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Notice

Privacy Act of 1974; Report of a Modified or Altered System

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AGENCY:

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

ACTION:

Notice of a Modified or Altered System of Records (SOR).

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, we are proposing to modify or alter an existing SOR, “Intern and Resident Information System (IRIS), System No. 09-70-0524, last published at 67 Federal Register 48189 (July 23, 2002). We propose to modify existing routine use number 1 that permits disclosure to agency contractors and consultants to include disclosure to CMS grantees who Start Printed Page 69692perform a task for the agency. CMS grantees, charged with completing projects or activities that require CMS data to carry out that activity, are classified separate from CMS contractors and/or consultants. The modified routine use will remain as routine use number 1. We will delete routine use number 5 authorizing disclosure to support constituent requests made to a congressional representative. If an authorization for the disclosure has been obtained from the data subject, then no routine use is needed. The Privacy Act allows for disclosures with the “prior written consent” of the data subject. We will broaden the scope of published routine uses number 7 and 8, authorizing disclosures to combat fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to include combating “waste” which refers increasingly more to specific beneficiary or recipient practices that result in unnecessary cost to Federally-funded health benefit programs.

We will delete the section titled “Additional Circumstances Affecting Routine Use Disclosures,” that addresses “Protected Health Information (PHI)” and “small cell size.” The requirement for compliance with HHS regulation “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information” does not apply because this system does not collect or maintain PHI. In addition, our policy to prohibit release if there is a possibility that an individual can be identified through “small cell size” is not applicable to the data maintained in this system.

We are modifying the language in the remaining routine uses to provide a proper explanation as to the need for the routine use and to provide clarity to CMS' intention to disclose individual-specific information contained in this system. The routine uses will then be prioritized and reordered according to their usage. We will also take the opportunity to update any sections of the system that were affected by the recent reorganization or by Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (Pub. L. 108-173) provisions and to update language in the administrative sections to correspond with language used in other CMS SORs.

The primary purpose of the SOR is to ensure that no interns and residents (IRs) are counted by the Medicare program as more than one full-time equivalent (FTE) employee in the calculation of payments for the costs of direct graduate medical education (GME) and indirect medical education (IME). Information retrieved from this SOR will also be disclosed to: (1) Support regulatory, reimbursement, and policy functions performed within the Agency or by a contractor or consultant, (2) assist another Federal and/or state agency, agency of a state government, an agency established by state law, or its fiscal agent, (3) support providers and suppliers of services, (4) assist third-party contacts where necessary to establish or verify information, (5) support litigation involving the Agency, and (6) combat fraud, waste, and abuse in certain health benefits programs. We have provided background information about the modified system in the “Supplementary Information” section below. Although the Privacy Act requires only that CMS provide an opportunity for interested persons to comment on the routine uses, CMS invites comments on all portions of this notice. See “Effective Dates” section for comment period.

DATES:

Effective Dates: CMS filed a modified or altered system report with the Chair of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on December 4, 2007. To ensure that all parties have adequate time in which to comment, the modified system, including routine uses, will become effective 30 days from the publication of the notice, or 40 days from the date it was submitted to OMB and Congress, whichever is later, unless CMS receives comments that require alterations to this notice.

ADDRESSES:

The public should address comments to: CMS Privacy Officer, Division of Privacy Compliance, Enterprise Architecture and Strategy Group, Office of Information Services, CMS, Room N2-04-27, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850. Comments received will be available for review at this location, by appointment, during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Eastern Time Zone.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Milton Jacobson, Division of Provider Audit Operations, Financial Services Group, Office of Financial Management, CMS, Room C3-14-00, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850. Mr. Jacobson can be reached by telephone at 410-786-7553 or via e-mail at Milton.Jacobson@cms.hhs.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Description of the Modified or Altered System of Records

A. Statutory and Regulatory Basis for System

Authority for maintenance of the system is given under the provisions of §§ 1886(d)(5)(B) and 1886(h) of the Social Security Act (Title 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1395ww(d)(5)(B) and 1395ww(h)).

