Meals for Needy Pupils in Kindergarten and Grades 1 to 12
(a) The department, in consultation with the State Department of Health Care Services, shall develop and implement a process to use the participation data from the Medi-Cal program administered pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to verify income as established in the federal Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-265) and, to the extent permitted under federal law, directly certify children whose families meet the applicable income criteria into the school meal program.
(b) The department shall share the participation data described in subdivision (a) with local educational agencies. A local educational agency that participates in a federal school meal program shall use the participation data described in subdivision (a), commencing with the participation data of pupils in the 2017-18 school year, to directly certify pupils eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, to the extent permitted under federal law.
(c) In the operation of this process, the department shall limit the information needed from the State Department of Health Care Services to identify families whose income falls below the eligibility cutoff for free or reduced-price meals, and utilize the least amount of information needed to facilitate a match of local school records. The State Department of Health Care Services shall conduct the data match of local school records and return a list to the department, including only the data fields submitted by the department and an indicator of program eligibility, as required by federal law.
(d) The department and the State Department of Health Care Services shall design this process to maintain pupil privacy and the privacy of Medi-Cal recipients by establishing privacy and confidentiality procedures consistent with all applicable state and federal laws. Local educational agencies shall maintain pupil privacy and the privacy of Medi-Cal recipients through privacy and confidentiality procedures consistent with applicable state and federal laws. The department and local educational agencies shall utilize appropriate technical and security safeguards to ensure any Medi-Cal participation data is protected, consistent with applicable state and federal laws. To the extent permitted by state and federal law, the department and the State Department of Health Care Services may review the data only for the purposes of improving the effectiveness of the data matches made pursuant to this section and Section 49561.
(e) (1) The participation data described in subdivision (a) is exempt from the disclosure requirements of the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code). The participation data described in subdivision (a) shall be used only for the purposes of direct certification pursuant to this section, shall not be open to the public for inspection, and shall not be disclosed to any other party without the written consent of the parent or legal guardian of the pupil, except for the purpose of directly certifying pupils for free and reduced-price meals pursuant to this section or as otherwise required or authorized by law or state or federal court order.
(2) This subdivision does not prohibit the disclosure of aggregate data that does not reveal personally identifying information about a pupil or his or her family.
(f) The department specifically shall ensure that the process, and use and sharing of participation data from the Medi-Cal program, conforms to the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-191), the federal Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (Public Law 111-5) and its implementing regulations, and the Information Practices Act of 1977 (Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1798) of Title 1.8 of Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code), by using strategies employed by other states' Medicaid verification projects or by developing a new strategy that ensures conformity. If applicable, Medi-Cal participation data shall also be subject to Section 49602 and its implementing regulations.
(g) The department shall seek all necessary approvals to establish this process and shall apply for available federal funds to support the work of this process.
(h) This section shall become operative upon the receipt of federal funds to assist the state in implementing the provisions of this section.
(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 724, Sec. 2.)