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Florida HCBS Frequently Asked Questions

The first batch of acceptance letters went out beginning on April 19, 2022. These letters were sent to iBudget providers who had applied for either the one-time payments to aid eligible HCBS providers in recruiting and retaining qualified staff, the one-time provider stipend payments to support HCBS Providers, or both.
  • Letters are being emailed to the email address listed by the provider on the application submitted and mailed to the address of record associated with the provider’s Medicaid Provider ID.
A second batch of letters will go out soon to LTC Managed Care program providers who applied for the one-time payments to aid eligible HCBS providers in recruiting and retaining qualified staff, the one-time provider stipend payments to support HCBS Providers, or both.

Once you have received your letter, you must go to the AHCA HCBS Budget Detail and Acceptance Letter Portal to enter your final funding request using the budget detail form. Once the budget detail is entered, you will be prompted to upload your signed HCBS EFO Acceptance Packet.  Both actions must be completed by May 2 in order to move forward to get your funding.  The web address to the portal in included in your HCBS EFO Acceptance Packet.

Note: Before you enter the portal to submit both items, ensure you have the information referenced on your acceptance letter and the letter signed and saved electronically. You will not be able to complete your submission until all required information is entered and the documentation is uploaded.

The Agency has prioritized payments to eligible iBudget Florida providers and will then work in partnership with Long-Term Care Managed Care Plans to make payments to eligible providers within the LTC Managed Care Program.

Use of the HCBS funds should align with all information included in your approved funding application.

The provider stipend is intended to build provider capacity and identify areas of workforce development. Per the Section B – Payment Information tab of the One-Time Provider Stipend/ One-Time Provider Retention application, providers may use this funding to enhance, expand, or strengthen Home Community Base Services (HCBS) workforce in the following areas:
  • Staffing Capacity Increase may include one-time retention bonuses such as hero pay that honors caregiver who have courageously cared for Florida’s seniors during the pandemic.
  • Staffing Stability to reduce turnover among staff through hazard pay, sick bank creation, differential pay for nights and weekends, and/or fringe benefits for staff.
  • Staffing Flexibility provides staff assistance with transportation through incentives such as agency-supplied care service either directly or through contracts with ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber or providing passes for public transportation.
  • Improved Professional Development offering new or expanded training opportunities such as paying staff for attending conferences, CEU credits, and college coursework.
As described in Section A – Attestation tab of the One-Time Provider Stipend/ One-Time Provider Retention applications, funding is contingent on providers attesting that they will spend the funding only on items included in the spending/staffing plan developed and submitted as a part of their application and approved for awarding of funds. Additionally, per Section A – Attestation tab, providers who apply for One-Time Provider Stipend funding must submit quarterly reports to provide updates on the outcomes of their spending/staffing plan implementation.

Yes.

Use of the HCBS funds should align with all information included in your approved funding application.

The provider retention payment is intended to assist providers in building and sustaining their direct care workforce with recruitment, retention, and educational incentives. Per the Section B – Payment Information tab of the One-Time Provider Stipend/ One-Time Provider Retention application, providers may use this funding to enhance, expand, or strengthen its Home Community Base Services (HCBS) workforce in the following areas:
  • Staffing Recruitment through the payment of a recruitment or hiring bonus for newly hired staff.
  • Staffing Retention by paying longevity bonuses to staff who reach certain employment milestones with that provider.
  • Staffing Quality incentives which reward staff who obtain certain educational or credentialing milestones.
  • As described in Section A – Attestation tab of the One-Time Provider Stipend/ One-Time Provider Retention applications, funding is contingent on providers attesting that they will spend the funding only on items included in the spending/staffing plan they develop and submit as a part of their application, and which is approved for awarding of funding.
Additionally, per Section A – Attestation tab, providers who apply for One-Time Provider Retention funding must submit quarterly reports to provide updates on the outcomes of their spending/staffing plan implementation.

Providers may only use accepted ARPA HCBS funding to fulfill the spending and staffing plan(s), and/or proposed delayed egress purchase they attested to. Any uses that fall outside of those categories are prohibited.
Below is a bulleted list of examples of prohibited expenses for the provider stipend payments. Note that the below list is not comprehensive, but instead is merely illustrative of prohibited uses of ARPA HCBS funding.

  • On-going payments for utilities, rent, or mortgage as well as any business liabilities.
  • Administrative services which include tasks and duties related to maintaining an office setting, including but not limited to scheduling, record keeping and facilities management.
  • Any of the provisions located in 45 C.F.R. § 75.450(c) including, but not limited to: attempting to influence any federal, state, or local election, referendum, initiative, or similar procedure, and establishing, administering, contributing to, or paying the expenses of a political party.
  • Legal fees, if costs were incurred relating to a violation of, or failure to comply with, a federal, state or local statute, regulation, or the terms and conditions of the federal award, by the non-federal entity and the violation, or failure to comply, resulted in a criminal conviction or assigned liability in a civil or administrative proceeding. Also, payments may not cover legal fees incurred by the non-federal entity in connection with the defense of suits brough by its employees or ex-employees under section 2 of the Major Fraud Act of 1988, including the cost of all relief necessary to make such employee whole, where the non-federal entity was found liable or settled.
  • Business expenses that do not clearly demonstrate the enhancement, expansion, or strengthening of the Home Community Base Services (HCBS) workforce (the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect the health and well-being of home health workers and direct support professionals, are allowed).
  • Any illegal activity.
In addition:
  • For providers without an employee, funds accepted by said providers for the One-Time Provider Stipend: Staffing Capacity and Staffing Stability, and the One-Time Provider Retention, activities, may not be paid to an owner-employee. Funds accepted for these activities must be used to recruit or retain at least one additional employee.
  • Direct Care workforce, eligible for provider retention and/or provider stipend, does not include contracted or temporary staff.
Again, because the above list is illustrative only, there may be items not listed above that the Agency determines to not be an allowable expense. The Agency reserves the right to deny any activity included in a submitted spending/staffing plan that the Agency determines to not be an allowable expense.

