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Florida Medicaid Minimum Wage Increases to $15 Per Hour

Fri September 2, 2022 News

The minimum wage for direct care employees of Florida Medicaid providers will increase to $15 per hour on October 1, 2022. Lawmakers appropriated $600 million dollars solely for this purpose to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). AHCA will distribute the funds to providers via enhanced Medicaid reimburse rates and fee-for-service schedules. By October 1, 2022, providers must enter into a supplement wage agreement with AHCA to ensure compliance. Participation is mandatory and will be enforced by audits and recoupment of funds associated with the minimum wage increase.

The increase also applies to 1099 contractors who provide direct care. Providers have expressed some confusion about who qualifies as a direct care worker. Recently, AHCA issued FAQs on the new wage requirements including one which specifically answers this question.

Question 12: Which employees of a Medicaid provider qualify as direct care employees?

A Direct Care Worker is defined as an individual that has direct contact with a Medicaid recipient for purposes of providing a Medicaid reimbursable service. Direct care workers do not include individuals who do not provide a Medicaid reimbursable service, whose primary duty is maintaining the physical environment of the workplace, or whose duties are primarily administrative.

The answer continues with an illustrative list of direct care worker job titles. However, and in contradiction to this definition, the supplement wage agreement that providers are being asked by AHCA to sign apparently does not make the distinction between direct care and other employees.  

Beginning January 1, 2023, an employee of a provider who is not receiving a wage of at least $15 per hour may bring a civil action against the provider for back wages, an equal amount of liquidated damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs, along with injunctive relief including reinstatement. Such actions may be brought as class actions under Florida law.

This publication is for general information only and intended for clients and friends of Donnelly + Gross.  It should not be relied upon as legal advice as the law related to each situation varies. The sharing of this information does not establish a client relationship.