Helping the Disabled Helps the District

Updated: Sep 25, 2021


HISD has run a budget deficit for the past five years, and the budget workshops for this fiscal year also plan for a deficit. With the Maintenance and Operations tax at the highest allowable limit an out of the box solution is needed to bring in more money to the district to fund operations. One solution is having HISD ensure all disabled children who are Medicaid eligible receive Medicaid and then begin charging Medicaid for the services the district is already legally obligated to provide.

I am a disability attorney and run prenatal disability help (http://prenataldisabilityhelp.com) to provide pro bono legal assistance to disabled children both born and unborn. Texas has very favorable laws for disabled children to receive Medicaid. The Medicaid Buy In for Children (MBIC) is a special Medicaid program where a disabled child’s family can have earned income of 300% of the poverty line and still receive Medicaid. I already assist with this process 100% free of charge, and it’s a simple process. The district simply needs to make the political decision to ensure all disabled children who are eligible receive the benefit.

This can be done at no cost to the district. Texas Health and Human Services Commission has programs where, “School districts can be reimbursed for certain medical and health-related activities such as outreach services delivered to students within the district, regardless of whether the student is Medicaid eligible or not.” This covers screening and application for Medicaid benefits.

The School Health and Related Services (SHARS) program, “allow[s] local school districts, including public charter schools, to obtain Medicaid reimbursement for certain health-related services documented in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP).” HISD can receive reimbursement from Medicaid for providing services to the special education population. HISD simply needs to make the choice to do so.

With the district running budget deficits and already taxing at the maximum allowable level a change is needed. In 2019 HISD had 15,000 (in round numbers) students enrolled in special education programs. Not receiving Medicaid reimbursement for services provided is leaving a large amount of money on the table. When elected, I will push to take the steps to receive the reimbursement. This helps both the special education population as well as the district as a whole.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support.

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