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Notice

Notice of Availability of Draft Policy Document for Comment

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HHS.

ACTION:

This is a Notice of Availability and request for comments on a draft Agency Guidance (“Policy Information Notice” (PIN)) to clarify program and application requirements of the Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike program and make them consistent with those requirements under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act. The PIN, “Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike Guidelines and Application” (“FQHC Look-Alike PIN”) is available on the Internet at http://bphc.hrsa.gov/​draftsforcomment/​lookalike/​.

DATES:

Comments must be received by close of business November 7, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

Please send your comments to the following e-mail address: DPDgeneral@hrsa.gov.

SUMMARY:

HRSA believes that community input is valuable to the development of policies and policy documents related to the implementation of BPHC programs, including the FQHC Look-Alike Program. Therefore, we are requesting comments on the PIN referenced above. After review and consideration of all comments received, the PIN may be amended to incorporate certain recommendations from the public. Once the PIN is finalized, it will be made available on HRSA's Web site, along with the Agency's “Response to Public Comments.” That document will summarize the major comments received and describe the Agency's response, including any corresponding Start Printed Page 56365changes made to the PIN. Where comments do not result in a revision to the PIN, explanations will be provided.

Background: HRSA has received numerous requests for clarification regarding the program guidelines, requirements, and application process for the FQHC Look-Alike program. The purpose of the FQHC Look-Alike PIN is to respond to these requests for clarification and to make the application process more consistent with section 330 grant programs.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acts of 1989, 1990, and 1993 amended section 1905 of the Social Security Act to create a new category of facility under Medicaid and Medicare known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). The Social Security Act § 1905(l)(2)(B) definition of an FQHC included an entity which, based on the recommendation of HRSA, is determined to meet the requirements of the section 330 grant program but does not receive the grant. This category of health centers has been labeled FQHC Look-Alikes.

To ensure that there are appropriate numbers of health centers to serve the millions of uninsured and underinsured populations throughout the country, FQHC Look-Alike status was made available to those entities that do not receive funding under section 330 but operate and provide services similar to grant-funded programs. As such, FQHC Look-Alikes are expected to demonstrate a commitment to serve all populations residing in their respective medically underserved communities regardless of their ability to pay and to satisfy all of the administrative, management, governance and service-related requirements that apply to section 330 funded health centers. Benefits of obtaining FQHC Look-Alike status include eligibility for enhanced Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement, participation in the 340(b) Federal Drug Pricing Program, and automatic Health Professional Shortage Area designation.

HRSA is responsible for managing the FQHC Look-Alike program and submitting recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for designation as FQHCs; however, CMS has the final authority to designate applicants as FQHCs. The organizations are recertified annually to assure they are in compliance with these regulations.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For questions regarding this notice, please contact Cicely Nelson at (301) 594-4496.

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Dated: September 24, 2007.

Elizabeth M. Duke,

Administrator.

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[FR Doc. E7-19507 Filed 10-2-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4165-15-P