Medicaid Inspector Reveals Kansas Public Schools Missed Background Checks

November 7, 2023

The Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and the Kansas Attorney General recently discovered a significant lack of background checks for school employees. This realization comes after learning that about one-third of school employees providing Medicaid-related services failed to prove they completed background checks. 

As such, the Inspector General and Attorney General recommended that some Kansas school districts screen employees every five years. This recommendation includes fingerprint and criminal history background checks. According to the Generals, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) discovered this failure while conducting a performance audit. 

What Happened

At the time, the KDHE managed the state’s school-based fee-for-service Medicaid reimbursements. Initially, the KDHE intended to use this report to review its FFS claims tracking and processing. The system allowed the KDHE to determine which school-based claims qualified for reimbursement. 

For example, the study investigated whether the KDHE had sufficient procedures and policies for promoting efficient school-based Medicaid programs. It also determined whether they had adequate processes to ensure the completion of Individual Education Plans. Finally, the report would have reviewed whether the KDHE correctly billed medically supported services to Medicaid.

The Inspector General auditors randomly audited 17 public school districts out of the 287 in Kansas. These audits included an estimated 3,731 Medicaid providers who work directly with children in these public schools. The sample testing found that 1,157, or 31%, of these providers could be working without having had a background check performed. 

Audit Results

Furthermore, this audit revealed that schools only conducted one background check per teacher. According to the survey, three teachers in the sample had not undergone a background screening since 1997 or 1998. A representative of the Kansas Association of School Boards assured everyone that the Kansas City teachers undergo adequate screening. The representative also mentioned continued efforts to ensure individuals employed in Kansas schools have their positions for appropriate reasons.

The President of the United Teachers of Wichita worried there could be confusion concerning the “fingerprinting and background check and licensure process.” However, she also claimed to not know of any problems in Wichita. Regardless, she assured the public that their number one goal concerned the students’ safety.

The Medicaid Inspector General commented that Kansas residents want to ensure that people working directly with children undergo necessary screening. As such, he felt it inexcusable to let anyone with serious convictions work with children unsupervised. He claimed that conducting criminal background checks could prevent such a scenario.

This audit shows how easily an organization can fail to perform background checks. It also acts as a reminder to screen employees working with vulnerable populations. One way to ensure effective background check processes is by working with an experienced background screening provider. The right partner can advise employers on what programs work for their needs and ensure they run checks as needed.

Discover the benefits of JDP’s seamless background checks for your business. Speak with a sales representative today.