On June 2, 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the State of Florida’s budget for fiscal year 2022-2023. Included in the budget was over $600 million dollars in funding to the Agency for Health Care Administration (“AHCA”) for the sole purpose of increasing the minimum wage for employees of Florida Medicaid providers to at least $15.00 an hour. The appropriated funds will be distributed to Medicaid providers via enhanced Medicaid fee-for-service fee schedules and managed care rates. Providers will be required to enter into a Supplemental Minimum Wage Agreement with AHCA on or before October 1, 2022.
The law (Laws of Florida, Chapter 2022-156) requires Florida Medicaid providers to ensure that all direct care employees and 1099 contractors are paid a minimum of $15.00 an hour on or before October 1, 2022. Direct care employees are persons that have direct contact with a Medicaid recipient for the purposes of providing a Medicaid reimbursable service. Beginning on January 1, 2023, an employee of a provider receiving an increased rate that is not receiving at least $15.00 per hour may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the provider to recover back wages, liquidated damages and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
The Supplemental Minimum Wage Agreement should be available to providers via the Medicaid Provider Secure Web Portal. The Agreement must be attested to under penalty of perjury under 837.012, F.S. Interestingly, the Agreement, viewed at the time of this Client Alert, does not make the distinction between direct care employees and other employees that do not render direct care. The Agreement, read literally, would seem to apply to all employees. However, the language of the budget appropriation uses language specific to direct care employees. Additionally, in AHCA FAQs on the new wage requirements, one of the FAQs specifically addresses the types of employees that may be considered as direct care workers.
More information about the new minimum wage requirements may be found at the following AHCA webpage: Provider Minimum Wage Requirements (myflorida.com) . Providers that are impacted by the new requirements, including the application of the new requirements to all of the Provider’s employees should consult the AHCA webpage. The AHCA webpage also allows Providers to submit a question if they are uncertain about the requirements.
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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.
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