Transportation Billing in California

Summary

California regulations previously prevented school districts from receiving federal reimbursement for eligible transportation services when provided to students that did not require the use of a wheelchair or transportation in the prone or supine position. In September 2012, Governor Brown signed AB 2608 (Bonilla) into law, temporarily expanding transportation billing for schools under the LEA Billing Option program through 2018.

Issue Analysis

Reimbursement of medically necessary transportation services is authorized by state and federal regulations. Despite these provisions, until January of 2013 California regulations limited billing under the LEA Billing Option program to transportation only when provided to students transported in a wheelchair or in a prone or supine position, preventing school districts from receiving federal reimbursement for eligible transportation services when provided to students with other disabling physical or mental limitations.

A bill passed by the California legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown in September 2012, AB 2608 (Bonilla), temporarily removes this barrier and gives the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) until 2018 to update all related regulations to make permanent the billing expansion for LEA transportation services.

Various groups, including the LEA Ad-Hoc Workgroup, worked closely with California’s DHCS to find a solution that would allow schools to expand their billing and receive reimbursement for all transportation services identified as eligible under the federal definition. AB 2608, a bill passed by the California legislature and signed into law by the Governor in September of 2012, temporarily expands transportation billing services for LEAs by exempting them from certain state regulations through 2018. This exemption gives DHCS time to update the regulations and make the expansion of billing services permanent.

Guidance for schools on the application of this new law, PPL 13-001, was published by DHCS on January 8, 2013. The Medi-Cal Provider Manual language on transportation billing under the LEA Billing Option program was updated in April of 2013 to reflect the new regulations.

 

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