FTE Line on CARES Act Application

In filling out the CARES act Application for Medicaid, they have the 3 categories for FTE as of 5/31/20.

My question is, are we using the hours employees were hired to work? Or are we using the actual hours they worked the week of 5/31 (most employees had reduced hours at that point)?

So, for example, a front desk person normally works 40 hours which is 1 FTE, but in May she was only working 3 days per week (24 hours) and on partial furlough which is now 0.6 FTE. How do I account for her on the application?


Andrea Katz, MD

First of all: “FTE” is however you define it at your practice. You don’t have to use an external definition; use whatever your practice typically uses.

For example: Our practice says that a full time employee is one who is regularly scheduled to work 36 or more hours in a calendar week. This definition is primarily used internally for benefit computation: for example, we pay 90% of health insurance premiums for full time employees, but 50% for part time employees.

So now you have to drill down on the definition of “regularly scheduled.” If Wanda was taking a week of vacation the week of 5/31, she technically worked 0 hours that week - but that doesn’t make Wanda part time or no-time. She usually works 38 hours a week, which makes her FT, but she was enjoying well-earned time with her family. Or let’s say the week of 5/31 had a holiday or something else. Or maybe it was a really bad week and Bertha, who usually does 30 hours, worked 42 hours that week. If that’s not a typical week, I wouldn’t say Bertha is “Regularly scheduled” as a FTE - we had a shortage and she offered to work extra to help us out.

When you think about lookback periods (i.e. how long does someone have to work a particular schedule before it becomes their “Regular” schedule), I don’t think there’s a single right answer. It’s not even a question you may have had to answer before. We have sort of used 4 pay periods (about 2 months) since 2 months is a typical maternity leave (for our staff moms) and we pay for health insurance for 4 pay periods for our usually-full-time-if-they-had-not-just-birthed-a-human staff. (Folks who want to take 3-6 months off can do that but we don’t consider them FTEs at that point.) But again, this is just how one practice in Podunk TN does it – YMMV.

If your practice doesn’t have a precise definition, you can come up with something that works for you, and just be consistent.

I get it - so everyone worked less than FTE on 5/31. B/C everyone reduced their days by one per week. So are we recording them as FTE or 0.8 FTE?

I think you just answered your own question. If everyone worked less than FTE (5 days is your FTE standard, and they all worked 4 days typically), then you’d report 0.8.