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Advocates win changes to PCA OT policy

MassHealth recently issued a Policy Update revising the PCA overtime limitations that went into effect on Sept. 1. The original policy, which had prompted siginificant backlash from PCA consumers, had eliminated most overtime for PCAs, limiting them to 40 hours of work per week and established stringent guidelines for exemptions.

Disability rights advocates and stakeholders petitioned and protested the 40-hour limit, and also worked with MassHealth and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to make changes to the overtime limitations and exemption policies. Additionally, 95 members of the State Legislature signed on to a letter opposing the 40-hour limit. A joint letter of thanks was recently sent to EOHHS Sec. Marylou Sudders from the Boston Center for Independent Living, MetroWest Center for Independent Living, Disability Policy Consortium and others.

The resulting changes, which go into effect on Jan. 16, 2017, include:

  • increasing the number of hours a PCA can work before an overtime approval is required to 50 hours per week;
  • allowing some PCAs to work up to 66 hours per week if their consumer(s) qualify;
  • updating the overtime approval criteria; and
  • allowing for a Temporary Exemptions category that extends the hours a PCA can work to 66 in limited circumstances.

One area of concern is Electronic Visitation Verification, slated to begin in January 2018 and advocates will continue to bring this issue to the Administration.

You can read the November Policy Update from MassHealth here. You may also download an FAQ, the Temporary and Continuity of Care Approval Criteria and revised OT request form.