Health Care Worker Bonus Program

New York State Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus (HWB) Program

New York State Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus (HWB) Program

On November 17, 2022 the New York State Department of Health announced notification of an expansion to the Healthcare Worker Bonus (HWB) Program to include additional titles and eligible provider types.

The Exception Submission period, during which employers impacted by this expansion can submit their newly eligible employees, will begin on February 1, 2023 and will remain open for 30 days.

During this Exception Submission period, employers (including newly Qualified Employers) must submit their eligible workers for Vesting Periods 1 and 2. During this time, eligible employers may ONLY submit for employees deemed eligible for the Exception Submission period. After this Exception Submission period, these employees and employers may remain eligible and should follow the same Vesting Period schedule as other employees for the remainder of the program.

In order to allow appropriate time for all Employers to submit claims for Vesting Period 1 and 2, the Department will keep the Healthcare Worker Bonus (HWB) Portal open to claims submissions until November 30. Qualified Employers can continue to submit claims for eligible employees during this time. Please be advised that, in accordance with SOS § 367-w(4)(f), claims submitted after October 31, 2022 for Vesting Period 1 and 2 are technically late for filing purposes. The Department is aware of several technical issues during the initial submission periods for Vesting Periods 1 and 2 that impeded the ability of certain Qualified Employers to submit claims. All Employers should document and retain information regarding the reason for any late submission for audits and investigation purposes relating to the submission of claims for the HWB Program.

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.

The official New York State press release can be found at the following link: .

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.

Employers submitting for non-Medicaid employees should submit on the HWB Program 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.

Medicaid providers that are qualified employers but employ workers paid by the State should work through their respective State agency.

"front line health care and mental hygiene practitioners, technicians, assistants and aides that provide hands on health or care services to individuals"

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 (i.e., 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:

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

A qualified employer 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 payments released by eMedNY to ensure funds were appropriately claimed and dispersed.

Qualified employers are required to claim the bonus on behalf of their employees. An employee is not able to claim bonuses independently.Employers submitting for non-Medicaid employees should submit claims using the HWB Program Portal utilizing their SFS Vendor ID.

Employee worker titles eligible for the bonus include certain workers that provide hands-on assistance with health services (i.e., clinical) or care services (i.e., 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.