Statewide education organizations weigh-in on Medicaid lawsuit against ODJFS

The Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), the Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) and the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) issued a statement this week in support of the lawsuit filed by the Delaware County MR/DD Board last month against the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS).

The Franklin County Common Pleas case known as the Zimmerman lawsuit centers on an ODJFS rule establishing new Federal Medicaid related rates in March, 2004. The lawsuit charges that the rates being promulgated are arbitrary and capricious and that the rates will damage both county MR/DD board and school district ability to manage the cost of delivering services to eligible children and adults with developmental disabilities.

The three organizations pointed out that the methodology for developing the new fee structure is unreasonable, resulting in fees that are inflated and not consistent. School districts will be affected differently based on the county where they are located. Some districts could receive less than needed to cover costs for the services they provide with no way to recover the shortfall. Other districts may initially receive significant over-payments that would be subject to recall by the Federal Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS).

The rates could be deemed higher than those considered to be usual and customary, resulting in the need for school districts to repay large amounts of money to the Federal government at the end of each year. "The inconsistency in the new fee structure is unfair and will create significant cash-flow problems for districts," stated Fred Pausch, Director of Legislative Services for OSBA. "With districts already experiencing fiscal stress for so many other reasons, the effects of this new rule are especially problematic." "We believe that under the current rule, school districts could also be subject to additional financial risk.

We share similar concerns to those of County MR/DD Boards," an Association representative said. "Other long-term effects of the new system may surface in time. The problems we see with the new rule are examples of why we think Ohio's entire Medicaid system needs to be revamped," said Barbara Shaner, Director of Legislative Services for OASBO. "Ohio's program for the community alternative funding system (CAFS) and reimbursement for Medicaid administrative claiming (MAC) should be restructured to mirror those in other states within our region." States like Illinois whose recently approved reimbursement plan allows for Federal reimbursement levels much greater than Ohio to flow to school districts. "School districts in Ohio should not be penalized because of state level program policies," added Shaner.

Statewide Education Management Organizations BASA is a nonprofit organization comprised of individual members. Membership includes superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors, building-level administrators, department heads, university professors, graduate students, state department personnel and service (corporate) members.

OASBO is a not-for-profit professional association for a membership of over 1,000 public school treasurers/CFOs, business managers and other school business officials. Serving members since 1936.

OSBA is in its 49th year of service to public education and represents 100 percent of the state's public school boards. OSBA's services include: management consulting, continuing education through training programs and workshops, policy development, legal services, legislative initiatives, management services, superintendent and other executive searches, information, technology, employee relations and communications. SOURCE The Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA); Web Site: http://www.csbmrdd.com

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