New York’s essential front line health care and mental hygiene workers have seen us through a once-in-a-century public health crisis and turned our state into a model for battling and beating COVID-19.
To attract talented people into the profession at a time of such significant strain, while also retaining those who have been working so tirelessly these past two years, we must recognize the efforts of our health care and mental hygiene workforce and reward them financially for their service . To do so, as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 New York State Executive Budget legislation, $ 1.2 billion in funding has been allocated for the payment of bonuses for certain frontline healthcare workers.
Located within Part ZZ of Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2022, the HWB provision allows for the payment of bonuses to “recruit, retain, and reward health care and mental hygiene workers” meeting specified eligibility requirements. Bonus amounts will be commensurate with the number of hours worked by eligible workers covered by the HWB Program during designated vesting periods for up to a total of $ 3,000 per covered worker.
The official New York State press release can be found at the following link: Governor Hochul Launches Health Care Worker Bonus Program.
Qualified employers include certain providers with at least one employee, and that bill for services under the Medicaid state plan or a 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 state Public Health Law, Mental Hygiene Law, and Education Law, as well as certain programs funded by the Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office for the Aging, Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
Submission details for qualified employers will differ based on if they are Medicaid or non-Medicaid employers.
Medicaid employers must be currently enrolled and payable through eMedNY and have an active MMIS ID to be able to submit on the HWB Program Portal. Providers who are not currently enrolled with eMedNY should visit the eMedNY website to learn more about how to enroll.
Employers submitting for non-Medicaid employees should submit on the HWB Portal utilizing their SFS Vendor ID. Employers who have staff eligible for bonuses, but ineligible for workforce bonuses under Medicaid should contact the appropriate state agency they operate under for program details. The agencies with providers who do not have an active MMIS ID (Non-Medicaid) may include: Office of Mental Health, Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, Office of Children and Family Services, and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports.
The education portion of the bonus program will rollout in October.
Medicaid providers that are qualified employers but employ workers paid by the State should work through their respective State agency.
Qualified employees must be “front line health care and mental hygiene practitioners, technicians, assistants and aides that provide hands on health or care services to individuals”. An employee is only qualified if they work for a qualified employer (as described above) and under an Eligible Worker Title (as listed below).
Employees must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Qualified employees must continuously employed by a qualified employer for the duration of at least one vesting period (see below)
- Qualified employees must have an employee title included on the list of Eligible Worker Titles;
- Qualified employees must not exceed an annualized base salary (excluding any bonuses or overtime pay) of $ 125,000, as evidenced by an Employee Attestation, which they must complete and return to their employer;
- Qualified employees can be full-time, part-time or temporary employees as well as independent contractors; and
- Qualified employees must not be suspended or excluded from the Medicaid program during the vesting period.
Qualifed employers are required to submit claims for bonus payments for their qualified employees that meet the eligibility criteria (as described above) for participation in the HWB program.
Claims must be submitted for qualified employees within 30-days after the department publishes a vesting schedule for completed vesting periods, and thereafter within 30-days after the end of each additional vesting period. An employee vests if they have worked for the employer for the entire duration of a vesting period in an Eligible Worker Title.
Upon employee vesting, Qualified employers must provide employees with an Employee Attestation Form and request this be returned to the employer prior to the claims due date of the claim (ie, 30 days after vesting).
Qualified employers must pay bonuses to eligible employee no later than 30 days after the bonus amount is paid to the qualified employer.
Qualified employers will pay bonus amounts to qualified employees based on the number of hours worked during the vesting period as defined below:
- Qualified employees who work at least 20 hours but no more than 30 hours per week are eligible for a bonus of $ 500;
- Qualified employees who work at least 30 hours but no more than 35 hours per week are eligible for a bonus of $ 1,000; and
- Qualified employees who work at least 35 hours per week are eligible for a bonus of $ 1,500.
A qualified employee is eligible for up to two vesting periods per employer. The maximum any employee may receive is $ 3,000.
A vesting period is defined as a series of six-month periods between the dates October 1, 2021, through March 31, 2024. A vesting period must entail a consecutive six-month period. Employers will claim for all eligible employees whose 6-month vesting period ends within the defined vesting periods as outlined below
|They||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|
The Vesting Period Schedule is also available for download as a PDF.
A employer qualified who fails to identify, claim, and / or pay any bonus for more than 10 percent of bonus eligible workers may be subject to penalties of up to $ 1,000 per violation of the HWB Program.
The Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) will audit of payments released by eMedNY to ensure funds were appropriately claimed and dispersed.
Employer Submission Process
Qualified employers are required to claim the bonus on behalf of their employees. An employee is not able to claim bonuses independently.The following attestations will be required for a complete claim submission:
The employer must create an account using a valid MMIS ID, on the HWB Program Portal by enrolling on or after Wednesday, July 27, 2022.
Employers submitting for non-Medicaid employees should submit claims using the HWB Portal utilizing their SFS Vendor ID.
Once enrolled, employers must either:
- download a submission template that will allow for bulk data submissions, or
- may choose to submit via manual entry.
The Technical Portal Guide instructions can be found on the HWB Program Portal.
Eligible Worker Titles for the Bonus
Employee worker titles eligible for the bonus include certain workers that provide hands-on assistance with health services (ie, clinical) or care services (ie, non-clinical). To be front-line, such workers must provide or directly support the provision of health or care services to patients in certain settings and work under one of the titles listed in the statute. These eligible 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 the State’s Consolidated Fiscal Reporting and Claiming (CFR) manual or under the authority provided by SOS § 367-w (2) (a) (iii).
Note on “All Other Health Care Support Workers”: This title refers to other workers that are similar to the titles listed in this statute, and that support the provision of health care services to patients in front-line settings for these titles. Such workers must support patient-facing care provided within a patient care unit of a hospital or other institutional medical setting in support of treating and caring for patients.
The full list of Eligible Worker Titles are listed in the table below:
Additional information can be found on the HWB Program Portal or by calling the Health Care Worker Bonus (HWB) Call Center at: (866) 682-0077