Thursday, November 5, 2009

Medicaid Rule Change Would Affect Schools

A rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will reduce schools’ ability to access federal help to serve low-income students who receive special education services at school. More information is below. You can read the proposed changes and comment on them at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. (Rule CMS-2287-P) Deadline is tomorrow!

Under the proposed rule, schools would not be able to receive payments for “administrative” services or for most transportation provided to students in special education whose families are eligible for Medicaid.

In addition to cutting reimbursements for transportation to and from school, to school activities, and to outside therapeutic providers, the cuts would also affect administrative services such as outreach to families, referrals, or training for staff who work with these students. In addition, districts would not be able to use these funds for expanded physical, occupational and speech therapy programs for students, services which many students would not otherwise receive.

The changes are intended to meet the President’s budget goals and would cut $3.6 billion over five years. The reduction would force districts to reduce services to low-income students and/or pay for the services from the district’s general funds, which many districts find are increasingly strapped by other demands and requirements.

It is important to note that the rule change would not affect payments for direct medical services provided in schools to children who qualify through Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Medicaid cuts are being carried out through an administrative process called a rule change. The public is allowed to comment on such rule changes, but the deadline is nearly here – it is November 6. To read the proposed rule, visit You can also submit your comments electronically at the site -- scroll down to CMA-2287-P for this particular rule. Comments do not have to be formally composed.

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