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Hearings on Restricting Hours PCA Can Work

June 24, 2016 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Friday, June 24, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
ASC Auditorium AS2.2102 in the Albert Sherman Center 
UMass Medical School
University Campus, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester

MassHealth has just proposed restricting overtime hours that PCAs can work.  Here are some of the basic points around this:

  • A cap on overtime usage is proposed to start September 1, with PCAs being limited to 40 hours/week work, though the state doesn’t anticipate full compliance will be feasible by then.
  • An exemption policy will be established.
  • PCA overtime is costing the state in the range of $1 million/week.
  • 7,300 consumers used PCAs who work over 40 hours/week.
  • Approximately 6,000 PCAs are collecting overtime pay.
  • The budget for the PCA program is now  $704 million, of which half is reimbursed by the federal government.

The state has pledged to ensure continuity of care, with MassHealth director Dan Tsai emphasizing that “All of us believe deeply in the PCA program.” There are no planned cuts in services.  But PCA consumers have expressed concern.

Charlie Carr of the Disability Policy Consortium:
I’ve been using PCAs to live independently for 41 years. The program was what I used to get out of a chronic care hospital that I had been living in for seven years so you can imagine how precious it is to me. The proposed MassHealth changes are dangerous and will result in people like me who need PCAs to live independently having to settle for less support and ultimately returning back to life in an institution. We cannot allow this to happen to us; please fight back!

Dan Greaney, who’s used PCAs for decades:
The DRAFT regulations are outrageous, unreal and capricious to the realities of the number of available “skilled” PCA workforce (members) required by a proportion of PCA consumers that have a higher level of care.  To think someone like me could just pick-up the phone to call any PCA to come (to my home) that has the necessary skills or ability to meet all my personal care needs isn’t a reality in the world I live in…

If you have comments or concerns on the proposed changes—and especially if you can provide detail on how it might specifically impact you—please share with us for our advocacy efforts. You also can submit formal comments on the proposed regulations to the Assistant Secretary for MassHealth, EOHHS, One Ashburton Place, Room 1109, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, or e-mail them to masshealthpublicnotice@state.ma.us. E-mailed comments should contain the sender’s name, mailing address, and organization or affiliation, if any. Comments will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 8, 2016. The proposed regulations (130 CMR 422.000: Personal Care Services) are available at  http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/laws-regs/masshealth/masshealth-proposed-regs.html.

For more information or to share comments contact Bill Henning, BCIL, bhenning@bostoncil.org, 617-338-6665.

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