The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its medical regulations to establish standards for VA clinical laboratories. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established standards for the staffing, management, procedures, and oversight of clinical laboratories that perform testing used for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of any disease or impairment of, or health assessment of, human beings. VA is required, in consultation with HHS, to establish standards equal to those applicable to other clinical laboratories. As a matter of policy and practice VA has applied HHS standards to its VA laboratory operations, and this proposed rule would formalize this practice. The proposed rule would establish quality standards for laboratory testing performed on specimens from humans, such as blood, body fluid and tissue, for the purpose of diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of disease, or assessment of health. Specifically, it would address how VA applies regulations as the controlling standards for VA medical facility laboratories.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adopts as final, with no changes, a proposed rule amending the definition of domiciliary care to encompass VA’s Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (MH RRTP). This rule aligns regulations with VA’s administrative decision in 2005 to designate MH RRTP as a type of domiciliary care. We also proposed clarifying that domiciliary care provides temporary, not permanent, residence to affected veterans. We provided a 60-day comment period on this proposed rule and received 4 comments, all of which were generally supportive of the proposed changes. We make no changes based on public comments and adopt the proposed rule as final.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its regulations governing veterans’ eligibility for VA pensions and other needs-based benefit programs. The amended regulations establish new requirements for evaluating net worth and asset transfers for pensions and identify which medical expenses may be deducted from countable income for VA’s needs-based benefit programs. The amendments help to ensure the integrity of VA’s needs-based benefit programs and the consistent adjudication of pension and parents’ dependency and indemnity compensation claims. Lastly, the amendments effectuate: Statutory changes for pension beneficiaries who receive Medicaid-covered nursing home care; a statutory income exclusion for disabled veterans; and longstanding statutory income exclusions for all VA needs-based benefits.
This final rule amends the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regulation governing persons who may receive VA burial benefits on behalf of a deceased veteran. As amended, the regulation reflects VA’s current policy of paying an automatic burial benefit to surviving spouses who were not established in VA systems as a veteran’s spouse at the time of the veteran’s death. The intended effect of this amendment is to ensure that a veteran’s surviving spouse receives burial benefits to which he or she is entitled at the earliest possible time.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is proposing to amend its claims adjudication, appeals, and Rules of Practice of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) regulations. In addition, VA proposes to revise its regulations with respect to accreditation of attorneys, agents, and Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representatives; the standards of conduct for persons practicing before VA; and the rules governing fees for representation. This rulemaking is needed to implement the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act. That law amended the procedures applicable to administrative review and appeal of VA decisions denying claims for benefits, creating a new, modernized review system. Unless otherwise specified, VA intends to make the proposed regulatory changes applicable to claims processed under the new review system, which generally applies where an initial VA decision on a claim is provided on or after the effective date or where a claimant has elected to opt into the new review system under established procedures.
On August 12, 2016, VA published in the Federal Register the proposed rule for Schedule for Rating Disabilities: Skin. VA received multiple responses during the 60-day comment period. This final rule implements the Secretary’s proposed rule with limited revisions.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its fiduciary program regulations, which govern the oversight of beneficiaries, who because of injury, disease, or age, are unable to manage their VA benefits, and the appointment and oversight of fiduciaries for these vulnerable beneficiaries. The amendments will update and reorganize regulations consistent with current law, VA policies and procedures, and VA’s reorganization of its fiduciary activities. They will also clarify the rights of beneficiaries in the program, and the roles of VA and fiduciaries in ensuring that VA benefits are managed in the best interest of beneficiaries and their dependents. The amendments to this rulemaking are mostly mandatory to comply with the law. They are also in line with the law’s goals to streamline and modernize the fiduciary program and process. These amendments by Congress, reduce unnecessary regulations, streamline and modernize processes, and improve services for Veterans. Furthermore, VA is unable to alter proposed amendments that directly implement mandatory statutory provisions.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is amending its medical regulations to clarify that VA will not bill third party payers for care and services provided by VA under certain statutory provisions, which we refer to as “special treatment authorities.” These special treatment authorities direct VA to provide care and services to veterans based upon discrete exposures or experiences that occurred during active military, naval, or air service. VA is authorized, but not required by law, to recover or collect charges for care and services provided to veterans for non-service-connected disabilities. This rule establishes that VA will not exercise its authority to recover or collect reasonable charges from third party payers for care and services provided under the special treatment authorities.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adopts as final, with no changes, a proposed rule amending its medical regulations related to hospital care and medical services in foreign countries. We simplified and clarified the scope of these regulations, address medical services provided to eligible veterans in the Republic of the Philippines, and removed provisions related to grants to the Republic of the Philippines that are no longer supported by statutory authority. VA also amends its medical regulations related to filing claims for reimbursement of medical expenses incurred for VA care not previously authorized. We provided a 60-day period to receive comments from the public on the proposed changes, and received no comments. VA adopts the proposed rule as final, with no changes.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adopts as final, with no change, an interim final rule revising its medical regulations that implement section 101 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, as amended, (hereafter referred to as “the Choice Act”), which requires VA to establish a program (hereafter referred to as the “Veterans Choice Program” or the “Program”) to furnish hospital care and medical services through eligible non-VA health care providers to eligible veterans who either cannot be seen within the wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) or who qualify based on their place of residence or face an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to a VA medical facility. Those revisions contained in the interim final rule, which is now adopted as final, were required by amendments to the Choice Act made by the Construction Authorization and Choice Improvement Act of 2014, and by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. VA published an interim final rule on December 1, 2015, implementing those regulatory revisions, and we received seven public comments. This final rule responds to those public comments and does not make any further regulatory revisions.