Staffing Firms Can Benefit From California’s New Health Care Worker Retention Payment Program

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In June 2022, California enacted legislation aiming to help stabilize the state’s health care sector and retain qualified workers in light of the ongoing Covid -19 pandemic. Senate Bill 184 affords certain health care workers and physicians retention payments from the state if they were

  • employed at least part time between July 30, 2022, and Oct. 28, 2022; and
  • continued to provide on-site services as of Nov. 28, 2022.

The California Department of Health Care Services has indicated that qualified staffing agency temporary workers are eligible for these payments. The retention payments apply to health care workers and physicians of “qualifying facilities” (i.e., hospitals, nursing facilities, and clinics) as well as “covered services employers,” defined as entities which (a) “employ or exercise control over wages, hours, or working conditions” and (b) provide on-site services to their respective clients. The program provides retention payments of up to $1,500 for each eligible full-time employee; $1,250 for each eligible part-time employee; and $1,000 for each eligible physician.

Staffing agencies are responsible for applying for retention payments on behalf of their employees; employees may not apply for these payments directly. Application is a two-step process.

  • Entities must register with DHCS by Dec. 21, 2022. Those entities whose registration is approved will receive a link to the application.
  • Approved entities must complete the application on behalf of their employees by 5 p.m. Pacific time on Dec. 30, 2022.

In January 2023, DHCS will begin issuing payments to qualifying entities for disbursement to their employees. To begin the registration process and for more information on the Retention Payment Program, please visit Hospital-and-Skilled-Nursing-Facility-COVID-19-Worker-Retention-Payments (ca.gov).

DHCS is hosting two webinars to answer questions about the registration and application process. These webinars are open to the public and will take place on Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. Pacific time and Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. Pacific time. Register for these webinars on the DHCS website.

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