FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 08/26/2014
Rep. Tony Dale Announces New Rule to Reduce Education Bureaucracy and to Save Taxpayer Dollars
New Rule to Potentially Save Millions of Taxpayer Dollars
Austin - State Representative Tony Dale (Cedar Park), announced that today, a newly enacted Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) policy that will potentially save Texas school districts millions of dollars a year. State Representative Dale was instrumental in enacting this policy change which allows school districts to electronically submit and store service documentation for students with special needs.
The School Health and Related Services (SHARS) program allows Texas school districts to request Medicaid reimbursement for some medically necessary health-related services that public schools are required to provide for students with special needs. This important program returns millions of federal dollars to public schools in Texas each year. SHARS is unique because unlike traditional Medicaid programs, the reimbursement of federal dollars requires no state or local match of funds.
Until now, due to antiquated policy, Texas school districts were required to write, print out, sign and store all SHARS documentation for 7 years. With this policy change, schools will now be able to utilize electronic documentation that automates the SHARS process.
"By embracing technology and eliminating antiquated rules and regulations, we can allow our public schools to spend more time serving students, and less time filing, printing and storing bureaucratic paper service logs.” said Dale. “Electronic submission and storage of SHARS data will allow special education teachers to keep their focus on their students. Today is a great victory for students with special need in Texas.”
One study showed that an ISD in the North Dallas area was spending more than $226,000 a year in storage facilities just to house the paperwork related to the SHARS program. Special educators in Texas will now have the ability to electronically log, document and sign off on SHARS documentation, eliminating the need for paper documentation and storage. For any school districts interested in learning more about this updated policy, it can be found on HHSC's website:
Dale was elected to the Texas House in November 2012. He is a small business owner and veteran of the U.S. Army who previously served on the Cedar Park City Council. He represents western Williamson County, including the communities of Cedar Park, Leander and Brushy Creek, as well as parts of north Austin and Round Rock. He serves on the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, the Energy Resources Committee and the House Select Committee on Child Protection.