2022 is proving to be an eventful year for the home care industry in New York State, with many changes to Medicaid-funded home care taking place effect in October and beyond.  Below is a brief summary of the changes to the Medicaid Program that will be taking effect over the coming months.

– Minimum Wage.  The minimum base wage for home health aides, personal care aides, and CDPAP personal assistants (“Home Health Workers”) is increasing by $2/hour to starting on October 1, 2022.  This means that Home Health Workers in New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties will need to be paid a base wage of at least $17/hour and that Home Health Workers in the remainder of New York State ill need to be paid a base wage of at least $15.20/hour.

This wage increase does not affect the requirement to provide wage parity benefits to Home Health Workers in NYC, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, nor does it affect the amount of wage parity benefits that must be provided to them.

As an important note, while the increases to the minimum base wage have been approved, corresponding increases to the Medicaid budget have not been.  As such, it is unclear whether or how such increased wages will be paid for by Medicaid.  The lack of allocated funding, however, does not relieve a home care service provider of the obligation to pay the increased minimum base wage to its Home Care Workers.

– Health Care Worker Bonuses.  Subject to federal participation and assistance, New York State is offering bonuses of up to $3,000 to qualified health care workers who earned $125,000 or less during qualified periods.  While Home Health Workers are not eligible to receive the bonus, other employees of home care companies may be entitled to receive such funds.  The program is expected to run in to 2024, and there are application deadlines.  Click here for more information.

– RFO’s.  The LHCSA RFO has not been repealed, however due to the significant pushback and legal action that occurred in response to the CDPAP RFO, it is expected that something similar will occur with the LHCSA RFO.  Additionally, the proposed MLTC RFO has not been established.

– Medicaid Lookback Period.  In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, New York State and the federal government suspended the typical lookback periods (30 months for home care, 60 months for nursing home care) with respect to asset transfers in determining Medicaid eligibility.  This suspension will be coming to an end on October 1, 2022.  Any transfers of assets made before October 1, 2022 in connection with an application to receive Medicaid benefits made on or before October 1, 2022, are not subject to the lookback.  Transfers made after October 1, 2022 are subject to the pre-pandemic lookback period.

– Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) Model Expansion.  Following the issuance of a Final Rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the expanded HHVBP Program will be expanded nationwide with the first performance year being calendar year 2023.

If you have questions or concerns about any of the upcoming changes to the New York State Medicaid Program, or any other home care-related matter, please reach out and contact our office.