SB 684-FN has been slated for swift passage through the legislature. Have you stopped to ask why? First, Medicaid dinged NH for billing services which were not rendered by properly trained medical professionals in schools.
Medicaid to Schools is meant to reimburse schools for a portion of medical services that are deemed medically necessary by a trained medical professional. Educational services are to be provided by schools and fall under the decision making power of the school theoretically with the involvement of the child’s parents in the decision-making process. Medicaid to schools is not intended to be a funding source for special education.
While the federal government has never managed to satisfy its promise to fund 40% of special education as they promised under IDEA, Medicaid to schools is not intended to close that funding gap.
SB 684-FN is intended to correct schools not getting the funding for medically necessary services. In an effort to right this “wrong,” the creators of SB684-FN intend to grant medical licenses to people who solely hold educational licenses to provide services.
What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that anyone who has the money to pay any college to get a Ph.D. in Psychology can get a license to be a school psychologist.
- They currently apply for an education license and work in schools solely with school populations.
- They don’t complete the hours and hours of working with clinically significant populations that require years and years of training.
- They don’t attend medical school, complete any residencies, or spend years doing research in their field.
- They don’t have anything close to the same level of training that doctors do.
It’s incredibly scary that our legislature is willing to give these licenses to untrained educators.
Medical professionals who get licenses from our state medical board have an ethical responsibility and duty to THE PATIENT. The billing is paid by the patient. They have an ethical obligation to do what is best for that patient. They are solely accountable to the patients.
School employees HAVE NO SUCH OBLIGATION. The school pays them, and since they want to continue being employed by the school, the school’s interests will be their primary focus. There is no such accountability between ANY school employees and any student or family.
They can not be unbiased in their treatment of any student. They have no obligation to abide by any code of ethics.
What does having a medical license mean?
People with medical licenses can make decisions that can have radical consequences, such as the Justina Pelletier case. In Ms. Pelletier’s case, a medical professional decided that the parents were not providing proper treatment. She (Dr. Colleen Ryan) had the child, Justina, removed from her home and committed to a mental institution for an extended period. Without ANY recourse despite testimony from other medical professionals and Ms. Pelletier’s parents.
Now hand that power to someone who could get a Ph.D. in psychology but has no clinical experience and clinical work with psychiatric populations — no medical training.
Someone who sees your child a handful of hours a year. Who knows almost nothing about your family life or your child at all.
Are you concerned yet? You should be.
Your legislature wants to hand that type of power to someone like that.
Medicaid to schools is paid for by people who have Medicaid. People who have an opportunity to receive services from a provider of their choosing. Either inside or outside of the school. Why should your child’s provider be chosen by zip code and not by parents who know and love that child?
Short answer, they should not.
This entire bill is seeking to diminish parental rights, destroy the decision-making power of parents and children, give non-trained school staff increased power without the proper education, and for what? So they can ensure that schools have a continuous stream of funding? This bill is not worth the degradation of rights for a handful of inadequate services provided by untrained staff.
by Moira Ryan