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Healthcare worker bonuses: Many are being left out because of New York State’s confusing rules about facilities

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Why are some healthcare workers being left out of the state’s bonus program?

That question has been looming for several weeks, and recently, News10NBC investigated it.

Most healthcare workers who are employed by private medical and dental practices are excluded from the state’s health care worker bonus program. Home health aids and direct care workers, as well as those who work at assisted living facilities are also not included.

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The program many touted as being generous has turned out to be the opposite.

Here’s why it’s happening: There’s a requirement in the state’s language that says at least 20% of those served by the practice or agency must be Medicaid population.

“Why should it be about who whether government paid those workers or, or whether it was paid by the resident they were doing exactly the same thing,” Lisa Newcomb, Executive Director of the Empire State Association of Assisted Living said.

Assisted living facilities that do accept Medicaid are limited to who they can claim the bonuses for due to another line in the state’s language. “Support staff are only eligible for the bonus if they work within a patient care unit of a hospital or other institutional medical setting,” the state’s verbiage reads.

Assisted living facilities aren’t considered institutional.

Governor Kathy Hochul’s office issued a vague statement to News10NBC shielding criticism from those in healthcare who have been left out of the bonus program.

“Governor Hochul is proud to have worked with the legislature to provide bonuses to hundreds of thousands of healthcare heroes in New York State, including a wide breadth of employees in frontline healthcare and mental hygiene professions. Governor Hochul remains committed to building on ongoing efforts to retain, rebuild, and grow our healthcare workforce and ensure we deliver the highest quality of care for all New Yorkers,” a rep told News10NBC.

So, while many may not see the difference between an assisted living facility and nursing home – the state does. And that’s ultimately why these workers are being left without bonus eligibility.