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Sununu Signs Executive Order In Effort To Fix Troubled Medicaid To Schools Program

Sarah Gibson for NHPR


Governor Sununu signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at streamlining the process for schools to recoup costs of providing Medicaid-eligible services.

The order will expedite the licensing and credentialing process for providers who work in schools but lack a license as a Medicaid participating provider, thus making their services ineligible for Medicaid reimbursement. 

These services range from speech pathology to psychological services, and for some schools, such as Concord, Manchester, and Rochester, Medicaid reimbursements total over a million dollars annually.

But confusion over thestate’s Medicaid to Schools program has stalled reimbursement processes for many school districts. The problems began in July, when the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidelines explaining that districts couldn’t get reimbursed for services unless the provider was properly lisenced with a health-related licensing board. 

It warned New Hampshire that if it did not reach compliance with the rules, it would face millions of dollars in federal fines.

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Some schools blamed the state for not clarifying these rules earlier and have since modified their budgets to absorb costs they previously billed for. 

“We’re talking about 172 districts that for a year or so could bill for services, that all of a sudden they’ve hit this barrier,” Governor Sununu said after signing the executive order. “This is all about breaking down the barriers and streamlining the processes for them.”

In addition to the executive order, Senator Jay Kahn (D) and Senator James Gray (R) have drafted legislation that, among other things, would streamline Medicaid licensing processes for staff already credentialed by the Department of Education.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes criticized Governor Sununu for his handling of the Medicaid to Schools program, calling it a “political stunt” that “barely puts a band-aid on the self-inflicted damage caused by the Sununu administration.”

Senator Gray responded, writing that the effort “is about kids and not politics,” and that “the work that was announced today was the result of weeks of bipartisan collaboration and cooperation.”

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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