Yes. Qualified providers may apply for and receive funding under both programs.


The enhanced funding authorized in the American Rescue Plan’s Section 9817 is intended to enhance, expand, or strengthen HCBS under the Medicaid program. As stated in the Distribution Methodology tab on the Agency’s HCBS Funding Application website, for the One-Time Stipend and One-Time Provider Retention payments, final award amounts to qualified providers will be determined following the end of the application period (February 14, 2022). The Agency has identified qualified providers for the provider stipend and retention payments as providers who are enrolled as one of the following provider types (PT), which serve as core components of the HCBS provider network in Florida:
  • Providers who deliver Assistive Care Services to enrollees in Florida’s HCBS waiver programs. This can include providers such as assisted living facilities and adult family care homes;
  • Providers who deliver Home Health Services to enrollees in Florida’s HCBS waiver programs. This can include providers enrolled as home health agencies (PT 65) or providers of home health services enrolled as home and community-based service providers (PT 67);
  • Providers who deliver Case Management services to enrollees in Florida’s HCBS waiver programs and who are enrolled as PT 91;
  • Providers who deliver Home and Community-Based Services to enrollees in Florida’s HCBS waiver programs and who are enrolled as PT 67. This can include providers such as those who provide respite, homemaker and companion services, home modification services and durable medical equipment providers.

The Provider Stipend and Retention Payment program are limited to the providers listed above.

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) is closely monitoring the volume of applications submitted through this website and will use the quantity to finalize a distribution methodology that ensures funds are dispersed, up to the established threshold, to eligible providers whose submitted applications are approved following the end of the application period on February 14, 2022. At this time, we encourage providers to carefully consider ways they can enhance, expand, and strengthen HCBS and request funding at a level that is appropriate to support their proposed spending, staffing, and delayed egress plans.

The provider stipend and retention funding opportunities will have one application period during which the Agency’s goal is to disburse all funds in the stipend and retention program components. We intend to begin making payments shortly after the application due date and complete all payment to qualified providers by the end of the 21-22 fiscal year. Per Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance introduced on May 13, 2021, providers must spend accepted funds by June 30, 2023. Florida’s HCBS Funding Opportunity for Provider Stipend and Retention payments will be a one-time disbursement. We encourage providers who wish to apply for this funding to create a spending and staffing plan that enhances, expands, and strengthens HCBS in alignment with this one-time disbursement and the above reference deadline for spending the Stipend and Retention funds.

No, providers should submit all application materials by February 14, 2022. The Agency will not be extending the application period.

The Agency plans to initiate the application process for the other funding opportunities beginning in April 2022. Additional information will be communicated to interested parties over the coming months.

For providers with multiple provider IDs, a separate submission form will be required for each provider ID where a Provider Stipend and/or Retention payment is requested.

Please see the tutorial“Step by Step Webinar for completing the One-Time Provider Stipend and/or One-Time Provider Retention Payments Application” which is located at the bottom of the page.
When opening the application you may see a yellow ribbon saying “protected view”, click Enable Content, located at the top of the spreadsheet. Once selected you may see another yellow ribbon at the top of your excel file that says “Security Warning Macros have been disabled”, you will need to click the button that says Enable Content again.

The Agency will notify providers of their approval by email or letter, using the information provided on their application.

Please see the providers eligible located on our website. Additionally, any provider approved after June 30, 2021 was not included.

Yes, in the event that you would like to make changes or feel something was omitted feel free to complete another application and resubmit using the HCBS Funding Application Portal. However, if amending after the submission deadline you may still amend, but in limited circumstances. Primarily, application revisions may only occur to revise spending plans. The Agency must approve requests to amend applications prior to the provider beginning revisions.

The Agency’s vendor will contact you by phone or email if any additional information is needed.

Yes, any proposed revisions must be approved in advance by the Agency and revisions must be documented in the provider’s quarterly report to the Agency.

Yes. The provider will need to request and obtain permission from the Agency to amend their spending plans and allocation to each activity.

No, this is not allowed.

For purposes of Florida’s One-Time Provider Retention and One-Time Provider Stipend funding opportunities, a Direct Care Worker is defined as in individual that has direct contact with a home and community-based services (HCBS) Medicaid Waiver recipient for purposes of providing an HCBS Waiver covered service (examples include, but are not limited to, personal care, homemaker, and home health services). Direct care workers do not include individuals whose primary duty is maintaining the physical environment of the workplace or HCBS residential setting (i.e., Assisted Living Facility, Group Home), or is primarily administrative. Providers should consult the applicable state or federal authority to ensure compliance with waiver/service specific provider requirements.