TOPEKA (KSNT) – A report from the Office of Medicaid Inspector General found nearly one-third of school employees who provide Medicaid services didn’t have proof of completed background checks.
On Oct. 31 the Office of Medicaid Inspector General issued a letter to Attorney General Kris Kobach detailing the findings of a School Reimbursements Interim Report. The report found 31% or 72 of the 231 sampled didn’t have proof of background checks.
The report set out to answer three questions:
- Does the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) have an effective system for processing and tracking school-based Medicaid FFS claim reimbursements?
- Does the KDHE have adequate policies and procedures that promote efficient school-based Medicaid programs?
- Does the KDHE or the Kansas State Department of Education have sufficient oversight processes in place to ensure Individual Education Plans are complete, and support medical necessity when services are billed to Medicaid?
School providers are licensed paraprofessionals who work with students to assist in Medicaid enrollment and receiving medical services, according to the report. The report sampled 17 of the 287 public schools in Kansas. The findings indicated that 1,157 providers may be working without a background check.
“We did not find any state level requirements for other school employees to have background checks,” the report said. “This includes other employees, such as, therapists, coaches, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, cooks, and janitorial workers. K.A.R. 91-1-214, State Department of Education; Criminal history records check.”
The report found that teachers were only required to have a single background check. Three teachers in the report’s sample group didn’t have background checks since 1997 and 1998.
“It is reasonable to assume there are teachers in daily contact with students that have not had any type of background check done in 10-20 years,” the report said.
As a result of the findings, the Office of Medicaid Inspector General recommended all school districts confirm all employees have background checks on file, all employees have fingerprint-based criminal history background checks done regularly every five years and make a five-year fingerprint-based background check a statutory requirement for all schools.
“Regular background checks are routine for workers in the medical community and in many functions of government,” Medicaid Inspector General Steven D. Anderson said. “It is logical that Kansans would want to ensure individuals who work directly with children are properly cleared. It would be inexcusable to allow someone convicted of a serious crime to have unsupervised access to children when a simple criminal history check could have prevented a potential problem.”