The Texas Health and Human Services department has published a plan implementing parts of the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) that provide agencies extra funds for attendants and other direct care staff in the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) programs. This plan affects most PAS and DAHS agencies in Texas.
If a provider agency wishes to participate in this program and receive extra funding to pay their attendants, they must go online and fill out a few questions and attest to a few program requirements by July 1, 2022. It looks like provider agencies will also need to fill out MCO specific attestation forms/paperwork as well by July 1, 2022. If your agency has not received paperwork from all of your contracted MCO’s, you may have to start making phone calls to their customer service departments and request copies of the letters and paperwork they are sending out.
The payments that must be made to attendants and other direct care staff should be made in lump sum amounts and not be used to increase hourly pay rates. These funds are meant to act as retention aids to attract employees to your agency and to help you keep existing employees. A final “accountability” report will be required at the end of the program, sometime after August 31, 2022.
We recommend that any bonus or lump sum payments paid to attendants and other direct care staff should be categorized as follows (not an all-inclusive list):
- ARPA - Lump Sum Bonuses
- ARPA - Retention Bonuses
- ARPA - New Hire Bonuses
- ARPA - COVID-19 Vaccination Leave
- ARPA - COVID-19 Isolation Leave
Categorizing the payments in this way will make it easier to extract data from your payroll software and will aid in the preparation of the final program reports when they are due. Please feel free to reach out to us here at Advantage Healthcare Consulting, Inc. with any questions you might have, including the preparation of the final reports mentioned above.
We have uploaded a pdf with the questions that are listed on the HHSC Attestation web page. Feel free to download the file and review before you visit the site so you can be prepared with the required information.