CEC has been working with its partners in the advocacy community for several years on this issue and is pleased to see the progress made. The concerns arose because 34 C.F.R. Section 300.154(d)(iv)(A) specifically stated that a school must obtain consent each time that access to public benefits or private insurance is sought. This regulation was released after the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA and caused great concern for CEC and other groups as it basically restricted billing for Medicaid services by schools. Some students receive services reimbursed by Medicaid several times a week. Under this regulation, parents might have to sign consent forms hundreds of times a year. That perverse outcome would not have worked for parents or schools. Draft regulations on just the issue of consent were issued in the Fall of 2011.
CEC responded to this change by sharing its concerns with the US Department of Education. Specifically, CEC pointed out that seeking parental consent each time a school billed Medicaid – for a Medicaid covered service - would greatly overburden districts and unreasonably increase workloads. Thanks to the advocacy of CEC and others under the new FINAL regulations, which you can read here, parents can consent just once when a service begins and annually after that as long as they are provided a detailed notice about what they are signing and understand they can revoke consent at any time.
CEC is pleased the Department revised this regulation in a way that respects the realities of the way schools interact with parents. With a clear idea of the expectations, the system will work better for all.