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Final State Budget includes 5.4%COLA, money for bonuses

Posted on April 11, 2022

 NEW YORK STATE 2022-2023 FINAL Budget Highlights

The New York State Legislature passed the final 2022-2023 budget bills early on Saturday, April 9, 2022.  The final $220 billion budget was $4 billion more than Governor Hochul had proposed in January with many controversial and policy/non-budget measures including:

  • $1.2 billion for one-time frontline healthcare workers bonuses
  • $3.9 billion in funding to aid hospitals
  • $7.7 billion over four years to increase the home care minimum wage by $3.
  • $7 billion over the next four years to expand childcare
  • Gas and diesel fuel tax cut by 16 cents a gallon from June 1 through December 31, 2022
  • $600 million for a new Buffalo Bills Stadium
  • $2.2 billion in one-time property tax rebates for low- and middle-income property owners
  • $162 million in tax cuts for middle class families to be fully phased in by April 2023, instead of waiting until 2025
  • $800 million to the state’s depleted COVID rental assistance program
  • $250 million in utility arrear assistance
  • $125 million in homeowner and landlord assistance
  • Changes to bail laws

 

Following are the highlights of interest to CP of NYS Affiliates:

 

OPWDD

  • 5.4% Human Services COLA –$149.1 million for OPWDD COLA
  • $136.3 million for OPWDD Healthcare and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonuses (see detailed summary below the highlights) –
    • Workers are eligible for two six-month intervals between 10/1/21—3/31/24.
    • Employees – Include full-time, part-time, on a scheduled or temporary basis, or as an independent contractor that receives an annualized based salary of $125,000 or less and worked:
      • An average of at least 20 but less than 30 hours per week = $500.00
      • An average of at least 30 but less than 35 hours per week = $1,000.00
      • An average of 35 or more = $1,500.00
      • Full time employees exempt from overtime = $1,500.00
    • Workers can qualify after six months of employment for the first bonus.
    • Applies to a long list of titles in OPWDD, OMH, OASAS, and includes “such titles as determined by the commissioner.
    • Bonuses are exempt from income which is included in the calculation to determine their federal or state public benefits
  • Statewide Healthcare Facility Transformation Program (SHCFTP) – authorizes Phase IV funding and added OPWDD community-based programs as eligible
  • Nurses Across NY Loan Forgiveness Program – includes underserved populations/DD
  • Temporary operators – Gives OPWDD permanent authority to appoint temporary operators
  • New Opportunities for those living at home – $2 million for new service opportunities for individuals with disabilities that are currently living at home and whose caregivers are unable to continue caring for them

 

SED

  • The Education Article VII language will:
    • Allow special education schools (4410, 853 & Special Acts) to retain annual surpluses of 11% in 2022-23 through 2024-25, 8% in 2025-26, 5% in 2026-27, and 2% in 2027-28 and thereafter.
    • Limit the language, that was added in last year’s budget for an 853 reserve fund of up to 1% per year for a maximum of 4%, to the 2021-22 school year – which was needed for 853s to retain the surpluses of 11% etc.
    • There apparently will be a “side letter” to outline the legislative intent, clarify the agreement, and provide definitions (i.e., “allowable and reimbursable costs,” holding future tuition rates harmless from the impact of surplus deposits, etc.)
    • Will not eliminate reconciliation, add interim plus rates or hold harmless for enrollment declines.
    • We will be working with SED, The Legislature and the Executive to ensure that the Governor’s promise of an 11% COLA is kept.
  • Healthcare bonuses (See below) applies to clinical staff/titles listed below in 4410s & 853s. Does not apply to teachers, teacher aides, teacher assistants.
  • Retired Employees – May be employed by a school district or BOCES without any impact on their pension until June 30, 2023.

