Administrative Letter: #17
Policy Code: BGE
To: District and School Administrators, Special Education Directors
From: Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed. D., Commissioner
Date: August 27, 2018
Subject: New Requirements for Individualized Education Programs (IEP)
The following Administrative Letter has been updated with the correct revised IEP form.
On April 14, 2018 in Administrative Letter #13, the Maine Department of Education announced new requirements for Individualized Education Programs (IEP) beginning on May 1, 2018. The purpose of the new requirements was to appropriately document certain services that are both educationally and medically necessary in accordance with both IDEA and Section 65 and Section 28 of the MaineCare Benefits Manual. Subsequently in a communication dated May 16, 2018, the Department delayed the start date pending consideration of some questions raised by the field through counsel for the Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC).
After careful consideration and assistance from the Department’s counsel, we are now ready to move ahead with implementation of a revised IEP that addresses educationally necessary, MaineCare billable services. The new implementation date is October 1, 2018.
- Revised IEP Form- Updated (Word Document)
- Guidance Manual (PDF) – How to complete the revised Section 8 of the IEP
The Department recognizes that what we initially viewed as a change in documentation has caused confusion and concern in the field, and wants to address several important points about what this change means and does not mean for IEP Teams and school administrative units:
- First, nothing has changed about the IEP Team’s responsibility for determining if a child who needs special education also needs related services, such as behavioral health services, in order to benefit from their special education.
- Second, nothing has changed about the requirement that an IEP address the behavioral health needs of a student with a disability whose behavior is impacting their education. MUSER has contained a category of related services called “school health services” for several years, and the scope of what is contained within that category has been limited only by the Supreme Court’s rulings in Garret F. and Tatro¹ that these services are services that do not need to be provided by a doctor. A social worker, or an educational technician certified as a behavior health professional could be a potential provider.
- Third, nothing has changed with respect to the IEP Team’s responsibility for determining the least restrictive environment (LRE) in which a child with a disability will receive special education and related services. Not every student with a disability who requires behavioral health services needs to be served in a day treatment program. The IEP Team must consider the unique needs of the student in determining placement, just as they must consider the unique needs of the student in developing the rest of the IEP.
- Finally, the only thing that has changed is that if the IEP Team determines that a child with a disability is going to receive a service or be served by a professional covered by MaineCare and the child’s parent has consented to the use of MaineCare as a payment source, the service must be documented in Section 8, on the applicable section of the service grid on the IEP.
The Department understands that there will be additional questions from the field and we intend to provide support and guidance. For questions, please contact Roberta Lucas (Roberta.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mary Adley (Mary.email@example.com).
¹ Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F., 526 U.S. 66 (1999); Irving Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Tatro, 468 U.S. 883 (1984).