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Medicaid Inspector warns school employees may lack background checks

Release Date: Nov 01, 2023
TOPEKA – (November 1, 2023) - Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach and the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General are recommending that Kansas school districts conduct fingerprint and criminal history investigations on all school employees on a documented cycle every five years. The Attorney General’s office is making the recommendation after a Medicaid Inspector General interim report revealed that an estimated 31% of Kansas School District employees who provide Medicaid related services to students do not have background investigations on file.

“Regular background checks are routine for workers in the medical community and in many functions of government,” Steven D. Anderson, Medicaid Inspector General, said. “It is logical that Kansans would want to ensure individuals who work directly with children are properly cleared. It would be inexcusable to allow someone convicted of a serious crime to have unsupervised access to children when a simple criminal history check could have prevented a potential problem.”

Inspector General auditors made the discovery in the process of conducting a performance audit of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s (KDHE) management of School-Based-Fee-for-Services Medicaid Reimbursements for the state of Kansas.

The audit sampled, at random, 17 of 287 public school districts across Kansas. Investigators estimated that there are approximately 3,731 Medicaid providers working directly with children in Kansas public schools. Sample testing indicated that 31%, or 1,157 of those providers may be working without a background check. The study also revealed that teachers are only required to undergo a single background check. The OMIG survey discovered three teachers in its sample who hadn't had a background check since 1997 or 1998.

"It is reasonable to assume that there are teachers in daily contact with students who haven't had any type of background check in 10-20 years," the report reads.

The Inspector General’s report also recommends that all school districts confirm that all employees, regardless of role, have current background investigations on file, and that legislators adopt a law requiring fingerprint-based criminal history background investigations for all school employees on a five-year cycle.

The Kansas Attorney General’s Office oversees the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General. The office conducts audits, investigations, and performance reviews of the Kansas Medicaid program, the MediKan program, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to identify waste, fraud and abuse, and to provide increased accountability of the programs.

The interim report was submitted to Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Janet Stanek, Kansas State Department of Education Commissioner Randy Watson, and members of the Robert G. (Bob) Bethel Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight.

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