There is a small difference between “PCA” services and “Home Healthcare” in Minnesota, although the two terms are often used loosely interchangeably in the community.  The major difference is that home health visits are conducted for more serious medical conditions by medical professionals with a doctors approval. PCA care recipients on the other hand are required to receive an assessment regarding their overall need for care and the type of caretaker they will need. PCA services are generally less intensive and involved than Home Healthcare services and require less training to provide.

Home Health:

Definition from MN DHS: Home care provides medical and health-related services and assistance with day-to-day activities to people in their home. It can be used to provide short-term care for people moving from a hospital or nursing home back to their home, or it can also be used to provide continuing care to people with ongoing needs.

Home care services may also be provided outside the person’s home when normal life activities take them away from home.


Home care services are available to people:

  • Who are eligible for Medical Assistanceor MinnesotaCare Expanded (pregnant women and children)
  • Who have needs that are medically necessary, physician ordered and provided according to a written service plan
  • Home care services are to be provided in a person’s residence, not in a hospital or nursing facility including:
    • Skilled Nurse Visits
    • Home Health Aide Visits
    • Home Care Nursing
    • Home Care Therapies


Services must be:

  • Provided to an eligible recipient
  • Medically necessary
  • Physician ordered
  • Provided in the recipient’s own residence
  • Documented in a written care plan



Relevant Statutes:

256B. 0651 Home Care Services

256B.0653 Home Health Agency Services

256B.0654 Home Care Nursing



Definition from MN DHS:

Personal care assistance (PCA) services provide assistance and support for persons with disabilities, living independently in the community. This includes the elderly and others with special health care needs. PCA services are provided in the recipient’s home or in the community when normal life activities take him/her outside the home


Persons eligible for PCA assistance programs must meet the following criteria to qualify for PCA services:

  • Able to identify their needs
  • Able to direct and evaluate PCA task accomplishment
  • Able to provide for their health and safety or have a responsible party that is able to do so
  • Have a service plan developed with the county public health nurse that specifies the PCA services needed
  • Have a stable medical condition
  • Have an approved service agreement for PCA services from the Minnesota Department of Human Services
  • Live in their own home residence which is NOT a hospital, nursing facility, intermediate care facility, health facility licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health or foster care setting licensed for more than four residents
  • Need PCA services to live in the community

In addition, PCA services may only be provided when determined medically necessary through the assessment process.

Relevant Statutes:

256B.0651 Home Care Services

256.0659 Personal Care Assistance Program

256B.0705 Personal Care Assistance Programs

FB Twitter