U.S. Department of Education Issues IDEA Part B Final Regulations Related to Parental Consent to Access Public Benefits or Insurance Such as Medicaid

On February 14, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education published in the Federal Register, Final Regulations which change the frequency with which public agencies, including school districts, must obtain parental consent to bill Medicaid for such reimbursable services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, and mental health counseling received by a Medicaid eligible student pursuant to their Individual Education Plan (‘IEP’). 34 C.F.R.§300.154(d).

As of March 18, 2013, the effective date of the new regulations, school districts no longer are required to seek parental consent each time Medicaid reimbursement is sought.

The new regulations provide that school districts:

  • May obtain a one-time written consent from the parent, prior to accessing or billing Medicaid but after providing the parent with written notice that explains all of the protections available to parents under Part B (34 C.F.R.§300.154(d)(2)(v)).
  • The consent must specify (a) the personally identifiable information which may be disclosed; (b) the purpose of the disclosure; and (c) the agency to which the disclosure may be made. The consent must also clearly specify that the parent understands and agrees that the public agency may access the child’s or the parent’s public benefit or insurance (Medicaid) to pay for services.
  • The written notification to parents must be written in language understandable to the general public and in the native language of the parent or other mode of communication used by the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.

The Department of Education- Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (‘OSERS’) has issued Non-Regulatory Guidance on these Final Regulations which can be accessed at:  http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/news.html