We are in the process of deciphering the language that just came out regarding retention bonuses in the health care sector. This is just our interpretation so it is not official and please note that our response is specifically related to mental health and not the other health care sectors that qualify.
What is time frame for bonuses?
It will be implemented this fiscal year now that the budget has been passed. Our hope and advocacy will be focused on getting the initial part of the retention bonuses out the door quickly since the clock started ticking on October 1, 2021 (more on that later).
Who fits the criteria?
According to bill language, ‘certain front line health care and mental hygiene practioners, technicians, assistants and aides that provide hands on health or care services to individuals whether the person works 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
What categories are listed in mental health?
The language details a large number of categories that fit the criteria in mental health. Among those on the list are mental hygiene worker, senior counselor, supervisor, counselor, manager (all as defined in the CFR). Other mental health categories include peer specialists, CASACS, Nurse (Licensed Practical and Registered) Psychologist (Licensed), Psychologist (Maters Level) , Social Worker (LMSW and LCSW) Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Psychoanalyst, RTF Transition Coordinator, Intensive Case Manager, Crisis Prevention Specialist and Early Recognition Specialist. There are additional categories as well.
How long to you have to work for an agency to qualify?
In the initial proposal, you had to work for an agency for at least a year before you were qualified (the language they used is vested). It is now instead broken down into six month intervals between 10/1/21—3/31/24. You will be able to technically qualify for a bonus after six months.
What is the bonus payment?
Through every six month interval that started on October 1, 2021—you would quality for a bonus payment of up to $1500 depending on the number of hours you worked during that period. You can receive another $1500 for the next six month interval. Despite the fact that there are five six month intervals built in to the budget language (10/1—21—3/31/24), you can only receive a total of $3000.
All that said, we are still not clear on that exact interpretation and will ask a series of questions to find answers in the coming days.
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