AASA, which MREA is a member of, has been advocating on a series of issues on the federal level, in addition to increases in education funding. Here’s an update from AASA on Medicaid, mental health services and online privacy protection for children.
Medicaid and Mental Health Services
Moving towards Medicaid and mental health services, this year, AASA is involved in an advocacy effort that would reduce the administrative obstacles for schools billing to the Medicaid Program. The legislation is dubbed the improving Medicaid in Schools Act and would stop CMS from treating districts like they are hospitals or clinics.
Under current regulations, small and rural districts are much less likely to participate in Medicaid due to:
- The inability to take on the administrative and compliance-related paperwork
- The inability to find a qualified healthcare provider for the provision of services
- The lack of capacity to afford a third-party biller to handle paperwork
Our desired outcome is that by streamlining this guidance, AASA will be able to ensure that districts of all sizes and capacities can participate in Medicaid.
At this point, we are still trying to advance the bill in both the House and Senate. However, the impeachment process has virtually stopped most legislative movement on Capitol Hill.
Children’s Online Privacy
AASA recently submitted comments on the FTC newly proposed revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Under the proposal, the rule would guarantee many new rights to parents in connection with the data collected from their children who are under the age of 13 in schools. Specifically, LEAs would be required to do the following:
- Send a direct notice before the collection of such data;
- Offer parents the right to review the personal information collected from their child;
- Allow parents to revoke their consent and refuse the further use or collection of personal information from their child; and
- Give parents the right to delete their child’s personal information.
AASA is concerned that this proposal will create a substantial administrative burden on schools. First, we’re worried about the effect of the proposal on the operation of critical technology services, as districts rarely receive 100% return on requests for parent consent, and delays could impede these services.
Next, we take issue with the impact of the proposal on educational software programs and applications that may serve the same purpose as textbooks or other core curricular materials. These requirements could shut down or inhibit many vital school functions, like managing curriculum materials, taking attendance, or transferring transcripts. As of now, we’re still waiting on an official response from the FTC. Regardless, we’ll update you on any developments once the FTC responds and continue elevating the voices of superintendents on this issue.
Thanks to Sarah Abernathy of the Committee for Education Funding and Chris Rogers of the National Rural Education Action Coalition (NREAC) for this federal information.