 

DOH

  • Repeals MRT #26
  • Medicaid 1% across the board increase – for DOH Medicaid programs including Article 28 clinics, Early Intervention
  • Utilization Thresholds – accepts the repeal of utilization thresholds
  • Prescriber Prevails – maintains Prescriber Prevails in the Medicaid pharmacy benefit
  • Fair Pay for Home Care – Provides for a $1.50 increase to the home care minimum wage this year and another $1.50 increase next year for a total of a $3 increase.
  • Telehealth payment parity – modifies the Executive proposal to include a two-year sunset and requires a detailed report on the use of telehealth. Article 28 (this does NOT include FQHCs) facility fees will not be reimbursed if both distant and originating site are not in the Article 28 clinic
  • Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program – includes a proposal that allows CDPAP fiscal intermediaries, that were not initially selected in the 2021 Commissioner’s RFO (including those who serve I/DD), to provide services.
  • Healthcare bonuses (see below) we believe this applies to clinical staff/titles listed below in Affiliate Early Intervention programs

 

OTHER

  • 5,4% Human Services COLA includes OPWDD, OMH, OASAS
  • Kendra’s Law – Extends for 5 years
  • 988 Hotline – Establishes a 9-8-8 suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis hotline system with modified reporting metrics and ensures call centers are established in-house.
  • Mental Health Criminal Justice Reforms
    • Connect criminal defendants with mental health treatment through existing procedures under the Mental Health Law and ensure that the court stays connected with the defendant throughout his or her treatment
    • Allow mental health practitioners to testify via video conference.
    • Allow for expanded care coordination for mental health.
    • Allow for mental health reassessment within six months of the expiration of an assisted outpatient treatment order.
  • Child Care Subsidies – increases the income eligibility for child care subsidies to 300% of the federal poverty level and increases reimbursement rates from 69% to 80% .The work requirement for recipients in post-secondary education was eliminated and the Executive’s language modification related to rollover funds for local districts was eliminated. The 10 percent of income over the Federal Poverty Level cap on copayments was continued.
  • JCOPE – Replaces the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) with the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government to streamline the candidate requirements for Executive Director; include victim statement confidentiality requirements; increase Commission member standards; and to specify that unfounded complaints are not FOIL-accessible

 

 

SFY 2022/23 Budget Healthcare Worker Bonuses

Bonuses must be claimed and paid to all eligible employees in two payments, not to exceed $3000.00.  Payments are based on hours worked during the six-month vesting periods, which began on 10/1/21 and ends on 3/31/24.

  1. Employee means full-time, part-time, salaried, hourly, temporary or independent contractor front line health care and mental hygiene workers (see list of titles from the statute below) as long as they earned a base salary of $125,000 or less. State employees are included.
  2. Employer means a Medicaid provider with at least one employee that bills for services under the state plan or HCBS waiver, or that has a provider agreement through managed care or a managed long term care plan and programs funded by OMH, OASAS, OPWDD, NYSOFA, higher ed, public or nonpublic schools, approved preschool programs for students with disabilities, charter schools, BOCES, a public health district or municipal corporation (counties, cities including NYC, towns, villages or school districts).
  3. Vesting Period is a series of 6-month periods between 10/1/21 and 3/31/24, during which time employees must be continuously employed.
  4. Base salary is the gross wages during the vesting period excluding bonuses and overtime pay.
  5. Tracking and submission of claims for bonuses – the Commissioner shall develop forms and procedures to identify the number of hours employees worked, for providers to be reimbursed to fund bonuses. Employers shall track the number of hours worked during the vesting period and, as applicable, the number of patients served by the employer who are eligible for services under this title and submit claims for reimbursement of employee bonus payments.  Payroll records will be used to determine an employee’s annualized base salary. Employers must maintain contemporaneous records for all tracking and claims related information and documents required to substantiate claims for a period of no less than six years.
  6. Payment of bonuses. The Commissioner will issue a vesting schedule for employers to pay bonuses based on the number of hours worked in the vesting periods.  Total payments are not to exceed $3,000.00 per employee:
  • For employees who worked:
    • An average of at least 20 but less than 30 hours per week = $500.00
    • An average of at least 30 but less than 35 hours per week = $1,000.00
    • An average of 35 or more = $1,500.00
    • Full time employees exempt from overtime = $1,500.00
  • Employees are eligible for bonuses for no more than two vesting periods per employer.
  • Payments must be paid no later than 30 days after the bonus is paid to the employer.
  • Employers must submit claims for bonuses no later than thirty days after an employee’s eligibility for the bonus vests.
  • Sick, vacation and FMLA hours are credited toward hours worked during the vesting period.
  • Payments to employees shall not be included in the calculation to determine their federal or state public benefits
  1. Employers that fail to identify, claim, and pay bonuses for more than ten percent of eligible employees shall be subject to additional penalties including fines of up to $1,000.00 per employee.