B. Collection and Maintenance of Data in the System

The system collects and maintains information interns and residents in programs approved under 42 CFR 413.75, working in all areas of the hospital complex, or other freestanding providers, as well as non-hospital or non-provider settings on or after July 1, 1985. The system includes the following information for each IR: name, social security number; name of medical, osteopathic, dental, or podiatric school graduated from and date of graduation, type of residency program for the medical specialty, number of years completed in all types of residency programs, foreign medical school graduation date and certification date, name of employer (e.g., hospital, university, corporation) paying the salary, the percentage of time spent working in either the inpatient areas of the hospital subject to the Prospective Payment System or in the outpatient areas of the hospital or in a non-hospital setting under agreement with the hospital for IME, the percentage of time spent working in any area of the hospital complex or in a non-provider setting under agreement with the hospital for GME, the start and end dates assigned to the hospital and any hospital-based providers (assignment periods) during the hospital's cost reporting period, the start and end dates assigned to any non-hospital or non-provider setting in connection with approved residency programs (assignment periods) during the hospital's cost reporting period, and the full-time or part-time percentage during each assignment period.

II. Agency Policies, Procedures, and Restrictions on the Routine Use

A. The Privacy Act permits us to disclose information without an individual's consent if the information is to be used for a purpose that is compatible with the purpose(s) for which the information was collected. Any such disclosure of data is known as a “routine use.” The government will only release IRIS information that can be associated with an individual as provided for under “Section III. Start Printed Page 69693Proposed Routine Use Disclosures of Data in the System.” Both identifiable and non-identifiable data may be disclosed under a routine use.

We will only collect the minimum personal data necessary to achieve the purpose of IRIS. CMS has the following policies and procedures concerning disclosures of information that will be maintained in the system. Disclosure of information from this system will be approved only to the extent necessary to accomplish the purpose of the disclosure and only after CMS:

1. Determines that the use or disclosure is consistent with the reason that the data is being collected, e.g., to ensure that no interns and residents (IR) are counted by the Medicare program as more than one full-time equivalent (FTE) employee in the calculation of payments for the costs of GME and IME.

2. Determines:

a. That the purpose for which the disclosure is to be made can only be accomplished if the record is provided in individually identifiable form;

b. That the purpose for which the disclosure is to be made is of sufficient importance to warrant the potential effect and/or risk on the privacy of the individual that additional exposure of the record might bring; and

c. That there is a strong probability that the proposed use of the data would in fact accomplish the stated purpose(s).

3. Requires the information recipient to:

a. Establish administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to prevent unauthorized use of disclosure of the record; and

b. Remove or destroy at the earliest time all patient-identifiable information.

4. Determines that the data are valid and reliable.

III. Proposed Routine Use Disclosures of Data in the System

A. Entities Who May Receive Disclosures Under Routine Use

These routine uses specify circumstances, in addition to those provided by statute in the Privacy Act of 1974, under which CMS may release information from the IRIS without the consent of the individual to whom such information pertains. Each proposed disclosure of information under these routine uses will be evaluated to ensure that the disclosure is legally permissible, including but not limited to ensuring that the purpose of the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the information was collected. We are proposing to establish or modify the following routine use disclosures of information maintained in the system:

1. To support agency contractors, consultants, or grantees, who have been engaged by the agency to assist in the performance of a service related to this collection and who need to have access to the records in order to perform the activity.

We contemplate disclosing information under this routine use only in situations in which CMS may enter into a contractual or similar agreement with a third party to assist in accomplishing CMS function relating to purposes for this system.

CMS occasionally contracts out certain of its functions when doing so would contribute to effective and efficient operations. CMS must be able to give a contractor, consultant or grantee whatever information is necessary for the contractor or consultant to fulfill its duties. In these situations, safeguards are provided in the contract prohibiting the contractor, consultant or grantee from using or disclosing the information for any purpose other than that described in the contract and requires the contractor, consultant or grantee to return or destroy all information at the completion of the contract.

2. To another Federal or state agency, agency of a state government, an agency established by state law, or its fiscal agent:

a. To contribute to the accuracy of CMS' proper payment of Medicare benefits,

b. To enable such agency to administer a Federal health benefits program, or as necessary to enable such agency to fulfill a requirement of a Federal statute or regulation that implements a health benefits program funded in whole or in part with federal funds.

