Connecticut’s Appropriations Committee approved a new contract between Connecticut’s PCA Workforce Council, and 14,900 personal care attendants represented by SEIU 1199 estimated to cost roughly $27.5 million over the next two years to care for 7,300 consumers of Medicaid self-directed care program.

The contract would give PCAs raises, lump sum payments for eligible workers and increases paid time off and the worker training fund. 

Thomas Austin of the Office of Policy and Management said the contract continues Connecticut’s push to move care from nursing homes to in-home care through PCAs to save money and keep people in their homes.

“The successor agreement supports the state’s goal to shift from an over-reliance on nursing facilities and other institutional care to providing more options for people to receive services in their home and their community,” Austin said. “The need for a stable and well-trained home care workforce has increased.”

“We worked very hard to reach this agreement,” said SEIU 1199 representative Dierdre Murch. “We believe we reached a fair compromise.” 

Melissa Morton of OPM gave some “quick and dirty” figures comparing PCAs under the agreement and private sector employees based on Department of Labor data, saying “we are highly competitive under this contract.”

“The annual salary for home health aides and personal care aides, according to DOL, is $28,000 per year, with the average hourly rate being $13.62,” Morton said. “PCAs covered under the contract that just expired…. PCAs were earning $16.25 per hour.”

“We were coming up about $3 over the private industry hourly rate, according to DOL, and under this contract they will be moving up further to $18.25 per hour,” Morton said, noting Massachusetts is paying $15.40 per hour.

Connecticut’s PCA program through the PCA Workforce Council is paid for through state and federal Medicaid funds and the consumer receiving services acts as the employer, so although the PCAs are paid for through government funds, they are not technically state employees.

The contract will now go to the House and Senate for approval.

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Marc worked as an investigative reporter for Yankee Institute and was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. He previously worked in the field of mental health is the author of several books and novels,...

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