Whether you’re submitting a Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) reimbursement claim or planning for a review session, it’s easy to make mistakes. These mistakes can greatly reduce your food program reimbursement. Follow these tips to ensure your food program runs smoothly and you get the maximum CACFP reimbursement.
Schedule time every month to review records so they’re always up-to-date. Performing regular record checks and audits will help prevent problems when you prepare claims, receive questions about them, or get notice of a CACFP review.
The most common CACFP mistakes are related to enrollment records. Centers claim meals for participants whose records are missing, out-of-date, or incomplete. Centers also frequently report incorrect enrollment counts on their claims, which is usually a result of human error.
Develop defined processes and procedures for income eligibility records. Make sure participants are in the correct income category and ensure income eligibility forms are complete with all necessary information.
Many centers don’t track the income eligibility categorizations as carefully as they should. This causes eligibility-related mistakes to happen all too often. If reviewers have questions about eligibility, your reimbursements can be reduced. Additionally, you may be required to pay back any reimbursements for claims supported by incorrect forms.
Have a policy that ensures the person who records meals and attendance understands CACFP requirements and follows a set protocol. Additionally, utilize CACFP software for CACFP management. If you don’t have software for recording meal counts, CACFP Solutions can step in to help.
People don’t have perfect memories and estimating counts could lead to inconsistencies. Never claim meals that can’t be supported by documented proof.
Have a procedure in place for ensuring your food service staff records what is served every day, along with how and where they access the foods they supply.
Sometimes, staff may not accurately record what they serve at each meal or document purchase records to back-up the menu items. Do you need assistance with food production records? Partnering with CACFP Solutions includes easy to use software, along with expert support services, so your kitchen staff can focus on what’s important and maintain complete food service records.
This will prevent your center from trying to claim non-CACFP expenses. Ensure you have written policies and establish procedures to cover how you handle financial issues in your center.
Claiming expenses for items that are not allowed or considered necessary and reasonable under CACFP rules can negatively affect your reimbursement. Some examples of this are food items that are not CACFP-approved meal components, items not listed on your menu, or non-food items that are not allowable CACFP expenses.
Following these recommendations will ensure that any audits/reviews of your program reflect favorable on your operation and ensure your continued eligibility. Conversely, failure to follow these guidelines may result in disallowed meals, repayment of reimbursements, or even disqualification.
Need additional help with developing a system to keep track of enrollment records, income eligibility, meal counts, meal production records, and CACFP finances? CACFP Solutions is here to help.