Legal Memorandum: School District's Payment of Medical Services

Issue: Under federal law, whether medical services are considered related services that must be paid by a school district.

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State), Education Law
Keywords: Payment of medical services; Related services; School district
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 206 F.3d 813; 225 F.3d 887; 258 F.3d 769; 152 F.3d 583; 106 F.3d 822; 793 F. Supp. 756
Cited Statutes: 20 U.S.C. § 1400(d)(1)(A); 20 U.S.C. § 1401(22);
Date: 03/01/2004

Generally, there are two lines of cases addressing whether medical services are related services that must be paid by a school district.  The first line involves hospitalization or other medical care outside of the educational placement.  The second involves services required by a student during school hours or at other times that enable the student to receive a free appropriate public education. 

Medical Services Generally

  • 20 U.S.C. § 1400(d)(1)(A) (2003) (The IDEA was enacted “to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs.”).
  • 20 U.S.C. § 1401(22) (2003) (“The term ‘related services’ means transportation, and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech-language pathology and audiology services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, social work services, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children.”) (emphasis added).

Medical Services Not Related to Students’ Educational Placement

Generally speaking, when medical services or hospitalization are not related to a student’s educational placement or when such services are not necessary for a student to receive a free appropriate public education, the school […]

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