List of Titles in the Statute:

Physician  assistants,  dental  hygienists,  dental  assistants, psychiatric aides, pharmacists, pharmacy  technicians,  physical  therapists, physical therapy assistants, physical therapy aides, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, occupational therapy aides, speech-language pathologists, respiratory therapists, exercise physiologists,   recreational  therapists,  all  other  therapists,  orthotists, prosthetists, clinical laboratory technologists and  technicians,  diagnostic  medical sonographers, nuclear medicine technologists, radiologic technologists,  magnetic  resonance  imaging  technologists,  ophthalmic medical technicians, radiation therapists, dietetic technicians, cardiovascular  technologists  and  technicians,  certified  first responders, emergency medical technicians, advanced emergency  medical  technicians, paramedics,  surgical  technologists, all other health technologists and technicians, orderlies, medical  assistants,  phlebotomists,  all  other health  care  support workers, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, nursing assistants, and licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses;

Staff who perform functions as described in the consolidated fiscal report (CFR) manual with respect to the following title codes:

Mental Hygiene Worker; Residence/Site Worker; Counselor (OMH); Manager (OMH); Senior Counselor (OMH); Supervisor (OMH); Developmental Disabilities Specialist QIDP – Direct Care (OPWDD); Certified Recovery Peer Advocate; Peer Professional – Non-CRPA (OASAS Only); Job Coach/Employment Specialist (OMH and OPWDD); Peer Specialist (OMH); Counselor –  Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (CASAC); Counseling Aide/Assistant – Alcoholism and Substance Abuse; Other Direct Care Staff; Case Manager; Counselor – Rehabilitation;

Developmental Disabilities Specialist/Habilitation Specialist QIDP – Clinical (OPWDD);

Emergency Medical Technician; Intensive Case Manager (OMH); Intensive Case Manager/Coordinator (OMH); Nurse – Licensed Practical; Nurse – Registered; Psychologist (Licensed); Psychologist (Master’s Level)/Behavioral Specialist; Psychology Worker/Other Behavioral Worker; Social Worker – Licensed (LMSW, LCSW); Social Worker – Master’s Level (MSW); Licensed Mental Health Counselor (OASAS, OMH, OCFS); Licensed Psychoanalyst (OMH); Therapist – Recreation; Therapist – Activity/Creative Arts; Therapist – Occupational;

Dietician/Nutritionist; Therapy Assistant/Activity Assistant; Nurse’s Aide/Medical Aide; Behavior Intervention Specialist 1 (OPWDD); Behavior Intervention Specialist 2 (OPWDD);

Clinical Coordinator; Intake/Screening; Pharmacist; Marriage and Family Counselor/Therapist; Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) Transition Coordinator (OMH);

Crisis Prevention Specialist (OMH); Early Recognition Specialist (OMH); Other Clinical Staff/Assistants; Nurse Practitioner/Nursing Supervisor; Therapist – Physical; Therapist – Speech; Program or Site Director; and Assistant Program or Assistant Site Director; and “such titles as determined by the commissioner, or relevant agency commissioner as applicable, and approved by the director of the budget.”