Hands Holding Young and Elderly


2014 Paul Kahn Awards
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
1-3 p.m.
Grand Staircase
Massachusetts State House
Boston, MA 02133

Please check our website for updates as we get closer to the event.


Supreme Court Limits Fee Collection By PCA Union

In July, The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Harris v. Quinn.  That case, from Illinois, centered on a PCA’s challenge to a mandatory union fee deducted from her paycheck.  By a 5 to 4 vote, the Court ruled this practice is unconstitutional, violating the first amendment.  Massachusetts had a similar system in place.  After the ruling, MassHealth officials sent out the following notice:

Please be advised that as a result of the Supreme Court ruling on Harris v. Quinn; effective July 24, 2014, MassHealth Fiscal Intermediaries are no longer collecting any Agency or Objector fees from PCAs. Only those PCAs who have signed up as Union members will have union dues and their PAC deducted. If you need further information on the ruling please see the link below, or feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

MassHealth Office of Long Term Services and Supports
One Ashburton Place, 5th Floor
Boston, MA. 02108

For a full copy of the opinion, go to:

2014 Council Listening Tour PowerPoint Presentation

Listening tour stop in at Boston City Hall on July 30, 2014

This year, Council members and staff visited five cities to present information on the Council’s purpose, accomplishments and goals for this year.  Consumers and others who attended were encouraged to ask questions and provide comments.  View the PowerPoint presentation used at these event.

photo of Rules and Regulations rubber stamps

PCA Council and Union Work to Protect Consumers

Guidelines for Organizing Outreach Established

The Labor Management Committee (LMC), created by the PCA Workforce Council and 1199SEIU in 2009, is a vehicle for resolving problems arising from the employer/employee relationship between consumers and PCAs. The LMC has tackled numerous problems including late paychecks to PCAs, issues of communication and establishing training priorities. Membership in the LMC includes Council members, PCAs and staff from the Union and Council.

Recently, Council members on the LMC received a complaint from several consumers concerning the actions of some union organizers. Because some PCAs live at the same address as their consumer/employers, union organizers engaged in door knocking outreach sometimes visit the homes of consumers. The consumers complaining to the Council said that some organizers were very persistent; returning several times after the consumer told them that they should just leave their materials and the consumer would give them to their PCA.

Council members, although supportive of Union organizing efforts, took the concerns of consumers very seriously. A list of guidelines was drawn up and presented for discussion at a LMC meeting. A productive conversation followed and the Union agreed that the guidelines should be adopted and distributed in writing to all union organizers; an example of group problem solving at its best.


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.


Emergency Preparedness

image of Show Me logo

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::