SAVE THE DATE!!
2014 Paul Kahn Awards
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Massachusetts State House
Boston, MA 02133
Please check our website for updates as we get closer to the event.
PCAs GAIN PAID TIME OFF
Benefit to Start July, 2014
When the Council and the union signed a new labor agreement in 2012, the contract included a provision stating that PCAs would receive a paid time off (PTO) benefit beginning in July, 2014. Because this agreement was reached at the end of the negotiations, the language only provided that there would be a benefit and that it would be subject to an annual $1.5 million dollar cap on payments. The details were left for the Labor Management Committee (LMC) to struggle with.
Beginning in the spring of 2013, the LMC began addressing the specifics of what a PTO benefit would look like. As a starting point the LMC adopted the structure outlined by the union in their original proposal. That approach called for the Fiscal Intermediaries to review PCA work hours twice a year, In July and February. Workers who had 100 or more hours per month for the months of April, May and June would qualify for PTO. The same procedure would be used for the months of November, December and January.
Council staff conferred with MassHealth and staff from the Fiscal Intermediaries (FI) on the issue of how many PTO hours could be accommodated by the cap. The FIs performed several test runs as to how many PCAs worked 100 hours per month or more for the designated period. The resulting numbers showed that 5 hours of paid time off could be provided for each period without exceeding the $1.5 million cap. This would provide an annual total of 10 PTO hours for qualifying PCAs. Payments for the earned PTO time would be mailed to PCAs within 90 days of being earned. Council members of the LMC drafted a proposed PTO side agreement letter setting the annual PTO accumulation to 10 hours and presented it at the September, 2013 LMC meeting. After taking time to consider the proposal, it was agreed to. PCAs will start qualifying for PTO in July, 2014, based upon their work record for the previous 3 months.
The Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management has created a simple, hands-on tool called “Show Me" to reduce communication barriers and better assist individuals with access and functional needs with making their needs and concerns understood during an emergency. This tool is free to all residents of Massachusetts and can be downloaded to your mobile devices through the App Store and Google Play.You can also order a laminated booklet through the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse found on the webpage.
This tool should be part of everyone’s emergency preparedness plan and included with your “emergency kit”. For more information, please visit:: www.mass.gov/dph/showme.
PCA Workforce Council Reaches Out to Consumers
Continuing a theme that has been at the core of the Council’s agenda, Council members and staff are reaching out to consumers to inform them of Council priorities and to respond to their questions and comments.
One wave of outreach consisted of consumer forums on the subject of the PCA New Hire Orientation program, which is being implemented this year. Leanne Winchester, Director of the Orientation project, and Council Director Jack Boesen have scheduled seven forums from Hyannis to Springfield and several points in between.
Download a .
At the conclusion of the Orientation program presentation, Leanne and Jack took questions from forum participants. Many questions focused on the consumer opt-out option and the accessibility of the group sessions for PCAs. These questions were discussed by all. In addition, attending consumers shared their experiences with the PCA program and how this Orientation will be beneficial for all PCAs. Following a recent presentation Leanne said, “I was very impressed by the knowledge, experience and passion for independent living that consumers attending the forum shared with us.” The forums were held at PCM agencies and were attended by PCM staff and skills trainers as well as consumers.
On another front the Council is also continuing the “Listening Tour” that began last December in Worcester. EOHHS Assistant Secretary and Chair of the Council Rosalie Edes, Jack Boesen, and other Council members are participating in the Listening Tour meetings around the state to present the Council’s accomplishments and its 2014 agenda to audiences of consumers. “A primary aim of the Listening Tour meetings is for us to respond to questions, comments and suggestions from consumers”, said Boesen. In addition to a discussion of the Council’s priorities, Council members will also seek information from consumers on issues and questions to be included in the Council’s biannual Performance Review report that is filed with the Legislature and the Governor.
Download a list of Listening Tour sites..