PCA Contract Spurs Clarifying Statement from the Alliance

Prior to the June 30th deadline for the state to negotiate a new contract with independently-hired and consumer-directed Personal Care Attendants (PCA), a deal was struck with the Governor’s administration for an immediate 30-cent raise and a “pathway” towards a $15 per hour wage in three fiscal years. Those annual contracts for future fiscal years still have yet to be negotiated.

With this announcement, the Home Care Alliance released the statement below to legislators clarifying that this wage boost is only for PCAs and not for homemakers or home health aides paid via agencies by MassHealth.

We encourage home health agencies and advocates to forward this to their legislators to highlight the fact that MassHealth has not increased home health aide rates, nor has it increased skilled visiting nurse rates.

Contract is a Win for Personal Care Attendants, Not Home Health Care

HCA Seeks Better Pay for All Home Health Aides

BOSTON, MA – This week, workers in the state-funded Personal Care Attendant Program (PCA) negotiated a new contract with the Commonwealth that gives them an immediate 30-cent raise and puts PCAs on a path to $15 per hour. This contracted raise will not apply to home health aides or personal care homemakers that work in the MassHealth program or the State Home Care Program administered by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA).

“The Home Care Alliance supports any direct care workers getting a higher wage, but people should know that home health aides are paid through home health agencies via rates set by MassHealth. MassHealth has not increased home health aide payment rates in eight years,” said Home Care Alliance Executive Director Patricia Kelleher. “Home health aides generally have a higher level of education and training than PCAs and care for medically complex patients. Yet, they are on a path to earn less because of the state’s inaction on payment rates.”

Even though they are paid by state funds, PCAs are hired directly by the individuals they serve and primarily provide assistance with activities of daily living for disabled adults. Home health aides work for home health care agencies that provide similar services, often as part of a care team that includes a nurse managing a plan of care overseen by a physician.

The Home Care Alliance has long advocated for higher payment rates from MassHealth to home health care agencies. Despite not getting an increase since 2007, most agencies have been increasing worker wages and already provide benefits to their home health aides.

 “The Alliance believes that raising wages for direct care workers in the community strengthens the ability of people to remain at home no matter what their needs. However, the Alliance also believes that there is a continuum of home care and that the entire continuum should be equally recognized and supported, “added Kelleher. “MassHealth needs to support agencies that employ home health aides so that reality of state support for these workers matches the headlines.”

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

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