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Notice

Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Announcement of an Application From a Hospital Requesting a Waiver From Its Designated Organ Procurement Service Area

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.

ACTION:

Notice with comment period.

SUMMARY:

This notice announces a hospital's request for a waiver from entering into an agreement with its designated organ procurement organization (OPO), in accordance with section 1138(a)(2) of the Social Security Act. This notice requests comments from OPOs and the general public for our consideration in determining whether we should grant the requested waiver.

DATES:

To be assured consideration, comments must be received at one of the addresses provided below, no later than 5 p.m. on April 25, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

In commenting, please refer to file code CMS-1332-NC. Because of staff and resource limitations, we cannot accept comments by facsimile (FAX) transmission.

You may submit comments in one of four ways (no duplicates, please):

1. Electronically. You may submit electronic comments on specific issues in this regulation to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/​eRulemaking. (Attachments should be in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Excel; however, we prefer Microsoft Word.)

2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments (one original and two copies) to the following address ONLY: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: CMS-1332-NC, P.O. Box 8015, Baltimore, MD 21244-8015.

Please allow sufficient time for mailed comments to be received before the close of the comment period.

3. By express or overnight mail. You may send written comments (one original and two copies) to the following address ONLY: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: CMS-1332-NC, Mail Stop C4-26-05, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244-1850.

4. By hand or courier. If you prefer, you may deliver (by hand or courier) your written comments (one original and two copies) before the close of the comment period to one of the following addresses. If you intend to deliver your comments to the Baltimore address, please call telephone number (410) 786-9994 in advance to schedule your arrival with one of our staff members. Room 445-G, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20201; or 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244-1850.

(Because access to the interior of the HHH Building is not readily available to persons without Federal Government identification, commenters are encouraged to leave their comments in the CMS drop slots located in the main lobby of the building. A stamp-in clock is available for persons wishing to retain a proof of filing by stamping in and retaining an extra copy of the comments being filed.)

Comments mailed to the addresses indicated as appropriate for hand or courier delivery may be delayed and received after the comment period.

For information on viewing public comments, see the beginning of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mark A. Horney, (410) 786-4554.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Submitting Comments: We welcome comments from the public on all issues set forth in this notice to assist us in considering whether we should grant the requested waiver. You can assist us by referencing the file code CMS-1332-NC and the specific “issue identifier” that precedes the section on which you choose to comment.

Inspection of Public Comments: All comments received before the close of the comment period are available for viewing by the public, including any personally identifiable or confidential business information that is included in a comment. CMS posts all electronic comments received before the close of the comment period on its public Web site as soon as possible after they have been received. Hard copy comments received timely will be available for public inspection as they are received, generally beginning approximately 3 weeks after publication of a document, at the headquarters of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244, Monday through Friday of each week from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment to view public comments, phone 1-800-743-3951.

I. Background

Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) are not-for-profit organizations that recover human organs from potential donors in hospitals and distribute them to transplant centers throughout the country. Qualified OPOs are designated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to recover organs in CMS-defined exclusive geographic service areas, according to section 371(b)(1)(F) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 273(b)(1)(F)) and our regulations at 42 CFR 486.307. Once an OPO has been designated for an area, hospitals in that area that participate in Medicare and Medicaid are required to work with that OPO in providing organs for transplantation, according to section 1138(a) of the Social Security Act (the Act), and our regulations at 42 CFR 482.45. Section 1138(a)(1)(A)(iii) of the Act provides that a hospital must notify the designated OPO (for the service area in which it is located) of potential organ donors. Under section 1138(a)(1)(C) of the Act, every participating hospital must have an agreement with its designated OPO to identify potential donors only within its service area.

However, section 1138(a)(2) of the Act provides that a hospital may obtain a waiver of the above requirements from the Secretary under certain specified conditions. A waiver allows the hospital to have an agreement with an OPO other than the one initially designated by CMS, if the hospital meets certain conditions specified in section 1138(a)(2) of the Act. In addition, the Secretary may review additional criteria described in section 1138(a)(2)(B) of the Act to evaluate the hospital's request for a waiver.

Section 1138(a)(2)(A) of the Act states that in granting a waiver, the Secretary must determine that the waiver: (1) Is expected to increase organ donations; and (2) will ensure equitable treatment of patients referred for transplants within the service area served by the designated OPO and within the service area served by the OPO with which the hospital seeks to enter into an agreement under the waiver. In making a waiver determination, section 1138(a)(2)(B) of the Act provides that the Secretary may consider, among other factors: (1) Cost-effectiveness; (2) improvements in quality; (3) whether there has been any change in a hospital's designated OPO due to the Start Printed Page 9563changes made in definitions for metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs); and (4) the length and continuity of a hospital's relationship with an OPO other than the hospital's designated OPO. Under section 1138(a)(2)(D) of the Act, the Secretary is required to publish a notice of any waiver application within 30 days of receiving the application, and to offer interested parties an opportunity to comment in writing, during the 60-day public comment period.

