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DOH Discusses Workforce Investment Program

The Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Waiver Amendment approved in April 2014 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that authorized the state’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program included $245 million for initiatives to retrain, recruit, and retain healthcare workers in the long term care sector. This Workforce Investment Program (WIP) will target direct care workers with the goal of supporting the critical long term healthcare workforce infrastructure through retraining, redeployment, and enhancing skill sets.

The Department of Health (DOH) has been developing the program and presented an outline of the initiative for comment during a May 25th webinar. The slides from the presentation are now available here.

The program will require Medicaid Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) plans to contract with state-designated Long Term Care Workforce Investment Organizations (LTC WIOs) to:

  • invest in initiatives to attract, recruit, and retain long term care workers in the areas they serve;
  • develop plans to address reductions in health disparities by focusing on the placement of long term care workers in medically underserved communities;
  • consistently analyze the changing training and employment needs of the area that the program serves;
  • provide for broad participation and input from stakeholders; and
  • support the expansion of home care and respite care, enabling those in need of long term care to remain in their homes and communities and reducing New York's Medicaid costs associated with long term care.

The LTC WIOs would be not-for-profit organizations with demonstrated experience in cost-effective workforce training initiatives that have measurable, positive outcomes; that incorporate adult learner-centered training techniques; and that are capable of offering training programs that exceed DOH minimum requirements. DOH would authorize at least two WIOs in each region of the state based on a Request for Proposals process. Each WIO would be required to offer a menu of Workforce Development Initiatives (WDIs) which would address plan and provider workforce needs as well as the needs of healthcare workers. The presentation materials outline the state’s minimum requirements and preferred qualifications for WIOs. DOH is finalizing the RFP and intends to circulate it for comment in June.

MLTC plans would be required to convene a regional stakeholder meeting to develop a regional plan for workforce training priorities and a menu of initiatives relevant to the region. Funds would be allocated to plans based on enrollment and reconciled on a quarterly basis. Plans would be required to use the funding to purchase training, recruiting, and other workforce-related services from the WIOs and would notify providers that they may send workers to LTC WIOs without charge, but subject to the plan’s approval of such participation.

DOH noted that while no additional administrative funding was contemplated, plans would be required to:

  • submit baseline information on compensation and benefit data, along with workforce trainings and recruitment initiatives currently offered by plans to providers and their employees;
  • collaborate with LTC WIOs on strategic planning to recruit and train new LTC workers;
  • report and analyze use of funds;
  • submit data to indicate what can be learned about the impact of the training offered by the LTC WIOs on patient outcomes and quality of care; and
  • report the following to DOH on a quarterly basis:
    • Information about the number of individuals trained;
    • Occupation and employer of the individuals trained;
    • WDIs in which they enrolled;
    • Results of training assessment surveys completed by enrollees;
    • Rate of completion among enrollees; and
    • Ratio of new recruits and existing workers that successfully complete the programs.

The program would include three years of funding, with the first round of payment distributed by March 2018. DOH hopes that the program will result in sustainable LTC WIOs that will continue to operate after the three years of funding end. Please note that although the presentation slides use “MLTC/FIDA” wording throughout, DOH indicated that Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) are likely to be included as well. DOH is accepting questions and comments at a dedicated email address, MLTCWorkforce@health.ny.gov, and will likely provide additional information by issuing a Questions and Answers document.

Contact: Darius Kirstein, dkirstein@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8841