NYSDOH Launches Bonus Program and Portal for Mental Health and Hygiene Workers | Harris Beach LLC

On August 3, 2022, the New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) issued an MRT Listserv notice announcing the launch of the Health Care & Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus (HWB) program and submission portal.

The Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus allocates $1.3 billion in recruitment and retention bonuses as part of an effort to increase the state’s health care workforce by 20% over the next five years.

The mailing list provides links to:

The mailing list also notes that vendors with additional questions can contact the Bonus call center for healthcare workers at (866) 682-0077 or by email at [email protected]

Considerations for those receiving HWB funds

  1. Be ready for a New York State or federal audit in about a year.

There is too much money coming out of federal and state budgets to support COVID response/reward efforts to think that anyone will not verify or review payments.

  • HWB audits/reviews are likely to be conducted by New York State regulators, most likely the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (“OMIG”) and the Medicaid Fraud Monitoring Unit ( “MFCU”) of the New York State Attorney General, but other agencies may also be involved (e.g. DOH, Office of Mental Health, Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, etc.).
  • The Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services includes Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) audits in its work plan. The CDC is the federal agency through which much of the federal COVID support has been directed.
  1. Audits will likely include the following, but this is not an exhaustive list:
  • Was the employer eligible to receive HBW payments?
  • When was the money received by the employer?
  • Have all eligible employees been included in payments?
  • Did the employer make payments to employees on time as required by the HWB program?
  • Were payments made to people who were not eligible?
  • Has the employer retained any portion of the funds for its own non-HWB program uses?
  • Was the report to the State made on time and did it include all required data?
  • Was the reported data accurate?
  • Are employee attestation forms collected and retained?
  • Are the required records kept?
  1. Suppliers may consider performing a self-audit as part of their annual compliance program review or as part of their annual financial statement audits.

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