Other Federal or state agencies in their administration of a Federal health program may require IRIS information in order to support evaluations and monitoring of reimbursement for services provided.

SSA may require IRIS data to enable it to assist in the implementation and maintenance of the Medicare program.

State licensing boards may require IRIS data to enable them to assist in the review of activities related to IRs in their state.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and Congressional Budget Office may require IRIS data to assist in certain budgetary and planning activities related to IR status.

3. To providers and suppliers of services (and their authorized billing agents) directly or dealing through fiscal intermediaries or carriers, for administration of provisions of Title XVIII of the Social Security Act.

We contemplate disclosing information under this routine use only in situations in which CMS may enter into a contractual agreement with providers and suppliers of services to assist in accomplishing CMS functions relating to purposes for this SOR.

4. To third-party contacts where necessary to establish or verify information provided on or by IR.

We contemplate disclosing information under this routine use only in situations in which CMS may enter into a contractual or similar agreement with a third party to assist in accomplishing CMS functions relating to purposes for this system of records.

5. To the Department of Justice (DOJ), court or adjudicatory body when:

a. The agency or any component thereof, or

b. Any employee of the agency in his or her official capacity, or

c. Any employee of the agency in his or her individual capacity where the DOJ has agreed to represent the employee, or

d. The United States Government

Is a party to litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and by careful review, CMS determines that the records are both relevant and necessary to the litigation and that the use of such records by the DOJ, court or adjudicatory body is compatible with the purpose for which the agency collected the records.

Whenever CMS is involved in litigation, or occasionally when another party is involved in litigation and CMS' policies or operations could be affected by the outcome of the litigation, CMS would be able to disclose information to the DOJ, court or adjudicatory body involved.

6. To a CMS contractor (including, but not limited to FIs and carriers) that assists in the administration of a CMS-administered health benefits program, or to a grantee of a CMS-administered grant program, when disclosure is deemed reasonably necessary by CMS to prevent, deter, discover, detect, investigate, examine, prosecute, sue with respect to, defend against, correct, remedy, or otherwise combat fraud, waste, or abuse in such program.

We contemplate disclosing information under this routine use only in situations in which CMS may enter into a contract or grant with a third party to assist in accomplishing CMS functions relating to the purpose of combating fraud, waste, and abuse.

CMS occasionally contracts out certain of its functions when doing so Start Printed Page 69694would contribute to effective and efficient operations. CMS must be able to give a contractor or grantee whatever information is necessary for the contractor or grantee to fulfill its duties. In these situations, safeguards are provided in the contract prohibiting the contractor or grantee from using or disclosing the information for any purpose other than that described in the contract and requiring the contractor or grantee to return or destroy all information.

7. To another Federal agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States (including any state or local governmental agency), that administers, or that has the authority to investigate potential fraud or abuse in a health benefits program funded in whole or in part by Federal funds, when disclosure is deemed reasonably necessary by CMS to prevent, deter, discover, detect, investigate, examine, prosecute, sue with respect to, defend against, correct, remedy, or otherwise combat fraud, waste, or abuse in such programs.

Other agencies may require IRIS information for the purpose of combating fraud, waste, and abuse in such Federally funded programs.

IV. Safeguards

CMS has safeguards in place for authorized users and monitors such users to ensure against excessive or unauthorized use. Personnel having access to the system have been trained in the Privacy Act and information security requirements. Employees who maintain records in this system are instructed not to release data until the intended recipient agrees to implement appropriate management, operational and technical safeguards sufficient to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information and information systems and to prevent unauthorized access.

This system will conform to all applicable Federal laws and regulations and Federal, HHS, and CMS policies and standards as they relate to information security and data privacy. These laws and regulations may apply but are not limited to: the Privacy Act of 1974; the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002; the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996; the E-Government Act of 2002, the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996; the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, and the corresponding implementing regulations. OMB Circular A-130, Management of Federal Resources, Appendix III, Security of Federal Automated Information Resources also applies. Federal, HHS, and CMS policies and standards include but are not limited to: all pertinent National Institute of Standards and Technology publications; the HHS Information Systems Program Handbook and the CMS Information Security Handbook.

