PCA New Hire Orientation Program to Start in 2014
Program Will Have Options for Consumers
As part of an effort to make sure PCAs across the Commonwealth receive consistent and comprehensive information about their jobs, the Council has signed an agreement with 1199SEIU to provide a more formal orientation program for persons who will be doing PCA work for the first time. A three hour session will be scheduled for all PCAs who are hired after July 1, 2014. Persons who have worked as a PCA previous to that date are exempt from the orientation requirement even if they are hired by a new consumer after July 1. PCAs will be paid for attending orientation. An important feature of the process is that consumer/employers have the option to provide the orientation themselves as long as they comply with the curriculum being developed by the Council.
The decision to sign the agreement came after the Council held two public forums for consumers to discuss the issue of an orientation program. While the agreement with the Union spells out the broad outlines of the program, the task of actually building a curriculum and standards for the program fell to a group of seventeen “stakeholders”. This group includes members of the Council, the Union, staff from MassHealth, PCMs, FIs and four consumers, making consumers the largest contingent of the group.
The main areas to be covered in the orientation session are:
- independent living principles;
- workers’ rights and responsibilities;
- operational procedures of the PCA program in MA (e.g. time records, PCMs and FIs, payment methods etc);
- identifying and reporting fraud and abuse;
- resources to support both consumer employers and PCAs including, but not limited to, the role of 1199SEIU, the role of the PCA Workforce Council, the Rewarding Work web portal and other key resources.
The stakeholder group is also working on accountability and enforcement mechanisms to ensure completion of the mandatory orientation program (for both consumer employers and PCAs). During the period from January 1 through June 30th, pilot classes for the orientation program will be given in several locations. The curriculum will be evaluated and refined. The Council will be looking for both PCA and consumer volunteers for this period. As part of the rollout of the orientation program, a series of workshops for consumers will be held in various locations. The workshops will provide detailed information on the orientation program, including how consumers can exercise their option to provide orientation themselves. These workshops are still in the planning stage. Updated information on the forums and the orientation program will be posted here on a regular basis.
2013 Paul Kahn PCA Awards
The fourth annual Paul Kahn Awards for PCA Service were presented at the State House on the afternoon of October 9. The awards, recognizing the work of five PCAs from different regions of the state, were moved from Nurse’s Hall to the Grand Staircase to accommodate the larger crowd attending this year. In addition to the awards, this year the event was expanded to include PCA Day, an opportunity for consumers, PCAs and other interested parties to speak to members of the legislature about the difference the PCA program has made in their lives. Read more »
Mediation: A New Tool for Consumers and PCAs
In her work as Director of the legal clinic at the Brazilian Immigrant Center, Lydia Edwards has talked to a wide range of people with legal problems. Many of the most frustrating issues came from domestic workers: nannies, housekeepers and others who worked in and sometimes lived in their employers’ homes. The complaints ranged from wage issues, working conditions, harassment and a lack of respect for the work they performed. Read more »