Testimony of Robin Roberts to the BOE, December 12, 2019

I stand in solidarity with my nurse colleagues in highlighting the damage that is being done with the lack of a medical director/ medical physician for the district.

We have been without a school district physician since October 4th. The issue is larger than the egregious effects to nursing.

Nurse practitioners, for our district, complete Medical Practitioner Authorization forms for all students receiving PT, OT, Speech, audiology, nursing, psychological, social work and special transportation services.

This form allows us to bill for our direct services and our participation in the Medicaid reimbursement program known as ACCESS.

Nurse practitioners are required to work with a physician’s Medicaid number and currently are unable to complete and file medical authorization. The district’s Physical, Occupational, and Hearing Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, and everyone else are unable to bill for the service we provide.

FY 20 school district budget anticipates over $9.8 million in ACCESS grant funding revenue to the district. In the 2.5 months that we have been without a physician, we have lost approximately $2.5 million, $980K/month, $54K/day. This is revenue that needed is and necessary and is not recoverable.

PT, OT, and Speech are main drivers for Medicaid reimbursements. Each year, we participate the ACCESS program to purchase necessary equipment that allows our students able to participate in their curriculum. It is our duty to ensure that students:

  • are sitting in chairs that support them;
  • that they have the ability to move throughout their school and classrooms;
  • have places where they can take a break;
  • have communication devices;
  • and have the opportunity to learn the way the fits them.

As a PT, this program is frequently the only way that we can replace old and broken equipment. I don’t know if any school has the ability to pay for a $7,000 stander or a $4,000 activity chair from their discretionary funds.

We are completing the ordering process for the ACCESS using the 2017-2018 reimbursement. The effects of this lack of leadership won’t be felt for 2 years. Then, we will have a significant lack of funds to ensure that the students receiving special education services have what they need to learn.

I hope that this board will recognize the person(s) responsible for this self inflicted disaster and hold them fully accountable.