V. Effects of the Modified or Altered System of Records on Individual Rights

CMS proposes to modify this system in accordance with the principles and requirements of the Privacy Act and will collect, use, and disseminate information only as prescribed therein. Data in this system will be subject to the authorized releases in accordance with the routine uses identified in this system of records.

CMS will take precautionary measures to minimize the risks of unauthorized access to the records and the potential harm to individual privacy or other personal or property rights of patients whose data are maintained in the system. CMS will collect only that information necessary to perform the system's functions. In addition, CMS will make disclosure from the proposed system only with consent of the subject individual, or his/her legal representative, or in accordance with an applicable exception provision of the Privacy Act. CMS, therefore, does not anticipate an unfavorable effect on individual privacy as a result of information relating to individuals.

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Dated: November 28, 2007.

Charlene Frizzera,

Chief Operating Officer, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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SYSTEM NO. 09-70-0524

SYSTEM NAME:

“Intern and Resident Information System (IRIS), HHS/CMS/OFM”

SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

Level Three Privacy Act Sensitive Data

SYSTEM LOCATION:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Data Center, 7500 Security Boulevard, North Building, First Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850 and South Building, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.

CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

Interns and residents (IR) in medical residency programs approved under 42 CFR § 413.75, working in all areas of the hospital complex, or other freestanding providers, as well as non-hospital or non-provider settings on or after July 1, 1985.

CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

The system includes the following information for each IR: name, social security number; name of medical, osteopathic, dental, or podiatric school graduated from and date of graduation, type of residency program for the medical specialty, number of years completed in all types of residency programs, foreign medical school graduation date and certification date, name of employer (e.g., hospital, university, corporation) paying the salary, the percentage of time spent working in either the inpatient areas of the hospital subject to the Prospective Payment System or in the outpatient areas of the hospital or in a non-hospital setting under agreement with the hospital for indirect medical education (IME), the percentage of time spent working in any area of the hospital complex or in a non-provider setting under agreement with the hospital for graduate medical education (GME), the start and end dates assigned to the hospital and any hospital-based providers (assignment periods) during the hospital's cost reporting period, the start and end dates assigned to any non-hospital or non-provider setting in connection with approved residency programs (assignment periods) during the hospital's cost reporting period, and the full-time or part-time percentage during each assignment period.

AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

Authority for maintenance of the system is given under the provisions of §§ 1886(d)(5)(B) and 1886(h) of the Social Security Act (Title 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) §§ 1395ww(d)(5)(B) and 1395ww (h)).

PURPOSE(S) OF THE SYSTEM:

The primary purpose of the SOR is to ensure that no interns and residents (IRs) are counted by the Medicare program as more than one full-time equivalent (FTE) employee in the calculation of payments for the costs of direct graduate medical education (GME) and indirect medical education (IME). Information retrieved from this SOR will also be disclosed to: (1) Support regulatory, reimbursement, and policy functions performed within the Agency or by a contractor or consultant, (2) assist another Federal and/or state agency, agency of a state government, an agency established by state law, or its fiscal agent, (3) support providers and suppliers of services, (4) assist third-party contacts where necessary to establish or verify information, (5) Start Printed Page 69695support litigation involving the Agency, and (6) combat fraud, waste, and abuse in certain health benefits programs.

ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OR USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

A. Entities Who May Receive Disclosures Under Routine Use

These routine uses specify circumstances, in addition to those provided by statute in the Privacy Act of 1974, under which CMS may release information from the IRIS without the consent of the individual to whom such information pertains. Each proposed disclosure of information under these routine uses will be evaluated to ensure that the disclosure is legally permissible, including but not limited to ensuring that the purpose of the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the information was collected. We are proposing to establish or modify the following routine use disclosures of information maintained in the system:

1. To support agency contractors, consultants, or grantees, who have been engaged by the agency to assist in the performance of a service related to this collection and who need to have access to the records in order to perform the activity.

2. To another Federal or state agency, agency of a state government, an agency established by state law, or its fiscal agent:

a. To contribute to the accuracy of CMS' proper payment of Medicare benefits,

b. To enable such agency to administer a Federal health benefits program, or as necessary to enable such agency to fulfill a requirement of a Federal statute or regulation that implements a health benefits program funded in whole or in part with federal funds.

