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Rule

Copayments for Medications in 2014

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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:

Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This document adopts as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule amending the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical regulations to freeze the copayments required for certain medications provided by VA until December 31, 2014. Under that rule, the copayment amounts for all veterans were maintained at the same rates as they were in 2013, which were $8 for veterans in priority groups 2-6 and $9 for veterans in priority groups 7 and 8. On January 1, 2015, the copayment amounts may increase based on the prescription drug component of the Medical Consumer Price Index (CPI-P).

DATES:

Effective Date: This rule is effective on May 27, 2014.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kristin Cunningham, Director, Business Policy, Chief Business Office, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 382-2508. (This is not a toll-free number.)

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

An interim final rule amending VA's medical regulations concerning the copayment required for certain medications was published in the Federal Register on December 30, 2013. 78 FR 79315-79317. Interested persons were invited to submit comments to the interim final rule on or before February 28, 2014, and we received no comments. Therefore, based on the rationale set forth in the interim final rule, VA is adopting the interim final rule as a final rule with no changes.

Administrative Procedure Act

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and (d)(3), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs concluded that there was good cause to publish this rule without prior opportunity for public comment and to publish this rule with an immediate effective date. The Secretary found that it was impracticable and contrary to the public interest to delay this rule for the purpose of soliciting advance public comment or to have a delayed effective date. Increasing the copayment amount on January 1, 2014, might have caused a significant financial hardship for some veterans and may have decreased patient adherence to medical plans, resulting in other unpredictable negative health effects. Nevertheless, the Secretary invited public comment on the interim final rule but did not receive any comments.

Effect of Rulemaking

Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as revised by this final rulemaking, represents VA's implementation of its legal authority on this subject. Other than future amendments to this regulation or governing statutes, no contrary guidance or procedures are authorized. All existing or subsequent VA guidance must be read to conform with this rulemaking if possible or, if not possible, such guidance is superseded by this rulemaking.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule contains no provisions constituting a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Secretary hereby certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial Start Printed Page 30044number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. This final rule will temporarily freeze the copayments that certain veterans are required to pay for prescription drugs furnished by VA. This final rule directly affects only individuals and will not directly affect small entities. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this final rule is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) defines a “significant regulatory action,” requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), unless OMB waives such review, as “any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive Order.”

The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this regulatory action have been examined, and it has been determined that it may be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. VA's impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its impact analysis are available on VA's Web site at http://www1.va.gov/​orpm/​, by following the link for “VA Regulations Published.”

Congressional Review Act

This regulatory action may have been considered a major rule under the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801-08, because it may have resulted in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. Although this regulatory action may have constituted a major rule within the meaning of the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 804(2), it was not subject to the 60-day delay in effective date applicable to major rules under 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(3) because the Secretary found that good cause existed under 5 U.S.C. 808(2) to make this regulatory action effective on January 1, 2014, consistent with the reasons given for the publication in the interim final rule. Increasing the copayment amount on January 1, 2014, might have caused a significant financial hardship for some veterans and may have decreased patient adherence to medical plans, and could have had other unpredictable negative health effects. Accordingly, the Secretary found that additional advance notice and public procedure thereon were impractical, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1), VA submitted to the Comptroller General and to Congress a copy of this regulatory action and VA's Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA).

Unfunded Mandates

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. This final rule will have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numbers and titles for the programs affected by this document are as follows: 64.005, Grants to States for Construction of State Home Facilities; 64.007, Blind Rehabilitation Centers; 64.008, Veterans Domiciliary Care; 64.009, Veterans Medical Care Benefits; 64.010, Veterans Nursing Home Care; 64.011, Veterans Dental Care; 64.012, Veterans Prescription Service; 64.013, Veterans Prosthetic Appliances; 64.014, Veterans State Domiciliary Care; 64.015, Veterans State Nursing Home Care; 64.016, Veterans State Hospital Care; 64.018, Sharing Specialized Medical Resources; 64.019, Veterans Rehabilitation Alcohol and Drug Dependence; 64.022, Veterans Home Based Primary Care; and 64.024, VA Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program.

Signing Authority

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jose D. Riojas, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on May 19, 2014, for publication.

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List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 17

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Claims
  • Day care
  • Dental health
  • Drug abuse
  • Foreign relations
  • Government contracts
  • Grant programs—health
  • Grant programs-veterans
  • Health care
  • Health facilities
  • Health professions
  • Health records
  • Homeless
  • Medical and dental schools
  • Medical devices
  • Medical research
  • Mental health programs
  • Nursing homes
  • Philippines
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Scholarships and fellowships
  • Travel and transportation expenses
  • Veterans
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Dated: May 21, 2014.

Janet Coleman,

Acting Chief, Regulations Development, Tracking, and Control.

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PART 17—MEDICAL

Based on the rationale set forth in the interim final rule published in the Federal Register at 78 FR 79315 on December 30, 2013, and in this document, VA is adopting the provisions of the interim final rule as a final rule with no changes.

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[FR Doc. 2014-12092 Filed 5-23-14; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8320-01-P