Wage Equity Add-On

During the 2022 Legislative Session a wage equity add-on was funded. The intent of this is to raise the wages of low wage direct care employees and certain low wage indirect care employees of nursing facilities. The Legislature directed the Department to develop a verification process with respect to these funds, with input from stakeholders.

 

Draft Worksheet 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Wage Equity Funding Verification CR-101

2022 Supplemental Budget, wage equity add-on language below

ESSB 5693 Sec. 204

(53) $24,138,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2023 and $24,138,000 of the general fund—federal appropriation are provided solely to increase skilled nursing facility medicaid rates in order to increase low-wage direct and indirect care worker wages by up to four dollars per hour effective July 1, 2022. Funding provided in this subsection is provided for purposes of wage equity.

(a) Of the amounts provided in this subsection, $21,910,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2023 and $21,910,000 of the general fund—federal appropriation are provided solely to increase the fixed rate paid for direct care to no less than 111 percent of statewide case mix neutral median costs to increase low-wage direct care worker wages by up to four dollars per hour effective July 1, 2022. For the purpose of this subsection, "low-wage direct care workers" means certified nursing assistants, dietary workers, laundry workers, and other workers who provide direct care to patients and who have no managerial roles. The department shall determine each facility-specific wage equity funding amount in the direct care rate component by comparing the rate at 105 percent of the direct care median to the rate at 111 percent of the direct care median, and by multiplying the rate difference by the actual paid medicaid days over the July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023 period.

(b) Of the amounts provided in this subsection, $2,229,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2023 and $2,228,000 of the general fund—federal appropriation are provided solely to increase the fixed rate paid for indirect care to no less than 92 percent of statewide median costs to increase low-wage indirect care worker wages by up to four dollars per hour effective July 1, 2022. For the purpose of this subsection, "low-wage indirect care workers" means central supply workers and housekeeping workers. The department shall determine each facility-specific wage equity funding amount for the indirect care rate component by comparing the rate at 90 percent of the indirect care median to the rate at 92 percent of the indirect care median, and by multiplying the rate difference by the actual paid medicaid days over the July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023 period.

(c) Working with stakeholders, the department shall develop and adopt rules to establish a verification process for each skilled nursing facility provider to demonstrate how the provider has used its wage equity funding to increase wages for low-wage workers by up to four dollars per hour, and for the department to recover any funding difference between each provider's wage equity funding and the amount of wage equity funding that the provider utilizes to increase low-wage worker wages. The verification process must use wages paid as of December 31, 2021, as the base wage to compare providers' wage spending in the designated job categories to the facility-specific amounts of wage equity funding provided in (a) and (b) of this subsection, excluding any amounts adjusted by settlement. The verification and recovery process in this subsection is a distinct and separate process from the settlement process described in RCW 74.46.022.

(d) It is the intent of the legislature that wage equity funding provided in this subsection be carried forward into the department's appropriation for the 2023-2025 fiscal biennium.