participant direction?
Participant direction, sometimes called “self direction,” “self determination,” or “Consumer direction,” allows individuals to exercise control over their lives and receive the services and supports they need to live in their homes or communities. Participant-directed programs do this by allowing participants to make individual choices about which services they receive, how they are delivered and by whom, within their budgets. Often, participant-directed programs are administered by state, county, or local public agencies and are paid for by state, Medicaid, and/or grant funds.
What is a Financial Management Services provider?
A financial management services (FMS) provider, sometimes called a fiscal intermediary, helps individuals implement their own choices within available resources. It can help public agencies respond creatively to individual needs, creating supports for individuals to remain in their homes. An FMS provider also assists individuals and their families with the burdens of labor and tax laws as they begin to serve as employers of their own support staffs. Participant-directed services require an FMS provider to manage individual budgets and pay for the goods and services participants choose to receive.
PCG Public Partnerships, LLC (PPL) is a full-service financial management services firm dedicated solely to providing Fiscal/Employer Agent, Third Party Administrator, Agency with Choice and related support services to public agencies. Our primary focus is to assist state, county, and local public agencies to implement a participant-directed service model.
What is the difference between the Fiscal/Employer Agent (F/EA) and the Agency with Choice models of participant-direction?
“Fiscal / Employer Agent” model of participant direction
The participant (or authorized representative) serves as the employer of record.
“Agency with Choice” model of participant direction
PPL serves as the employer of record, with the participant serving as the co-employer.
In the Fiscal/Employer Agent model of participant direction, the participant is the employer and the FMS provider (such as PPL) acts as the participant’s “employer agent.” The participant is the “employer of record” (sometimes called the “common law employer”) and the FMS is responsible for tasks including paying participants’ employees and withholding taxes. This model affords participants a great deal of choice and control.
Under the Agency with Choice model, the participant and the agency (such as PPL) performing FMS are co-employers of the participant’s workers. The agency is the primary employer and the participant is the secondary employer. This model is a good option for participants who would like to hire and manage their own providers but do not wish to serve as the “employer of record” or “common law employer.” The Agency with Choice model is sometimes referred to as a “co-employment” model.
Where can I learn more about participant direction?
The Self-Direction Handbook, developed as part of the national Cash & Counseling program and maintained by the National Resource Center for Participant Directed Services, is a valuable resource for public agencies starting participant direction programs and also offers a wealth of information for those simply looking to learn more about participant direction. The handbook is available online at: