Greetings from Region 2! We are pleased so share with you, news from our Region that was submitted by our members. We look forward to hearing from you with your thoughts and feedback.
Region 2 Policies and Procedures Committee Members
Did you know? Two of your fellow Region 2 NAME members— Anne Glass (FL) and Kathy Merry (MI)—serve on the NAME Policies and Procedures Committee (P&P). The P & P Committee is in the process of organizing all of NAME policies and procedures that are relevant to our members. The Committee hopes that knowledge is power, and sharing such information will keep you interested and quench your curiosity about the internal workings of NAME. Once completed, the Committee will post those relevant policies and procedures on the NAME website.
Healthy Schools Campaign: Headquartered in Illinois
The Healthy Schools Campaign is a key member of a coalition of like-minded organizations working to “…ensure that all children have access to healthy schools where they can learn and thrive…”. With headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, the Campaign was one of those organizations that worked to persuade the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to “revise” their “free care policy” (see link below). The Healthy Schools Campaign continues to provide guidance as the new ‘free care’ policy initiative is implemented around the country. To learn more about the Healthy Schools Campaign, visit their website: https://healthyschoolscampaign.org/programs/national/national-collaborative/.
- The free care policy fact sheet developed by the Healthy Schools Campaign can be found here: https://healthyschoolscampaign.org/hsc-resources/free-care-policy-fact-sheet/
Telehealth in Indiana
Indiana is exploring the possibility of adding Medicaid coverage for telehealth services provided in the school setting.
Ohio Medicaid Agency Changes Medical Necessity Requirements
Impacting IEP Claiming
Beginning August 1, 2016, all speech, audiology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy services reimbursed by the Ohio Medicaid in the Schools Program (MSP) will require an order, referral, or prescription to establish medical necessity. Previously, the Individual Education Plan (IEP) served as the prescribing document for services delivered to students and reimbursed to Ohio schools.
The change has come about after discussions between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Ohio Medicaid agency on the state’s use of the IEP. The CMS indicated their decision was due in part to requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While Ohio school therapists meet the federal Medicaid regulations as “licensed practitioners of the healing arts”, current Ohio laws do not authorize therapists the ability to diagnose, which falls short of meeting Medicaid’s requirement for medical necessity.
So beginning in the 2016-17 school year, schools will be required to obtain
an order, referral, or prescription from a medical practitioner whose scope of practice covers diagnosing those previously-mentioned services. This will affect approximately 60,000 children and students in order for Medicaid reimbursement for their therapies to continue.
Both educational and medical stakeholders are working together to design a process for obtaining referrals, prescriptions or orders, that does not disrupt the existent IEP processes for all children and students in special education that also meets the new Medicaid requirements. One approach is to use another state’s practices, so both the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the Department of Education are reviewing other states’ School Based Services policies.
Flint, Michigan Water Crisis
The high lead level water crisis in Flint, Michigan has a direct impact on Flint schools and school aged children and their families. The astronomical amount of local and national coverage of this story makes it impossible for us to summarize it, so we are providing you some links to some news articles and resources that have been developed as a result of this tragedy:
1. Bilal Tawwab, superintendent of schools in Flint, was interviewed on February 8, 2016 by Renee Montagne, co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition radio show. They talked about how the Flint lead water crisis is affecting schools in his district. The interview can be found here:
2. The State of Michigan submitted a request for a waiver to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow for expanded Medicaid eligibility for those up to age 21 and pregnant women who have been served by the Flint water system. The press release is at this link: Taking Action on Flint Water
3. The State of Michigan has created a website about the crisis which is updated daily. Information includes how to help; press releases from the Governor; the reports of lead water levels in Flint school buildings; videos for residents showing how to gather samples of their water and how to change water filters; all at this link: http://www.michigan.gov/flintwater
4. To provide important information to the Flint community and others, the State of Michigan has developed an inventory of communication materials to meet the needs of the city’s diverse populations. Key informational materials related to the Flint water crisis are available in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Hmong, American Sign Language (ASL), and for individuals with no or limited English proficiency. Some of the materials being developed include:
- A video in ASL to meet the needs of students at the Michigan School for the Deaf located in Flint, which is also home to a large population of individuals who are deaf.
- Translated documents are available in the “Alternative Language Resources: Español - 中文 - ألعربي” section of this website: www.michigan.gov/flintwater. Further, the federal Environmental Agency which is assisting in this crisis has resources available in Spanish, traditional Chinese, simple Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean available here: www.epa.gov/flint.
5. As of this writing, the Michigan Legislature has allocated almost $70M for a wide variety of the community’s immediate and short-term needs, including reimbursement or payment of 65% of the water bills for families and businesses who are in arrears for their water bills from April 2014 through April 2016; covering the costs of testing residential and commercial water; purchase of water filters; increased staffing of school nurses; and increased funding for Part C of IDEA services, to name a few.
6. The State of Michigan’s crisis response team was mobilized to deal with the crisis. Departments involved are: Education, Environmental Quality, Health and Human Services, Treasury, Technology-Management and Budget, and Agriculture and Rural Development, all to deal with the effects of this unprecedented situation.
7. All major news outlets, large city newspapers, TV stations and other sources have covered the Flint water crisis. Many have compiled their stories and posted on their websites with updates and timelines. Some are here:
- Bridge MI.com includes a detailed timeline: http://bridgemi.com/2016/02/flint-water-disaster-timeline/
- MLive.com: http://topics.mlive.com/tag/flint-water/
- Detroit Free Press: http://www.freep.com/news/flint-water- crisis/
- Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2016/02/22/epa-flint-water-department/80758116/
Region 2 Representatives on the NAME Board of Directors:
Anne Glass (FL) Kevin Bauer (MI) Kathy Merry (MI)
Education Medicaid Local Education Agency
Mark Smith (OH) Dario Avila (TX)
at-Large Education Agency at-Large Medicaid Agency
Other article contributors: Tracy Brunner (IN) NAME President, Jennifer Haase (MI) NAME Treasurer, and Jane Reagan (MI) NAME Past President