As PCAs, too often we’ve been treated like we’re invisible. As a majority female workforce, made up disproportionately of black and brown caregivers, our work hasn’t been valued and respected the way it deserves to be. But there’s strength in numbers, and there’s good news: after thousands of petition signatures and hundreds of phone calls, the State of CT has committed to significant increases in PPE distribution to protect our consumers and ourselves! DSS has committed to distribute the first large-scale weekly distribution of PPE: this week alone 100,000 sets of gloves and 100,000 surgical masks will be distributed. As a Union, we are calling on them to distribute enough PPE so none has to be reused; even if you’ve signed before, please sign our newest petition here. Here’s what you (and your consumer) can expect:
- If your consumer receives services through DSS: DSS consumer-Employers should have received an initial delivery of surgical masks & gloves from Veyo in the first week of May. While DSS has committed to the next larger delivery beginning May 15th, if your consumer needs supplies make sure they reach out to their Case manager directly, call the 24-hour Access Agency phone line in their region (numbers are below in the Q&A), OR email PCACouncil@ct.gov and cc the Union at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If your consumer receives services through DDS: Please make sure you or your Employer complete the following request form here for PPE. Contact your consumer’s case manager or Self Determination director if they need help with delivery.
This is a huge victory because thousands of you took action. However, our work is not done. Please sign our newest petition to call on the State to ensure adequate PPE for everyone who needs it; hazard pay for our work on the front lines; and priority access to testing and coverage of our medical bills if we get sick.
Other good news: Consumer Employers receiving care through Community First Choice (CFC) or DDS programs may access new benefits such as same-day approval for Overtime, needed budget increases, or other accommodations during the COVID crisis. More information including who to contact can be found here for CFC and here for DDS.
Answers to other frequently asked questions on Paid Time Off, Unemployment, and access to Testing for Essential healthcare providers like PCAs are below:
Q: If my consumer told me not to come in, what do I do?
A: File for unemployment as soon as possible at www.filectui.com. Starting this week, an additional $600/week is available through Federal unemployment benefits. For faster processing of your claim, please have your employer’s registration number and a return to work date readily available when you file your claim online. If you do not have the employer #, use “9999995”.
Q: I am sick with COVID and I believe I contracted it at work. What are my options?
A: File for both Paid Sick leave AND Workers Compensation. Here are the instructions to request Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family & Medical Leave during the pandemic. Here is the form to apply for Emergency Paid Sick Leave Form due to COVID-19. You can apply by doing a verbal intake by phone, writing an email with the requested information, or completely and mailing the form; however the form will NOT be accepted by fax. If you call Allied please ask for Nicole Renza.
To file for Workers compensation, complete the 30c form here. One signed copy should be faxed to the district of injury. One copy should be sent certified mail/return receipt requested to your Employer. Mail a third copy regular mail to Atlantic Charter (Attn: Paul Hammond, Sr. Claims/Loss Control Specialist at Atlantic Charter, 25 New Chardon St, Boston MA 02114). Always keep one copy for yourself.
If you have further questions, contact Paul Hammond at Atlantic Charter (Phone: 617-488-6546; Fax: 617-207-4344; Email: email@example.com). You can also reach out to 1199’s Workers Comp organizer, Alison Sylvia, for questions or to get help at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Union at 860-549-1199. More information is available here.
Q: If I’ve been advised to quarantine or am caring for someone who must quarantine, how do I access paid time off?
A: File for Paid Sick leave using the links above. If you call Allied, please ask for Nicole Renza.
Q: If I’m caring for a child home from school due to COVID-19, how can I access paid time off to care for my child?
A: File for up to 12 weeks of combined Paid Sick leave and Emergency Family Medical leave. The link for paid sick leave is here and the link for paid family medical leave is here. You can apply by doing a verbal intake by phone, writing an email with the requested information, or completely and mailing the form; however the form will NOT be accepted by fax. If you call Allied, please ask for Nicole Renza.
Q: How can I get tested if I’m symptomatic or have been exposed?
A: Contact your primary care physician for a testing order OR seek testing at one of the below sites which offers priority to essential workers. The CVS testing site in New Haven has designated slots for health care providers. We are working with the State to provide PCAs access to the testing slots that have been designated for health care workers each day at this site. The New Haven site is also the only site currently administering the Abbot rapid test.
In addition, PhysicianOne recently opened up two new testing sites in Bristol and West Hartford. What is unique about these sites is that essential workers, including health care providers, do not have to have any COVID-19 symptoms to get tested. Other testing sites can be found here.
Q: How do I prove I’m considered essential for access to priority testing or other resources?
A: Show the letter here from the Workforce Council to document our status as essential.
Q: As an Essential worker, do I qualify for emergency childcare?
Q: For DSS Consumers: How do I aide my DSS Consumer-Employer in reaching their DSS Case manager for additional PPE or other requests?
A: If your DSS Consumer does not have their DSS case manager’s direct contact, they may call one of the 24-hour phone lines below:
Eastern CT: 1-860-885-2960
Northeast CT: 1-860-589-6226
Northwest CT: 1-800-870-1852
Western CT: 1-203-465-1000
Southwest CT: 1-203-333-9288
South Central CT: 1-203-752-3040
Q: For DDS Consumers: How do I aide my DDS Consumer-Employer in reaching their DDS Case Manager for additional PPE or other requests?
A: Your Consumer-Employer may email the DDS Self-Determination directors for guidance at:
Beth Aura Miller (WR)- BethAura.Miller@ct.gov
Amy Blazawski (NR)- Amy.Blazawski@ct.gov
Denise Paladino (SR)- Denise.email@example.com