The criteria that the Secretary uses to evaluate the waiver in these cases are the same as those described above under sections 1138(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Act and have been incorporated into the regulations at 42 CFR 486.316(e) and (f).

II. Waiver Request Procedures

In October 1995, we issued a Program Memorandum (Transmittal No. A-95-11) detailing the waiver process and discussing the information that hospitals must provide in requesting a waiver. We indicated that upon receipt of a waiver request, we would publish a Federal Register notice to solicit public comments, as required by section 1138(a)(2)(D) of the Act.

According to these requirements, we will review the request and comments received. During the review process, we may consult on an as-needed basis with the Public Health Service's Division of Transplantation, the United Network for Organ Sharing, and our regional offices. If necessary, we may request additional clarifying information from the applying hospital or others. We will then make a final determination on the waiver request and notify the hospital, the designated OPO, and the requested OPO.

III. Hospital Waiver Request

As permitted by 42 CFR 486.316(e), Piedmont Healthcare Systems of Rock Hill, South Carolina has requested a waiver in order to enter into an agreement with an alternative, out-of-area OPO. Piedmont Healthcare Systems is requesting a waiver to work with: LifePoint, 4200 Faber Place Drive, Charleston, SC 29105.

Piedmont Healthcare System's designated OPO is: LifeShare of the Carolinas, 5000-D Airport Center Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28208.

Piedmont Healthcare Systems must continue to work with its designated OPO while we complete our review.

IV. Collection of Information Requirements

This document does not impose information collection and recordkeeping requirements. Consequently, it need not be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under the authority of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 35).

Section 486.316 sets forth the requirements for a Medicare or Medicaid participating hospital to request a waiver permitting the hospital to have an agreement with an OPO other than the OPO designated for the service area in which the hospital is located. The burden associated with those requirements is currently approved under OMB 0938-0688, and HCFA-R-13, Conditions of Coverage for Organ Procurement Organizations, with an expiration date of February 28, 2007.

V. Response to Comments

Because of the large number of public comments we normally receive on Federal Register documents, we are not able to acknowledge or respond to them individually. We will consider all comments we receive by the date and time specified in the DATES section of this preamble.

VI. Regulatory Impact Statement

We have examined the impact of this notice as required by Executive Order 12866 (September 1993, Regulatory Planning and Review), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (September 19, 1980, Pub. L. 96-354), section 1102(b) of the Social Security Act, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4), and Executive Order 13132.

Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). A regulatory impact analysis (RIA) must be prepared for major rules with economically significant effects ($100 million or more in any 1 year). This notice does not reach the economic threshold and thus is not considered a major rule.

The RFA requires agencies to analyze options for regulatory relief of small businesses. For purposes of the RFA, small entities include small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. Most hospitals and most other providers and suppliers are small entities, either by nonprofit status or by having revenues of $6 million to $29 million in any 1 year. Individuals and States are not included in the definition of a small entity. We are not preparing an analysis for the RFA because we have determined that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

In addition, section 1102(b) of the Act requires us to prepare a regulatory impact analysis if a rule may have a significant impact on the operations of a substantial number of small rural hospitals. This analysis must conform to the provisions of section 603 of the RFA. For purposes of section 1102(b) of the Act, we define a small rural hospital as a hospital that is located outside of a Core-Based Statistical Area and Metropolitan Statistical Area and has fewer than 100 beds. We are not preparing an analysis for section 1102(b) of the Act because we have determined that this notice will not have a significant impact on the operations of a substantial number of small rural hospitals.

Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 also requires that agencies assess anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule whose mandates require spending in any 1 year of $100 million in 1995 dollars, updated annually for inflation. That threshold level is currently approximately $120 million. This notice will have no consequential effect on State, local, or tribal governments or on the private sector.

Executive Order 13132 establishes certain requirements that an agency must meet when it promulgates a proposed rule (and subsequent final rule) that imposes substantial direct requirement costs on State and local governments, preempts State law, or otherwise has Federalism implications. Since this notice does not impose any costs on State or local governments, the requirements of E.O. 13132 are not applicable.

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Authority: Section 1138 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b-8).

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(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program No. 93.773, Medicare-Hospital Insurance; Program No. 93.774, Medicare-Supplementary Medical Insurance, and Program No. 93.778, Medical Assistance Program)

Dated: February 9, 2006.

Mark B. McClellan,

Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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[FR Doc. 06-1646 Filed 2-23-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4120-01-P