The Office of the State Comptroller said Monday that the Auburn Enlarged City School District may have failed to claim up to $481,500 in Medicaid funds, according to an audit that district officials say is flawed.

Auditors said the district failed to process all claims for 26 Medicaid-eligible students individualized education plans, failed to identify the Medicaid-eligibility status of 12 Medicaid-eligible students with IEPs or submit claims for services they received, and failed to identify the potential Medicaid eligibility status of another six students with IEPs who received free school lunches.

"The district did not get reimbursed for these services because district officials had not established policies and procedures for controlling the Medicaid reimbursement process," the audit, which covered a period from July 1, 2008 to April 7, 2010, stated.

The comptroller extrapolated the losses from the sample of cases it reviewed out to the district's entire special education student population to get the $481,500 figure, according to the report.

The report suggests the district can still submit eligible 2008-09 school year claims for reimbursement due to a two-year window for submission.

District officials disagree with many of the comptroller's findings and with the suggestion they submit old claims to Medicaid.

The district's defense to many of the audit findings was that different state offices have advised different courses of action for the district, resulting in the district's following one set of rules while seemingly ignoring another, said district Medicaid compliance officer Camille Johnson, who is also the assistant superintendent for student services.

"It's crystal clear that different agencies are giving us conflicting information," she said. "There's information coming to the district that tells us we would be making false claims (if we claimed retroactively within the two-year window)."

Johnson and other district officials said they have been receiving conflicting directives on Medicaid claims from two state offices, the Office of the State Comptroller and the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General. Since making a false Medicaid claim could result in expensive fines and criminal charges, Johnson said the district has been erring on the side of caution when getting conflicting advice from the two state offices.

"A false claim would be financially detrimental to the district," she said. "The False Claims Act penalties range from a minimum of $5,500 to $11,000 per claim, in addition to three times the amount of each claim plus attorney's fees."

See Tuesday's edition of The Citizen for more on this story.

(10) comments

jeffyg

10 teaching positions lost because of this. Wow and our board of ed and superintendent are not saying a word. Lack of leadership

h69316stuff

They are closing a school besides...there are no nice words I can say about this school district and it kind of makes me sick that my child is just starting school next year (makes me think more and more about staying here).

meatball

if you think this is bad, guess again, it is just the tip of the ice berg. Get involved parents, grandparents, we need more people watching out for our tax dollars, especially in this school district. If people really knew what was going on in all these buildings, they would revolt, move or home school their children.But remember, have they hurt themselves, no their high paying jobs are secure, not so for the lower paid employees!!!

Ddg610

I agree with all of you , but to make a difference we need people to run for the school board .
I believe that Lansford , cator , and soules are running again and no new faces so do not expect any changes . The super will continue to get what he wants .

irritated

I just cannot get over the complete ineptness of this schools so called "leadership"... And another reason NY is going broke because Medicaid pays for things like this! Medicaid needs to pay for health care, that means the doctor, the dentist (good luck with that one), and pharmacy. THATS IT! but it pays schools, it pays residential centers, it pays Upstate to train doctors! This broken EXPENSIVE system needs a total overhaul before it bankrupts us all! A woman on the news this morning sumed it up... You people think 2012 is the armageddon, well let me tell you, this countries debt and lack of real fiscal leadership IS the armageddon, and its already here!

AuntClara2

The Medicaid reimbursement scam has finally caught up with the Auburn School District administration. There has been mismanagement in the special education department for years. $481K should be taken out of the administrators pockets and given to the teachers who are being laid off. That money they did not apply for, could have been used for educational purposes. I want to see how the administration "spins" the guilt on Obama, Governor Cuomo, legislators, but never accept responsibility themselves. They should have read the rules of reimbursement, and kept up to date with the rules. Administration will try to pin the guilt on someone else, and maybe sue the state for money they did not get.

patchwork

Why do some issues get past the checks and balances in the system, read these quotes from a September meeting where some financial information was requested.

"I think you need to watch sometimes... you need to say ’I,’ not ’we.,’” Soules said. “I trust the information that is sent to us. If I have a question, I’ll call.”

Lansford agreed, saying he has faith in the experts the district has hired to iron out the details of funding and other issues.

“I have no interest (in such details) and I know fully well that’s being taken care of,” he said.

Soules expressed concern that if administrators and district staff are spending time to send data to the board, they will have less time to spend with children.

“They weren’t hired to be sending us information,” she said. “I’m worried we’re taking away their time to work with children, which is what they were hired to do"


info

Juxtapose this loss against the staggering layoffs due to a lack of funds and we have chaos. The state tightens its belt....schools lose funds....layoff teachers. Central administrations fails to properly train staff to submit documents for federal reimbursement and does not properly prepare or maintain records for said reimbursement...schools lose funds...layoff teachers. Administration proposes ways to close the budget shortfall...closes a school...layoff teachers, secretaries, aides, assistants, monitors, custodial and maintenance personnel. Sacrosanct, but not priceless: CENTRAL OFFICE ADMINSTRATORS. Find some money from the positions that failed to render due diligence in the performance of their jobs and bring back 10 teachers., you will still being laying off almost 20 but that is better than 30! Cut the head off this snake and stop focusing on the rattle; it makes noise but it's the venom from the head that is lethal.

Oa
Oa

Almost a half a million dollars. How much of the next property tax increase would that be? Time to dump Pabis.

jlmorgansr

Here we have an administrator that is making over one hundred thousand dollars annually plus benefits, whose main function is to apply and secure monies the district is qualified to receive and she fails to do her job, costing this district almost a half a million dollars, and she keeps her job. This person is either unable to do her job because of ineptness or just doesn't understand her responsibilities. Either way, I would fire that individual and replace her with someone who knows how to do the job properly. JD Pabis has protected his inner circle for years, and now we have a huge deficit and pink slips handed out. I think it is time for Mr Pabis and his "friends" get a pink slip. No more excuses.

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