State Medicaid officials are optimistic that a long-delayed program to help school districts with some of their administrative costs could begin reimbursing schools soon. Speaking at a budget hearing last week, representatives for the state Division of Medicaid last week said that federal approval for the reimbursement program is imminent.
The program, as proposed by the state Division of Medicaid and the Mississippi Department of Education, would fully reimburse schools for administrative costs associated with serving Medicaid-eligible students. Participating school districts will submit their expenses to MDE, which will then send the information to the Division of Medicaid.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must approve the program before it can go into effect. Robert Robinson, executive director of the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, has been working with state Superintendent of Education Tom Burnham for more than a year to get the program finalized, MDE spokesman Pete Smith said.
In the past, schools have had to cover the administrative costs on the front end, House Education Committee Chairman Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, said.
"My understanding from the school districts is that there is two years' worth of bills out there that have not been reimbursed--about $17 million statewide," Brown said.
Under the program, the Hinds County School District is waiting for $600,000 it has spent on salaries for four school nurses, according to district spokesman James Mason.
The Executive Director of Medicaid is Dr. Robert L. Robinson. The Special Assistant to the Executive Director is Richard Roberson.
- Francis Rullan