Special Announcement: Important Parental Consent Change in School-Based Services Billing


Special Announcement: Parental Consent Change

In May 2023, the U.S. Department of Education introduced a proposed rule concerning the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which guarantees support for students with disabilities in their learning and related services. The proposed amendment aims to streamline the process involving parental consent for billing Medicaid or other public insurance programs for specialized services provided by schools to children with disabilities.  

Download a School Medicaid Parental Consent FAQs and a sample form –>  

What’s the proposed change to School Medicaid Parental Consent?  

Currently, IDEA requires schools to obtain one-time parental consent before they can bill Medicaid or other public insurance programs for specialized services, such as speech therapy or mental health support, provided to children with disabilities. Many of these children are also Medicaid beneficiaries due to their disability status or family income.  

The proposed rule seeks to remove this requirement for one-time parental consent, ensuring that eligible students receive individualized education program services at no cost, regardless of their insurance status. Parental consent forms will also clarify that billing Medicaid for school services won’t affect lifetime coverage or other insured benefits.  

Under the proposed rule, parents would still need to provide consent for Medicaid providers, including schools, to access public benefits when enrolling a child or themselves in Medicaid. Currently, parents are asked for consent at both enrollment points, which can be confusing. A 2022 survey highlighted that many Medicaid parental consent forms are incomplete.  

Administrative Barriers and Streamlining  

In addition to the proposed changes to streamline parental consent under IDEA, it’s crucial to understand the administrative barriers that parental consent requirements pose for school Medicaid programs.  

Currently, the process of obtaining parental consent for billing Medicaid or other public insurance programs can be cumbersome and time-consuming for schools. The need for one-time consent adds an extra layer of administrative burden, requiring schools to collect and maintain consent forms for each eligible student. This administrative overhead can divert resources and attention away from providing essential services to students with disabilities.  

Moreover, the complexity of the consent forms and procedures can lead to confusion among parents, resulting in incomplete or inaccurate forms. This, in turn, can delay or prevent eligible students from accessing the services they need.  

Download a School Medicaid Parental Consent FAQs and a sample form –>  

By removing the requirement for one-time parental consent, the proposed rule aims to simplify the administrative process for schools participating in Medicaid programs. This would allow schools to focus more effectively on delivering high-quality services to students with disabilities without being hindered by unnecessary administrative tasks.   However, it’s essential to strike a balance between streamlining administrative processes and ensuring that parents remain informed and involved in decisions regarding their child’s healthcare. Clear communication and transparency about the implications of Medicaid billing for school services will be crucial in maintaining trust and collaboration between schools, parents, and healthcare providers.   Ultimately, by addressing these administrative barriers, the proposed changes have the potential to improve access to essential services for students with disabilities, leading to better educational outcomes and overall well-being.

 Want more info? Reach out to Relay—your School Medicaid Billing Software specialists.