The Early and Periodic, Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) provision is Medicaid’s comprehensive and preventive child health program for individuals under the age of 21. ESPDT services include periodic health screening, vision, dental, and hearing services. The Medicaid statute also requires that states provide any medically necessary health care services listed in section 1905(a) of the Social Security Act (the Act) to an EPSDT recipient even if the services are not available under the state’s Medicaid plan to the rest of the Medicaid population.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed to “assure that all children with disabilities have available to them… a free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their individual needs.” The IDEA authorizes federal funding to states for medical services provided to children through a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), including children that are covered under Medicaid. In 1988, section 1903(c) of the Act was amended to permit Medicaid payment for medical services provided to Medicaid eligible children under IDEA and included in the child’s IEP.
While schools are legally liable to provide IDEA-related health services at no cost to eligible students, Medicaid reimbursement is available for these services because section 1903(c) of the Act requires Medicaid to be primary to the U.S. Department of Education for payment of the health-related services provided under IDEA. Medicaid covers services included in an IEP under the following conditions: • The services are medically necessary and included in a Medicaid covered category (speech therapy, physical therapy, etc.); • All other federal and state Medicaid regulations are followed, including those for provider qualifications, comparability of services and the amount, duration and scope provisions; • The services are included in the state’s plan or available under EPSDT; and • The medical service must be provided to a Medicaid eligible student.Put this together with the 1980 DOE pamphlet on EPSDT and the schools, and new horizons for getting our kids the help they need have opened.