The Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program is a MassHealth program that helps people with long-term disabilities live independently at home by giving eligible MassHealth members funds to hire PCAs to help with activities of daily living.

It is a “consumer directed” program funded by MassHealth. Consumers assume the responsibility for hiring their own personal care attendants to meet their specific care needs.

A 9/11 memorial statue on Norfolk Common /Photo by Stephen Corso

What can PCAs help you with?

PCAs can help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as:

  • Mobility and transfers
  • Bathing and grooming
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Taking medications
  • Eating
  • Toileting

PCAs can also help with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) such as:

  • Meal preparation and clean up
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Shopping
  • Maintaining adaptive equipment

Eligibility requirements for the PCA Program

PCA services are open to Medicaid/MassHealth eligible consumers, regardless of their age, as long as they meet these other conditions:

  • The consumer must have a permanent or chronic disability and must require physical assistance with two or more ADLs.
  • The consumer’s physician must prescribe PCA services.
  • The consumer must live in the community
  • The consumer must be able to manage the program independently or have a surrogate who is willing to assist them.

PCA deduction for seniors

MassHealth has special income eligibility rules for people age 65 and older who need PCAs. The rules allow a PCA deduction that lowers countable income and makes it easier to meet the MassHealth Standard income limits.

Seniors age 65 or older and individuals needing long-term care who would qualify for MassHealth Standard except that their income or assets are too high, can become eligible by meeting a deductible and/or spending down their assets. Seniors who are in need of PCA services can take a special PCA deduction from unearned income.

What caregivers need to know about the PCA Program

If you have questions about changes to the PCA program, or if you would like to request materials in braille, large print, or other languages, call the MassHealth Customer Service Center at (800) 841-2900 (TTY: 1-800-497-4648) or visit: https://www.mass.gov/masshealth-personal-care-attendant-pca-program

Where you can find PCA Services

ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to our contract ending with Mass Health, the BayPath Elder Services Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program is no longer offered (as of December 31, 2019.)

The following agencies can be contacted for new referrals:

Center for Living & Working, Inc.
484 Main Street, Suite 345
Worcester, MA 01608

Tempus Unlimited
600 Technology Center Drive
Stoughton, MA 02072

Elder Services of Worcester
67 Millbrook Street, Suite 100
Worcester, MA 01606

Tri Valley Elder Services
10 Mull Street
Dudley, MA 01571
Tri-Valley serves: Bellingham, Franklin, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon and Milford

The PCA staff  at the agencies listed above will evaluate all client referrals. This information is then submitted to MassHealth for approval. Following approval, the ASAP staff work with the consumer, providing instruction and support in the hiring, training and managing of PCAs.

The consumer submits bi-weekly time sheets for PCA service and a fiscal intermediary issues paychecks. The consumer has the option of designating a surrogate to take responsibility for the administrative aspects of their program.

Related information and additional web resources

PCA Consumer Handbook [PDF] – Available from Mass.gov

Where to find a PCA:
Mass PCA Directory

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