How to get your school bus technology to pay for itself with Medicaid Reimbursements

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School districts have to balance being safety conscience with being good community stewards and fiscally responsible in managing costs. When future budgets are uncertain, pressure to scrutinize every expense feels more pronounced. School administrators need more subject matter expertise to help justify safety and compliance solutions from an economic standpoint.

Consider the Medicaid School Based Services program.

Many schools aren't aware of the availability of the Medicaid School Based Services (SBS) program, which includes financial reimbursement for transporting eligible special needs students to offset the cost of transportation services. Or, even if they’re aware of the program, they’re concerned that the time and effort required to determine eligibility, pulling the data and filing the paperwork will be undermined by an audit that doesn’t meet the documentation requirements. However, each Medicaid-eligible student with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is currently eligible for $500 to $1000 in yearly reimbursement back to the school.

Don’t be deterred. With the right technology solution in place, some schools receive hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in reimbursements.

Digital ridership tracking turns weeks into minutes.

Smart fleet management technology digitally captures student ridership metrics, making pulling the data to file for Medicaid reimbursement faster, easier and more reliable. This ridership tracking technology records and stores the time, date and location of each student's entry and exit from the bus for real-time child search and child checks documenting that the student actually rode the bus that day. Traditional reporting can take weeks. That electronic data can be easily submitted in minutes for Medicaid reimbursement.

School districts without this type of smart fleet management technology have traditionally completed Medicaid accounting on paper by monitoring and tallying eligible student ridership via checkboxes on the forms.

Using a paper-based process to capture the required ridership information:

  • is time-consuming and prone to human error
  • makes it hard to accurately capture the data needed
  • is difficult to verify as not having been manipulated or pencil whipped

Just checking the boxes doesn’t meet the standard of proving that the that student rode the bus.

Look for a student ridership tracking solution that features passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards for students, including those who qualify for Medicaid, to carry.

  • As they board, the student scan their RFID card to the touchless device onboard the bus.
  • That data is captured electronically and stored to the smart fleet management solution’s secure online portal.
  • You then access and pull that electronic data remotely in minutes instead of going onsite and sifting through paper records.

With the data captured through these touchless scans, schools can seamlessly report those students' ridership within the SBS guidelines and access significant Medicaid reimbursement dollars, creating a source of revenue that helps pay for the smart fleet management technology their fleet needs.

Let technology do the heavy lifting. Eliminate the complexities and audit risk associated with manual reporting for Medicaid reimbursement. The value of a RFID card-based student tracking system goes beyond special needs students. Schools can implement it to help keep all student riders on their bus safer with real-time child checks for peace of mind.

About Zonar
Founded in 2001, Zonar has pioneered smart fleet management solutions throughout trucking and vocational industries. Zonar helps fleets of all sizes maximize the use of their assets with technology solutions dedicated to improving compliance, efficiency, maintenance, safety, and tracking. Cloud-based services with open APIs drive Zonar’s smart fleet solutions by making it easy for fleet owners and managers to stay connected to their fleets and operators to dispatch. Headquartered in Seattle and part of the Continental AG family—a global leader in automotive technology—Zonar also has a Technology Development Center in downtown Seattle, a regional office in Cincinnati and a distribution center outside of Atlanta.

Z Pass has provided us with a level of security and confidence I didn’t know was possible. With Zonar as our partner we are able to ensure that our students are safe and accounted for while also utilizing the technology to decrease our overall cost by accurately and seamlessly submitting and receiving Medicaid reimbursement funds for the transportation of our special needs children.
Dallas Rackow, District 145 Director of Transportation