Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.
Notice with comment period.
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 (the Act). This notice requests comments from OPOs and the general public for our consideration in determining whether we should grant the requested waiver.
Comment Date: To be assured consideration, comments must be Start Printed Page 8175received at one of the addresses provided below, no later than 5 p.m. on April 24, 2007.
In commenting, please refer to file code CMS-1391-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. Click on the link “Submit electronic comments on CMS regulations with an open comment period.” (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-1391-NC, P.O. Box 8017, Baltimore, MD 21244-8017.
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-1391-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.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mark A. Horney, (410) 786-4554.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Submitting Comments: We welcome comments from the public on all issues set forth in this proposed notice to assist us in fully considering the issues. You can assist us by referencing the file code CMS-1391-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. We post 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: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/eRulemaking. Click on the link “Electronic Comments on CMS Regulations” on that Web site to view public comments.
Comments received timely will also 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.
[If you choose to comment on issues in this section, please include the caption “BACKGROUND” at the beginning of your comments.]
Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) are not-for-profit organizations that are responsible for the procurement, preservation, and transport of transplantable organs to transplant centers throughout the country. Qualified OPOs are designated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to recover or procur 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 486.306. 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 transplant, according to section 1138(a)(1)(C) 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 to identify potential donors only with its designated OPO.
However, section 1138(a)(2)(A) of the Act provides that a hospital may obtain from the Secretary, a waiver of the above requirements 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)(A) 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 changes made in definitions for metropolitan statistical areas; 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 received from a hospital within 30 days of receiving the application, and to offer interested parties an opportunity to comment in writing during the 60-day period beginning on the publication date in the Federal Register.
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 486.308(e) and (f).
II. Waiver Request Procedures
[If you choose to comment on issues in this section, please include the caption “Waiver Request Procedures” at the beginning of your comments.]
In October 1995, we issued a Program Memorandum (Transmittal No. A-95-Start Printed Page 817611) 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 and the designated and requested OPOs.
III. Hospital Waiver Request
[If you choose to comment on issues in this section, please include the caption “Hospital Waiver Request” at the beginning of your comments.]
As permitted by 42 CFR 486.308(e), Methodist Hospital, of Henderson, Kentucky has requested a waiver in order to enter into an agreement with a designated OPO other than the OPO designated for the service area in which the hospital is located.
Methodist Hospital is requesting a waiver to work with: Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, 106 East Broadway, Louisville, Kentucky 40202.
Methodist Hospital's Designated OPO is: Indiana Organ Procurement Organization, 429 N. Pennsylvania, Suite 201, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204.
(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)Start Signature
Dated: February 15, 2007.
Leslie V. Norwalk,
Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
[FR Doc. E7-3044 Filed 2-22-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4120-01-P