Pennsylvania schools wait on millions in Medicaid funding from state

Monday, July 7, 2014

Earlier this year, Sherry Zubeck vowed to visit all 22 school districts in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. She was on a crusade.

Zubeck, early childhood and special education services director for Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, wanted to talk about kids with disabilities — students and preschoolers who need physical or speech therapy or similar services. The services are expensive; often a family’s insurance company picks up the tab, but if the family is eligible for Medical Assistance — Medicaid — government money pays the bill.

The problem, Zubeck told school officials, is that there’s been a lot less money to go around.

Due to new federal regulations and snafus at the state level, as much as $28 million is owed to school districts, private and charter schools and intermediate units. Some local school districts are out six-figure sums; the IU itself is out nearly $1 million over the past few years.

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