Common caregiver questions about being an Individual Provider (IP)


Posted by Rachael Tom

The start of an Individual Provider (IP) caregiving journey often comes with a lot of questions, such as: 

  • What are my job options?
  • What are my benefits and pay?
  • How can I find the jobs I want? 

If you are asking yourself these questions, you are not alone! Let’s begin with some basics about being an IP, and some answers to commonly asked questions.


What is an individual provider (IP) and how does the IP program work? 

Individual Providers (IP) are caregivers who are qualified and contracted with Washington State to provide in-home caregiving to those eligible for Medicaid in-home care services (they are often referred to as consumers or clients). 

Consumers choose their IPs before their case manager authorizes the IP to begin work. The consumer supervises the IP, and the IP is paid by the state for these services. All IPs are represented by Service Employees International Union Local 775 (SEIU 775). Learn more about 775. 

In the future, IPs will be moving away from contracting with the state to working with a new private employer called the Consumer Directed Employer. Learn more about the CDE


What benefits do IPs receive? 

Eligible IPs receive many low or no-cost benefits, including: 

  • High-quality healthcare including medical, dental, vision, prescription and behavioral health benefits
  • Secure retirement
  • Training
  • Customized job matching through  Carina


How do IPs get paid?

IPs are paid on a wage scale as established through the collective bargaining agreement between the State of Washington and SEIU 775. Use this calculator to see how much money you could be earning as an IP.


How do I become an IP?

IPs have different training requirements based on their certifications, job experience and any familial relationship to their consumer (for example, a parent or adult-child). Training standards vary for different types of workers. Use this guide to help you decide which training courses are right for you.


How do IPs find Consumers?

IPs can find consumers through Carina, word-of-mouth, case managers, and by utilizing the HCRR. Register for your free Carina account to begin browsing and messaging consumers near you for jobs.


Who hires IPs? 

Medicaid consumers choose their IPs. IPs have to be contracted with DSHS to work for Medicaid consumers. Case managers authorize the IPs to begin work. Consumers can receive services through the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) or Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA). 

To be contracted with the DDA or ALTSA, IPs must meet these requirements: 

  • Age 18 or over.
  • Pass a criminal conviction background check.
  • Provide picture ID and be authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Not be the spouse of the person getting care.
  • Sign a contract with DSHS and agree to the conditions listed in it.
  • Successfully complete all of the caregiver training requirements.


How are IPs different from Home Care Agency (HCA) providers?

As an IP, you are paid by the state via the IPONE system.  IPs are able to work with Medicaid consumers who have different amounts of authorized care hours per month and a plan of care. You can access Carina to find jobs with new or additional consumers near you. Choose your preferences to browse jobs near you, see travel time to those jobs, and send messages to consumers.

With home care agencies, you are employed directly by the home care agency which is responsible for your certification and training.  The home care agency will match and dispatch you to a client and is responsible for all parts of your employment, including payroll.  

Consumers can choose to receive home care either through a home care agency or they can choose to self-direct their own care and work with an Individual Provider.  


What is Carina?

Carina is a free website where qualified IPs, Medicaid consumers, family care providers, and case managers can browse, message and connect for jobs or care. Over 14,000 people currently use Carina throughout Washington state.  Carina is made possible as a benefit to the IPs from SEIU 775’s collective bargaining agreement with the State of Washington.

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