In essence: schools are already paying to provide these services to students (the services that might be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement funding). Schools are legally required to provide these services to students. Since they're already paying for these services, then any money they receive from Medicaid simply offsets the costs they're already paying and gives much-needed relief to districts that have to spend a large portion of their funding to properly care for students with special needs.
So no: schools are not making a profit from Medicaid billing — they're just balancing the scales a bit.
Schools can use the reimbursement funding that they get back from Medicaid in numerous ways. They can choose to leverage their Medicaid funds to stretch scarce healthcare resources or even to make reinvestments in their school-based health care programs.
Two-thirds of districts report using Medicaid reimbursement to support the work of health professionals and other specialized instructional support personnel (e.g. speech-language pathologists, audiologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists, school social workers, and school nurses) who provide comprehensive health and mental health services to students.
For example, school districts that receive Medicaid reimbursements can choose to put the funding into the district's general fund, where it can then be used in a variety of ways that include, but are not limited to:
- expanding the availability of a wide range of health and mental health services available to students
- purchasing and updating specialized equipment
- performing care-coordination activities and connecting Medicaid-enrolled students with physicians outside of school