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Health Care Worker Bonus Program Expansion Claims

The Department of Health (DOH) has announced the special submission period for employers to use to claim bonus payments for workers made eligible by the expansion of the Health Care Worker Bonus (HWB) Program. The HWB Program portal will be open for 30 days beginning Feb. 1, 2023 for this “Exception Submission” period. Members may recall that while the program was expanded to include some additional worker titles and provider types in November 2022, employers were instructed to wait to submit claims for those made eligible by the expansion until a special submission period was announced.

For LeadingAge NY members, the most relevant parts of the expansion are:

  • The authorization for Medicaid Assisted Living Programs (ALPs) and Hospice Residences to submit claims for worker titles listed under the “All Other Health Care Support Workers” category. Use of the “All Other…” category had been limited mostly to hospitals and nursing homes until the expansion.
  • The inclusion of Security Guards and Peace Officers as eligible titles under the “All Other…” category for those settings authorized to use that category (e.g., nursing homes, ALPs, Hospice Residences). Prior to the expansion, security guards and peace officers had been specifically excluded.
  • The addition of DOH-Funded Health Homes and DOH-Funded Permanent Supportive Housing Agencies as qualified employers under the program.

This Exception Submission period should be used to submit claims for ONLY those workers made newly eligible by the expansion. Because the expansion makes these workers eligible for the program from its beginning, the special submission period should be used to claim bonus payments for both of the first two vesting periods for those made eligible by the expansion. Vesting Period 1 covered Oct. 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022; Vesting Period 2 covered April 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2022. Note that starting with claims for Vesting Period 3 (six-month period ending March 31, 2023), workers made newly eligible by the November expansion will be reported along with other eligible workers through the regularly scheduled claiming process.

DOH has updated the dedicated Program Expansion webpage to reflect this information and has added a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) specific to the expansion. Please see the Program Expansion webpage for information on expansion provisions for Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), and Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) providers.

The FAQ document stresses that the February 2023 Exception Submission period is exclusively for those individuals made newly eligible by the November expansion. No claims for previously eligible individuals should be filed during this time period. DOH will provide guidance in the future on submitting claims for previously eligible workers whose claims have not been filed due to technical issues.

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