New York’s key healthcare and frontline mental health workers have guided us through a century public health crisis and made our state a model for fighting and combating COVID-19.
In order to attract talented people to the profession at a time of such great stress, while retaining those who have worked so tirelessly over the past two years, we must recognize the efforts of our healthcare and mental health workers and commend them for their service reward financially. To that end, New York State’s fiscal 2023 budget legislation earmarked $1.2 billion to pay bonuses to certain frontline healthcare workers.
The HWB provision is in Part ZZ of Chapter 56 of the 2022 Laws and allows bonuses to be paid to “Recruiting, Retaining and Rewarding Health Care and Mental Health Workers” meet certain admission requirements. Bonus amounts are equal to the number of hours worked by eligible employees covered by the HWB program during designated vesting periods, totaling up to $3,000 per covered employee.
The official New York State press release can be found at the following link: Governor Hochul introduces bonus program for health workers.
Health Worker Bonus Program (HWB) Town Hall Webinar Friday, August 19, 2022 11:00 a.m. (slide deck) (recording)
Qualified employers include certain providers with at least one employee who bill for services under the state Medicaid plan or a Home or Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver, providers who have a provider agreement to bill for Medicaid services that exceeds a managed care organization or a managed long-term care plan and certain educational institutions and other funded programs. This includes certain providers, facilities, pharmacies, and school-based health centers licensed under the state health care act, the mental health act, and the education act, as well as certain programs licensed by the Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office for the Aging, Office for Addiction Services and Support (OASAS) and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
Submission details for qualified employers differ based on whether they are Medicaid or non-Medicaid employers.
Medicaid employers currently must be registered and payable through eMedNY and have an active MMIS ID to submit to the HWB program portal. Providers who are not currently registered with eMedNY should visit the eMedNY website to learn more about registration.
Employers submitting for non-Medicaid employees should submit their SFS Vendor ID on the HWB program portal. Employers who have employees who are eligible for awards but are not eligible for Medicaid employee awards should contact the appropriate state agency under which they operate for program details. Agencies with providers who do not have an active Non-Medicaid (MMIS) ID may include: Bureau of Mental Health, Bureau of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities, Bureau of Child and Family Services, and Bureau of Addiction Services and Support.
The educational part of the bonus program will be introduced in October.
Medicaid providers who are qualified employers but employ state-paid workers should work through their respective state agency.
Qualified employees are a must “Practitioners, technicians, assistants and frontline workers in healthcare and mental hygiene who provide hands-on health or care services to individuals”. An employee qualifies only if they work for a qualified employer (as described above) and under an eligible employee title (as listed below).
Employees must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Qualified employees must be continuously employed by a qualified employer for at least one vesting period (see below)
- Qualified employees must have an employee title that appears on the list of Eligible Employee Titles;
- Qualified employees may not exceed an annual base salary (excluding bonuses or overtime pay) of $125,000 as evidenced by an employee statement to be completed and returned to their employer;
- Qualified employees can be full-time, part-time or temporary workers as well as freelancers; and
- Qualified employees may not be suspended or expelled from the Medicaid program during the suspension period.
Qualified employers must claim bonus payments for their qualified employees who meet the eligibility criteria (as described above) for participation in the HWB program.
Claims must be submitted for qualified employees within 30 days of the department’s publication of a vesting schedule for completed vesting periods and thereafter within 30 days of the end of each subsequent vesting period. An employee transfers if they have worked for the employer in a qualifying worker title for the entire duration of any blocking period.
After the employee vests, qualified employers must provide employees with an employee attestation form and require that it be returned to the employer prior to the entitlement due date (ie, 30 days after vesting).
Qualified employers must Counting Bonuses to eligible employees no later than 30 days after payment of the bonus amount to the qualifying employer.
Qualified Employers pay bonus amounts to qualified employees based on the number of hours worked during the vesting period defined below:
- Qualified employees who work a minimum of 20 hours but no more than 30 hours per week are eligible for a $500 bonus;
- Qualified employees who work a minimum of 30 hours but no more than 35 hours per week are eligible for a $1,000 bonus; and
- Qualified employees who work at least 35 hours per week are eligible for a $1,500 bonus.
A qualified employee is entitled to up to two blocking periods per employer. The maximum amount an employee can receive is $3,000.
A vesting period is defined as a series of six-month periods between October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2024. A vesting period must comprise a consecutive period of six months. Employers will make a claim for any eligible employee whose 6-month blocking period ends within the defined blocking periods, as described below
|one||October 1, 2021||March 31, 2022||August 3, 2022||September 2, 2022|
|Two||April 1, 2022||09/30/2022||October 1, 2022||October 31, 2022|
|Three||October 1, 2022||March 31, 2023||April 1, 2023||May 1, 2023|
|Four||April 1, 2023||09/30/2023||October 1, 2023||October 31, 2023|
|Five||October 1, 2023||March 31, 2024||April 1, 2024||May 1, 2024|
That Lockdown schedule is also available for download as a PDF.
A qualifying employer that fails to identify, claim and/or pay a bonus to more than 10 percent of eligible employees may be subject to penalties of up to $1,000 per violation of the HWB program.
The Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) reviews payments released by eMedNY to ensure funds have been properly claimed and distributed.
Employer Submission Process
Qualified employers are obliged to claim the bonus for their employees. An employee is unable to independently claim bonuses.The following certificates are required for a complete claim submission:
The employer must create an account with a valid MMIS ID on which HWB program portal if you register from Wednesday, August 3, 2022.
Employers submitting for non-Medicaid employees should submit applications through the HWB program portal using their SFS Vendor ID.
After registration, the employer must either:
- Download a submission template that enables bulk data submission, or
- can opt for manual entry.
That Technical Portal Guide Instructions can be found on the HWB program portal.
Eligible worker titles for bonus
Eligible employee titles for the bonus include certain employees who provide hands-on assistance in health (ie, clinical) or nursing (ie, nonclinical) services. To serve on the frontline, these workers must provide or directly support the delivery of health or care services to patients in specified settings and work under one of the titles listed in the statute. These eligible employee titles are listed under SOS § 367-w(2)(a)(i) and (ii) and reflect the titles found in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job listings and the Consolidated Fiscal Reporting and Claiming (CFR) of the state. manually or under the authority provided by SOS § 367-w(2)(a)(iii).
Note on “All Other Health Workers”: This title refers to other workers similar to the titles listed in this statute who support the delivery of frontline patient health services for those titles. These staff must support the patient-centered care provided in a patient care unit of a hospital or other institutional medical facility to support the treatment and care of patients.
The full list of eligible employee titles is shown in the table below:
For more information, see the HWB program portal or by phone at Health Worker Bonus Call Center (HWB). at: (866) 682-0077