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district offices or a third-party consultant to compile full requests for reimbursement. The companies providing the technology may also help with these steps. In some districts, the reimbursed funds go specifically to transportation. But more often, they are directed to a general fund for special needs and health services. One option is that transportation directors can work


with their central office to try to recoup more of the funding. Transportation-related reimbursement claims usually comprise 10 to 15 percent of total fee-for-service claims for Medicaid reimbursement, Anderson shared. “Transportation is always cut [at budget time]. So, it did help me by saying, ‘Did you realize I was able to bring in $40,000?’” she relayed. “It generally worked. I could show the data, I’m bringing this amount in. Is anyone else oth- er than the lunch lady generating money?” Kim Erickson is the executive director of The Con-


sortium, a nonprofit organization that helps schools file for Medicaid reimbursement. She noted that seeking reimbursement is often less lucrative in a rural state like Colorado, where districts do not generally run separate buses for special needs students. In those states, accom- modations are instead made on typical school buses. Those rides can also be eligible for reimbursement if the district can prove that special equipment was pro-


vided for students to meet their medical needs, or they were accompanied by an aide. To be reimbursable, the accommodations must be written into the students’ IEP. “In my district, we put a para [professional] on every bus, but that doesn’t count for reimbursement,” noted Anderson. “If it’s because a child has to have a one-on- one aide, that’s what does count.”


Multiple Benefits Ted Thien, vice president of sales and marketing for


Tyler Technologies, noted that in an age where digital technology is integrated into nearly every facet of life, from riding in Uber vehicles to tracking FedEx deliveries, parents “have a base expectation that schools have a digital record of their children getting on and off the school bus—and can provide it either in real-time or on-demand”—whether it helps with Medicaid reimbursement or not. Tyler’s tablet-based systems provide this service, with


students scanning their individualized cards into an RFID reader when they walk on and off a bus, and drivers inter- acting with information on their tablet. Drivers can also manually enter information if students misplace their cards. “In our experience, one of the principal applications of


student ridership tracking has been in supplying the data that school districts use to seek Medicaid reimbursement


THIS REVOLUTIONARY “SMART SUSPENSION” SYSTEM ADJUSTS IN MILLISECONDS FOR THE ULTIMATE IN COMFORT AND SAFETY


With proven technological advances, LiquidSpring® offers school bus passengers and drivers the best in an affordable control-enhancing suspension.


“I tested the limits with my staff, going around corners fast and making aggressive lane changes. I wanted to see if the body roll was different; it was. I couldn’t get the passengers to slide out of their seats, which had happened when I was a new driver.”


A SMOOTHER, SAFER, SMARTER RIDE


Nancy Geesey, Director of Transportation, Kingman Academy of Learning


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