AFT Resolution

MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES

WHEREAS, Congress passed the Medical Catastrophic Coverage Act in 1988 to allow school districts to seek Medicaid reimbursement for eligible preschool and school-age special education services; and

WHEREAS, the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services abruptly changed the rules requiring services eligible for Medicaid reimbursement to be provided by licensed personnel who could provide the service outside of the school setting; and

WHEREAS, this change makes services provided by certified unlicensed personnel ineligible for Medicaid reimbursement; and

WHEREAS, the federal government has now interpreted “under the direction” to mean a licensed speech pathologist must periodically see the student being served by a nonlicensed teacher of speech and language disabilities throughout the student’s treatment; and

WHEREAS, these changes were not made in accordance with any change in federal law enacted by Congress and were promulgated without appropriate consultation with the Congress; and

WHEREAS, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires school districts to provide services to students with disabilities by appropriately certified personnel, regardless of the availability of Medicaid funds; and

WHEREAS, the IDEA still authorizes school districts to access Medicaid reimbursement for eligible services; and

WHEREAS, Medicaid reimbursement for services provided in schools should not be based on an education model and education law not a health model; and

WHEREAS, the failure of the federal government to provide Medicaid reimbursement further erodes the congressional promise in 1975 to fully fund the excess cost of special education services; and

WHEREAS, failure to provide Medicaid reimbursement for these required services will force school districts to raise property taxes thus shifting the burden from the broad federal tax base to the much smaller school district tax base:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers urge Congress to direct federal agencies responsible for Medicaid reimbursement to allow services provided by appropriately certified personnel such as school psychologists, guidance counselors, social workers and teachers of the speech and hearing handicapped determined by each state and territory to be reimbursed by Medicaid.

(2008)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.