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DOH Updates ALP Rate for Minimum Wage

LeadingAge NY has been working closely with the Department of Health (DOH) on developing and implementing Medicaid rate adjustments to help address the increased costs providers are facing related to the increasing minimum wage. On Friday afternoon, DOH sent Assisted Living Programs (ALPs) a listing of 2017 ALP rates reflecting minimum wage adjustments with an accompanying Dear Administrator Letter (DAL). Please note that the rate listing distributed on Friday contained errors which have since been corrected. Accurate rates are available here, and the DAL is posted here. Please note that the minimum wage adjustments are still pending final federal approval, which is expected shortly. Once approved, the adjustment will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017.

The minimum wage adjustments are based on responses to the ALP minimum wage survey conducted in the fall, and are meant to provide additional money to those ALPs that are increasing wages to employees and contract staff whose hourly rate needed to increase to meet the new minimum wage effective Jan. 1st ($11 for firms in NYC with 11 or more employees; $10.50 for firms in NYC with 10 or fewer employees; $10 in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties; and $9.70 in the rest of the state). The money is to be used exclusively to cover the costs of increasing wages and wage-sensitive benefits to these individuals.

The DAL explicitly states that "providers cannot use any of these additional funds for any purpose other than appropriate statutory wage obligations directly associated to the minimum wage increase and shall reserve unspent funds to be returned to the State…” DOH intends to require additional cost reporting that will allow the state to better monitor the use of the additional funds and gauge the future need for additional minimum wage funding. The state has indicated that a reconciliation process would be implemented to help ensure that the funding accurately reflects the increased costs providers experience, suggesting a recoupment from those providers whose funding exceeded need and supplemental funding to those for whom the funding fell short. We are seeking additional information on if, how, and when DOH intends to calculate any reconciliations and will keep members informed.

Contacts: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828 or Darius Kirstein, dkirstein@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8841