3. To providers and suppliers of services (and their authorized billing agents) directly or dealing through fiscal intermediaries or carriers, for administration of provisions of Title XVIII of the Social Security Act.

4. To third-party contacts where necessary to establish or verify information provided on or by IR.

5. To the Department of Justice (DOJ), court or adjudicatory body when:

a. The agency or any component thereof, or

b. Any employee of the agency in his or her official capacity, or

c. Any employee of the agency in his or her individual capacity where the DOJ has agreed to represent the employee, or

d. The United States Government

Is a party to litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and by careful review, CMS determines that the records are both relevant and necessary to the litigation and that the use of such records by the DOJ, court or adjudicatory body is compatible with the purpose for which the agency collected the records.

6. To a CMS contractor (including, but not limited to FIs and carriers) that assists in the administration of a CMS-administered health benefits program, or to a grantee of a CMS-administered grant program, when disclosure is deemed reasonably necessary by CMS to prevent, deter, discover, detect, investigate, examine, prosecute, sue with respect to, defend against, correct, remedy, or otherwise combat fraud, waste, or abuse in such program.

7. To another Federal agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States (including any state or local governmental agency), that administers, or that has the authority to investigate potential fraud or abuse in a health benefits program funded in whole or in part by Federal funds, when disclosure is deemed reasonably necessary by CMS to prevent, deter, discover, detect, investigate, examine, prosecute, sue with respect to, defend against, correct, remedy, or otherwise combat fraud, waste, or abuse in such programs.

POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, RETAINING, AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

STORAGE:

All records are stored on paper and magnetic disk.

RETRIEVABILITY:

Magnetic media records are retrieved by the name of the employees or other authorized individual and/or card key number. Paper records are retrieved alphabetically by name.

SAFEGUARDS:

CMS has safeguards in place for authorized users and monitors such users to ensure against excessive or unauthorized use. Personnel having access to the system have been trained in the Privacy Act and information security requirements. Employees who maintain records in this system are instructed not to release data until the intended recipient agrees to implement appropriate management, operational and technical safeguards sufficient to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information and information systems and to prevent unauthorized access.

This system will conform to all applicable Federal laws and regulations and Federal, HHS, and CMS policies and standards as they relate to information security and data privacy. These laws and regulations may apply but are not limited to: the Privacy Act of 1974; the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002; the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996; the E-Government Act of 2002, the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996; the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, and the corresponding implementing regulations. OMB Circular A-130, Management of Federal Resources, Appendix III, Security of Federal Automated Information Resources also applies. Federal, HHS, and CMS policies and standards include but are not limited to: all pertinent National Institute of Standards and Technology publications; the HHS Information Systems Program Handbook and the CMS Information Security Handbook.

RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

Records are maintained in a secure storage area with identifiers. Disposal occurs three years from the last action on the hospital's cost report, and should be coordinated with disposal of the reports.

SYSTEM MANAGER AND ADDRESS:

Director, Division of Provider Audit Operations, Financial Services Group, Office of Financial Management, CMS, 7500 Security Boulevard, C3-14-00, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.

NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

For purpose of access, the subject individual should write to the systems manager who will require the system name, SSN, address, date of birth, sex, and for verification purposes, the subject individual's name (woman's maiden name, if applicable). Furnishing the SSN is voluntary, but it may make searching for a record easier and prevent delay.

RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURE:

For purpose of access, use the same procedures outlined in Notification Procedures above. Requestors should also reasonably specify the record contents being sought. (These procedures are in accordance with Department regulation 45 CFR 5b.5(a)(2).)

CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES:

The subject individual should contact the system manager named above, and reasonably identify the record and specify the information to be contested. Start Printed Page 69696State the corrective action sought and the reasons for the correction with supporting justification. (These procedures are in accordance with Department regulation 45 CFR 5b.7.)

RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

Data for this system is collected from IRIS diskettes/CDs as transmitted by the hospitals.

SYSTEMS EXEMPTED FROM CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE ACT:

None.

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[FR Doc. E7-23877 Filed 12-7-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4120-03-P