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New York State Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus Program

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 essential front line health care and mental hygiene workers, who work for “qualified employers”, to attract individuals into the profession at a time of significant strain and to also retain those who have been working in the field for the past two years. To be eligible for the bonus the workers must work for a qualified employer, hold one of the job titles outlined by the provisions, and meet the program’s vesting requirements.

Qualified Employers

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.

Qualified Employee

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.

Employee Eligibility Criteria

“Qualified employees” must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Qualified employees must continuously be employed by a qualified employer for the duration of at least one vesting period;
  • 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.

Bonus Amounts

The bonus amounts will be equal to the number of hours worked by eligible workers covered by the program during designated vesting periods, up to a maximum of $3,000 per covered worker.

Claims must be submitted for qualified employees within 30-days after the department publishes a vesting schedule for completed vesting periods (as of September 2, 2022), 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.

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. Additional information on the vesting schedule is available here.

Next Steps for Employers

Qualified employers must create an account using a valid MMIS ID, on the HWB Program Portal. The first set of claims for qualified workers was due by September 2. 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 HWB Portal is now closed for submissions from September 3, 2022 – September 30, 2022, but Providers may submit for Vesting Period 1 during the Vesting Period 2 Submission period which begins on October 1, 2022 and ends October 31, 2022.

For assistance with the Employee Attestation Form, employers may refer employees to the Instructions for Employee Attestation.

Employers submitting for non-Medicaid employees should submit claims using the HWB Program Portal utilizing their SFS Vendor ID.

Once enrolled, employers must either:

  1. Download a submission template that will allow for bulk data submissions, or
  2. May choose to submit via manual entry.

Employers can get additional information on the program the HWB Program Portal or by calling the Health Care Worker Bonus (HWB) Call Center at: 1-866 682-0077.

HR Works, Inc., headquartered in Upsate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.