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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection: Comment Request

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In compliance with the requirement for opportunity for public comment on proposed data collection projects (section 3506(c)(2)(A) of Title 44, United States Code, as amended by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) publishes periodic summaries of proposed projects being developed for submission to OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. To request more information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the data collection plans and draft instruments, call the HRSA Reports Clearance Officer on (301) 443-1129.

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.

Proposed Project: The Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) Program: Physician's Certification of Borrower's Total and Permanent Disability Form (OMB No. 0915-0204)—Extension

The Health Education Assistance (HEAL) program provided federally-insured loans to students in schools of allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, podiatric medicine, pharmacy, public health, allied health, or chiropractic, and graduate students in health administration or clinical psychology through September 30, 1998. Eligible lenders, such as banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, pension funds, State agencies, HEAL schools, and insurance companies, make new refinanced HEAL loans which are insured by the Federal Government against loss due to borrower's death, disability, bankruptcy, and default. The basic purpose of the program was to assure the availability of funds for loans to eligible students who needed to borrow money to pay for their educational loans. Currently, the program refinances previous HEAL loans, monitors the Federal liability, and assists in default prevention activities. The HEAL borrower, the borrower's physician, and the holder of the loan completes the Physician's Certification form to certify that the HEAL borrower meets the total and permanent disability provisions. The Department uses this form to obtain detailed information about disability claims which includes the following: (1) The borrower's consent to release medical records to the Department of Health and Human Services and to the holder of the borrower's HEAL loans, (2) pertinent information supplied by the certifying physician, (3) the physician's certification that the borrower is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable impairment that is expected to continue for a long and indefinite period of time or to result in death, and (4) information from the lender on the unpaid balance. Failure to submit the required documentation will result in disapproval of a disability claim.

The estimate of burden for the Physician's Certification form is as follows:

Type of respondentNumber of respondentsResponses per respondentTotal responsesMinutes per responseTotal burden hours
Borrower 11171117510
Physician11711173059
Loan Holder205.851171020
Total25435189
1 Includes 2 categories of borrowers requesting disability waivers: (1) whose loans have previously defaulted, and (2) whose loans have not defaulted.

Send comments to Susan G. Queen, Ph.D., HRSA Reports Clearance Officer, Room 14-33, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857. Written comments should be received within 60 days of this notice.

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Dated: January 15, 2004.

Tina M. Cheatham,

Acting Director, Division of Policy Review and Coordination.

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[FR Doc. 04-1380 Filed 1-22-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4165-15-P