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Proposed Data Collections Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations

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In compliance with the requirement of section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 for opportunity for public comment on proposed data collection projects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publish periodic summaries of proposed projects. To request more information on the proposed projects or to obtain a copy of the data collection plans and instruments, call the CDC Reports Clearance Officer on (404) 498-1210.

Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments to Anne O'Connor, CDC Assistant Reports Clearance Officer, 1600 Clifton Road, MS-D24, Atlanta, GA 30333. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice.

Proposed Project: Special Exposure Cohort Petitions—NEW—National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On October 30, 2000, the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA), 42 U.S.C. 7384-7385 [1994, supp. 2001] was enacted. It established a compensation program to provide a lump sum payment of $150,000 and medical benefits as compensation to covered employees suffering from designated illnesses incurred as a result of their exposure to radiation, beryllium, or silica while in the performance of duty for the Department of Energy and certain of its vendors, contractors and subcontractors. This legislation also provided for payment of compensation for certain survivors of these covered employees.

EEOICPA instructed the President to designate one or more Federal Agencies to carry out the compensation program. Accordingly, the President issued Executive Order 13179 (“Providing Compensation to America's Nuclear Weapons Workers”) on December 7, 2000 (65 FR 77487), assigning primary responsibility for administration of the compensation program to the Department of Labor (DOL). The executive order directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to perform several technical and policymaking roles in support of the DOL program.

Among other duties, the executive order directed HHS to establish and implement procedures for considering petitions by classes of nuclear weapons workers to be added to the “Special Exposure Cohort” (the “Cohort”), various groups of workers selected by Congress whose claims for cancer under EEOICPA can be adjudicated without demonstrating that their cancer was “at least as likely as not” caused by radiation doses they incurred in the performance of duty. In brief, EEOICPA authorizes HHS to designate such classes of employees for addition to the Cohort when NIOSH lacks sufficient information to estimate with sufficient accuracy the radiation doses of the employees, if HHS also finds that the health of members of the class may have been endangered by the radiation dose the class potentially incurred. HHS must also obtain the advice of the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (the “Board”) in establishing such findings. On March 7, 2003, HHS proposed procedures for adding such classes to the Cohort in a notice of proposed rulemaking at 42 CFR part 83.

The proposed HHS procedures would authorize a variety of individuals and entities to submit petitions, as specified under § 83.7. Petitioners would be required to provide the information specified in § 83.9 to qualify their petitions for a complete evaluation by HHS and the Board. HHS has developed two petition forms to assist the petitioners in providing this required information efficiently and completely. Petition Form A is a one-page form to be used by EEOICPA cancer claimants for whom NIOSH will have attempted to conduct dose reconstructions and will have determined that available information is not sufficient to complete the dose reconstruction the majority of petitioners. The form addresses the informational requirements specified under § 83.9(a) and (b). NIOSH expects these claimant-petitions will comprise the majority of petitions. Petition Form B, accompanied by separate instructions, is intended for all other petitioners. The form addresses the informational requirements specified under § 83.9(a) and (c). Forms A and B can be submitted electronically as well as in hard copy. Petitioners should be aware that HHS is not requiring petitioners to use the forms. Petitioners can choose to submit petitions as letters or in other formats, but petitions must meet the informational requirements referenced above. NIOSH expects, however, that all petitioners for whom Form A would be appropriate will actually make use the form, since NIOSH will provide it to them upon determining that their dose reconstruction cannot be completed and encourage them to submit the petition. NIOSH expects the large majority of petitioners for whom Form B would be appropriate will also use the form, since it provides a simple, organized format for addressing the informational requirements of a petition.

NIOSH will use the information obtained through the petition for the following purposes; to: (a) Identify the petitioner(s), obtain their contact information, and establish that the petitioner(s) is qualified and intends to petition HHS; (b) establish an initial definition of the class of employees being proposed to be considered for addition to the Cohort; (c) determine whether there is justification to require HHS to evaluate whether or not to designate the proposed class as an addition to the Cohort (such an evaluation involves potentially extensive data collection, analysis, and related deliberations by NIOSH, the Board, and HHS); and, (d) target an evaluation by HHS to examine relevant potential limitations of radiation monitoring and/or dosimetry-relevant records and to examine the potential for related radiation exposures that might have endangered the health of members of the class.

Finally, under § 83.16, petitioners may contest the proposed decision of the Secretary to add or deny adding classes of employees to the cohort by submitting evidence that the proposed decision relies on a record of either Start Printed Page 11863factual or procedural errors in the implementation of these procedures. NIOSH estimates that the time to prepare and submit such a challenge is 45 minutes. Because of the uniqueness of this submission, NIOSH is not providing a form. The submission should be in a letter format.

There are no costs to petitioners unless a petitioner chooses to purchase the services of a expert in dose reconstruction, an option provided for under 42 CFR part 83, § 83.9(c)(2)(iii). In such cases, HHS estimates a report by such an expert may cost between $640 and $6,400, depending on the scope of the petition and access to relevant information. This is based on an estimate of costs of $80 per hour for contractual services by a health physicist, who NIOSH estimates would be employed within a range of eight to eighty hours to conduct and prepare a report on the required assessment.

CFR referenceRespondentsNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentAverage burden per respondent (in hours)Total burden (in hours)
83.9Form A8013/604
83.9Form B81300/6040
83.9Without Form B21330/6011
83.16Appeals of proposed decisions12145/609
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Dated: March 6, 2003.

Thomas Bartenfeld,

Acting Associate Director for Policy, Planning and Evaluation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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[FR Doc. 03-5855 Filed 3-11-03; 8:45 am]