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Audit finds Central Islip schools didn't seek reimbursement

The Central Islip school district failed to apply for Medicaid reimbursements for dozens of special-needs students, according to a routine audit by the state comptroller’s office. If the claims had been approved, the district and the state could have received $75,252 each.

District officials said in a letter they have amended their policies to correct the mistakes. Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.

“The district recognizes, agrees with, and appreciates your recommendations,” Assistant Superintendent Kevin Miller told the comptroller’s office.

According to the audit, all schools can get partial reimbursement for special education services provided to Medicaid-eligible students by submitting claims to the state Department of Health.

Records from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009, show Central Islip failed to submit claims for 50 students totaling $301,008. In addition, auditors identified 361 Medicaid-eligible students, 162 more than the 199 the district reported.

Auditors said the district had no mechanism in place to help identify which students were eligible. Claims should have been filed by a senior clerk in the business office, they said, but the scope of her duties had not been formally established.

Claims for at least 10 students were not submitted because officials responsible for the filings did not know the students were receiving special services, the audit said. The audit also cited lack of documentation as a problem.

Central Islip, with 6,200 students, spent $11 million on special education services in 2008-09 and again in 2009-10. The district’s total expenditures for 2008-09 were $161.3 million and rose by about $5 million for 2009-10.

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