Friday, December 9, 2022

Health Care Worker Bonus Program


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Program Information

New York’s essential health care and mental health workers on the front lines have seen us through a once-in-a-century public health crisis and turned our state into a model for fighting and defeating COVID-19.

In order to attract talented people to the profession at such a tense time, while also retaining those who have worked so hard these past two years, we need to recognize the efforts of the healthcare and mental health workforce and reward them financially for their service. . To do this, as part of the New York State Executive Budget legislation for fiscal year 2023, $1.2 billion in funding has been allocated to pay bonuses to some frontline health care workers.

Located inside Part ZZ of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2022the HWB provision allows the payment of bonuses for “recruit, retain and reward health care and mental health workers” meeting specified eligibility requirements. Bonus amounts will be prorated to the number of hours worked by eligible employees covered by the HWB Program during certain vesting periods up to a total of $3,000 per covered employee.

The official New York State press release can be found at the following link: Governor Hochul launches health care worker bonus program.

Health Care Workers Bonus (HWB) Program at City Hall Webinar Friday, August 19, 2022 at 11:00 (Deck with slide) (recording)

Qualified employers

Eligible employers include certain providers with at least one employee and that bill for services under a state Medicaid plan or home or community-based services (HCBS) waiver, providers that have a provider agreement to bill for Medicaid services provided or arranged through a managed care organization or a managed long-term care plan, and certain educational institutions and other funded programs. These include certain providers, facilities, pharmacies and school-based health centers licensed under the Public Health Act, the Mental Hygiene Act and the Education Act, as well as certain programs funded by the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Office of Aging, Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).

Filing details for eligible employers will differ based on whether they are Medicaid or non-Medicaid employers.

Medicaid employers must be currently enrolled and paid through eMedNY and have an active MMIS ID to be able to submit to HWB Program Portal. Providers not currently enrolled in eMedNY should visit eMedNY website to learn more about how to register.

Employers filing for non-Medicaid employees must submit to HWB Program Portal using their SFS Vendor ID. Employers who have staff eligible for benefits but ineligible for workforce benefits under Medicaid should contact the appropriate state agency where they operate for program details. Agencies with providers that do not have an active MMIS (Non-Medicaid) ID may include: Office of Mental Health, Office of Developmental Disabilities, Office of Children and Family Services, and Office of Addiction Services and Support.

The educational part of the bonus program will be released in October.

Medicaid providers who are eligible employers but employ state-paid workers must work through their respective state agency.

Eligibility of employees

Qualified employees must be “First-line health care and mental hygiene practitioners, technicians, assistants and aides who provide health or care services to individuals”. An employee qualifies only if he works for an eligible employer (as described above) and under a Title of qualified employee (as listed below).

Employees must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Eligible employees must be continuously employed by an eligible employer for at least one qualifying period (see below)
  • Eligible employees must have an employee title included in the list of Titles of qualified employees;
  • Eligible employees must not exceed an annual base salary (excluding any bonus or overtime pay) of $125,000, as evidenced by an Employee Certification, which they must complete and return to the employer;
  • Eligible employees may be full-time, part-time or temporary employees, as well as independent contractors; AND
  • Eligible employees must not be suspended or excluded from the Medicaid program during the vesting period.

Bonus requirements

Eligible employers are required to submit bonus payment claims for their eligible employees who meet the eligibility criteria (as described above) for participation in the HWB program.

Claims must be submitted for eligible employees within 30 days after the department publishes a vesting plan for completed vesting periods and then within 30 days after the end of each additional vesting period. An employee is dressed if he has worked for the employer for the entire duration of the conditioning period in one Title of qualified employee.

With employee conditioning, eligible employers must provide employees with a Employee Certification Form and request that this be returned to the employer before the claim deadline date (ie 30 days after vesting).

Qualified employers must i pay bonuses to eligible employees no later than 30 days after the bonus amount is paid to the eligible employer.

Eligible employers will pay bonus amounts to eligible employees based on the number of hours worked during the vesting period, as defined below:

  • Eligible employees who work at least 20 hours but not more than 30 hours per week are eligible for a $500 bonus;
  • Eligible employees who work at least 30 hours but no more than 35 hours per week are eligible for a $1,000 bonus; AND
  • Eligible employees who work at least 35 hours per week are eligible for a bonus of $1,500.

An eligible employee is entitled to up to two vesting periods per employer. The maximum any employee can receive is $3,000.

Periods of wear

The vesting period is defined as a series of six-month periods between October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2024. The vesting period must include a consecutive six-month period. Employers will claim for all eligible employees whose 6-month period ends within the specified vesting periods as described below









Clothing
Period
Dress period
start date
Dress period
End date
Submission of the employer
start date
Submission of the employer
Closing Date
A October 1, 2021 March 31, 2022 August 3, 2022 September 2, 2022
two April 1, 2022 September 30, 2022 October 1, 2022 October 31, 2022
three October 1, 2022 March 31, 2023 April 1, 2023 May 1, 2023
four April 1, 2023 September 30, 2023 October 1, 2023 October 31, 2023
five October 1, 2023 March 31, 2024 April 1, 2024 May 1, 2024

of Dressing period schedule is also available for download as a PDF.

Fines

An eligible employer that fails to identify, claim and/or pay any bonus to more than 10 percent of bonus-eligible workers may be subject to penalties of up to $1,000 for violations of the HWB Program.

The Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) will audit payments issued by eMedNY to ensure that funds are properly claimed and distributed.

Employer submission process

Eligible employers are required to claim the bonus on behalf of their employees. An employee is not able to claim bonuses independently.For a complete submission of the request, the following certifications will be required:

The employer must create an account using a valid MMIS ID, at HWB Program Portal registering on or after Wednesday, August 3, 2022.
Employers filing for non-Medicaid employees must submit claims using HWB Program Portal using their SFS Vendor ID.

Once registered, employers must:

  1. download a submission template that will allow submission of bulk data, or
  2. can choose to submit via manual entry.

of Portal Technical Guide instructions can be found at HWB Program Portal.

Bonus-eligible employee titles

Bonus-eligible employee titles include certain employees who provide hands-on assistance with health services (ie, clinical) or care services (ie, non-clinical). To be on the front line, such workers must provide or directly support the provision of health services or patient care in certain settings and work under one of the titles listed in the statute. These qualified worker titles are listed under SOS § 367-w(2)(a)(i) and (ii) and mirror titles from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job listings and Fiscal Reporting and Claims State Consolidated (CFR) manual or under the authority granted by SOS § 367-w(2)(a)(iii).

Note to “All other healthcare support workers”: This title refers to other employees who are similar to the titles listed in this statute and who support the delivery of health care services to patients in front-line settings for these titles. Such workers must support patient care provided within a patient care unit of a hospital or other institutional medical setting in support of patient treatment and care.

The full list of qualified worker titles is listed in the table below:

additional information

Additional information can be found at HWB Program Portal or by calling Healthcare Workers Bonus (HWB) Call Centre. in: (866) 682-0077



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