SENATE DOCKET, NO. 733        FILED ON: 1/13/2009

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 280



The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Nine



An Act to increase special education reimbursement.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Methodology - Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is hereby authorized and directed to, in consultation with the University of Massachusetts, change the methodology by which the Commonwealth seeks reimbursement from the federal Medicaid program for students educated pursuant to Chapter 71B of the General Laws from the current “per diem” format, so-called, to a “fee-for-service” format, so-called.

SECTION 2. Certification of Increased Reimbursement – Not later than thirty days following the initial receipt of funds pursuant to the “fee-for-service” methodology and in periods of not more than ninety days thereafter, the Secretary shall certify the amount by which reimbursement received using this methodology exceeds the amount which would have otherwise been received, taking into account inflation and any other relevant factors. Such excess amount shall be deposited into the Special Education Assistance Fund established herein.

SECTION 3. There shall be established and set up on the books of the Commonwealth the Special Education Assistance Fund, into which shall be deposited sums resulting from federal Medicaid reimbursement pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

Not less than sixty percent of the total amount in said fund shall be appropriated annually for the purposes of assisting municipalities and regional school districts with the cost of transportation of students provided pursuant to Chapter 71B of the General Laws. Said appropriation shall be made in a form designed to ensure equity among students and local educational authorities by utilizing a methodology based on a uniform percentage of eligible transportation costs to be compensated.

The remainder of said fund shall be available for appropriation in the form of grants of assistance to private institutions providing educational services pursuant to Chapter 766 of the Acts of 1972 and its implementing regulations.

SECTION 4. The Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Administration and finance and the Commissioner of the Department of Education, in consultation with the University of Massachusetts, shall develop a system of acquiring from municipalities and regional school districts the information necessary to utilize a fee-for-service method of reimbursement from the federal Medicaid system following the passage of this act and prior to a request for a change in reimbursement methodology to the federal government.

Said system shall be designed to maximize efficiency and minimize the cost and burden of compliance for municipalities and regional school districts.