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Simplification of the Grant Appeals Process

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Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS.


Final rule.


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is amending regulations to remove the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) from the list of agencies which require grantees to utilize an informal appeals procedure for grant related disputes subject to the departmental appeal procedures. In doing so, HRSA will simplify the appeals procedure for aggrieved HRSA grantees by permitting them direct access to the Departmental Grant Appeals Board.


This final rule is effective 30 days after December 23, 2005.

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Gail Lipton, Director, Division of Grants Policy, HRSA, Room 11A-55, Parklawn Bldg., 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.

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When HHS first established its Departmental Grant Appeals Board (now the Departmental Appeals Board), there was no provision for the Department's subordinate agencies to first review the disputed actions of officials prior to appeal at the Departmental level. However, it quickly became apparent that a number of disputes could, and would, be resolved quickly by informal means if the grantees' complaints were surfaced to management levels within the HHS subordinate agencies. As a result, the regulations at 45 CFR part 16 were revised to permit subordinate agencies to interpose an “informal” level of appeal prior to submission of an appeal to the Departmental Appeals Board. Various agencies in the Public Health Service (which has since been reorganized) instituted an intermediate informal review process as is currently described in 42 CFR part 50, subpart D. The intermediate level of appeal provided these agencies with an opportunity to relatively quickly and economically reverse erroneous Federal decisions, or to reassure grantees that a decision adverse to them was indeed an “agency” decision. At the time these regulations were instituted, this informal process was of significant benefit to both grantees and the subordinate agencies. Based on the lessons learned from this process and other means, HRSA instituted a policy of reviewing carefully the adverse determinations of their employees prior to permitting them to be issued so as to avoid erroneous determinations which would be subject to reversal upon appeal at the informal level. HRSA believes that it has reached the point where the adverse determinations being issued in recent years generally represent its best judgment.

HHS therefore believes that, for these agencies and their grantees, this informal process is no longer of benefit, and the cost in time and expense to the grantee is no longer warranted. Consequently, HHS proposed amending 42 CFR part 50, subpart D, to remove HRSA from the list of agencies to which the regulations apply. As a result, under this proposal, grantees wishing to Start Printed Page 76175appeal HRSA's eligible adverse determinations would be entitled to appeal such determinations directly to the Departmental Appeals Board.

We announced our plans to amend the current regulations in a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the Federal Register, June 7, 2005 (70 FR 33053-33054). The NPRM provide for a sixty-day comment period. We received no comments. Consequently, the final rule is the same as the proposed rule published in June of this year.

We provide the following information for the public.

Executive Order 12866

Executive Order (EO) 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when rulemaking is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that provide the greatest net benefits. We have determined that the rule is not a significant regulatory action under Section 3(f) of the EO and does not require an assessment of the potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that EO. Under the EO, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted it from review.

Regulatory Flexibility

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. Chapter 6) requires that regulatory actions be analyzed to determine whether they will have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. We have determined that this is not a “major” rule under this Act and therefore does not require a regulatory flexibility analysis.

Unfunded Mandates

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act requires that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before developing any rule that may result in an expenditure by States, local or tribal governments, or by the private sector of $100 million or more in any given year. This rule does not have cost implications for the economy of $100 million or more, nor otherwise meet the criteria for a major rule under Executive Order 12291, and therefore does not require a regulation impact analysis.

Executive Order 13132

Executive Order 13132 requires that Federal agencies consult with State and local government officials in the development of regulatory policies with federalism implications. We received no comments.

Executive Order 13175

Executive Order 13175 requires the Department to develop an accountable process to ensure Ameaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications.” We received no comments.

Paperwork Reduction Act

There are no new paperwork requirements subject to the Office of Management and Budget approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

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List of Subjects in 42 CFR Part 50

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Grant programs—health
  • Health care
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Dated: October 11, 2005.

Elizabeth M. Duke,

Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration.

Approved: December 14, 2005.

Michael O. Leavitt,

Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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Accordingly, HRSA amends 42 CFR part 50 as follows:

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Subpart D—Public Health Service Grant Appeals Procedure

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1. The authority citation for part 50, subpart D, continues to read as follows:

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Authority: Sec. 215, Public Health Service Act, 58 Stat. 690 (42 U.S.C. 216); 45 CFR 16.3 (c).

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2. Section 50.402 is revised to read as follows:

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To what program do these regulations apply?

This subpart applies to all grant and cooperative agreement programs, except block grants, which are administered by the National Institutes of Health; The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; the Food and Drug Administration; and the Office of Public Health and Science. For purposes of this subpart, these entities are hereinafter referred to as “agencies.”

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[FR Doc. 05-24442 Filed 12-22-05; 8:45 am]