U.S.D.O.E. New Reg Allows Schools to Obtain Medicaid Funds with One-Time Consent

By: Giulia Frasca, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP

A new regulation from the United States Department of Education will go into effect on March 18, 2013, which will allow school districts to be able to recover costs for services for students with disabilities from Medicaid.  Since 2006, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) required school districts to seek consent each time they sought Medicaid reimbursement.  This requirement has proven to be an undue burden and financially exhausting for school districts, which often absorbed the administrative costs of providing services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and mental health counseling because they were unable to obtain consents from parent to seek Medicaid reimbursements.

This new regulation was developed in an effort to balance reducing the burden on school districts of the cumbersome 2006 regulation with protecting parents’ rights under the IDEA and the Federal Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA).  The new regulation requires school districts to inform parents that when they provide consent, personally identifiable information may be disclosed to Medicaid and that the school district must provide the therapeutic services at no cost nonetheless if consent for Medicaid reimbursement is withheld or withdrawn.  Once a school district obtains written consent, it is enforceable for the entire time a child is enrolled in a school district.  However, the school district must notify parents, in writing, each year of their privacy rights and their right to withdraw consent.  It is important for parents to remain informed of changes in regulations in order to protect their rights.

For more information, visit www.specialneedsnewyork.com.