Friday, July 15, 2011

N.J. Fights Feds Over Funds for Therapies

TRENTON — The battle has taken place almost entirely on paper, in footnotes debating arcane Medicaid rules, and in snippy remarks deep inside legal filings.
New Jersey and the federal government have been fighting over $50 million for so long that the battle hinges on medical records that date to the Whitman administration.
Now, after years of waiting and wrangling, one of the last briefs is due Friday, and a federal judge is expected to weigh in soon afterward.
Under federal law, school districts providing services like speech therapy, physical therapy and psychological counseling to disabled students can get part of their costs reimbursed by Medicaid.
But the law requires them to save every last scrap of paper — prescriptions, transportation logs, students’ files — and federal auditors and lawyers say New Jersey has not furnished all those documents in 105 of 150 randomly selected billings from 1998 to 2001. They then extrapolated the results to all school districts and arrived at $50 million.

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