Revisions to Procedures for the Departmental Appeals Board and Other Departmental Hearings
The Department of Health and Human Services (Department) proposes to amend Departmental regulations governing administrative review by the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB) and certain other administrative review regulations to ensure that the final administrative decision of the Department reflects the considered opinion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary). Current regulations at 45 CFR Part 16 governing the review of grant disputes do not specifically require the DAB to follow published guidance issued by the Secretary or a Departmental component. The DAB decision is currently the final administrative decision of the Department on such disputes and currently there is no Secretarial review of this final decision. Similarly, the DAB currently provides the final agency review of the imposition of civil monetary penalties (CMPs) for which administrative appeal is available under 45 CFR Part 160, Subpart E, enforcement sanctions under 42 CFR Part 422 and 423, determinations subject to reconsideration and appeal under 42 CFR Part 498 and the imposition by the Inspector General of the Department (I.G.) or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of exclusions, CMPs and assessments subject to appeal under 42 CFR Part 1005. As in 45 CFR Part 16, the decisions of the DAB under these processes are considered the final agency action on matters, though they are not subject to Secretarial review. This proposed rule would amend DAB regulations to require that the DAB follow published guidance that is not inconsistent with applicable statutes and regulations and would permit the Secretary an opportunity to review DAB decisions to correct errors in the application of law, or deviations from published guidance, in such disputes. This proposed rule would make technical changes to the regulations at 45 CFR Part 16. This proposed rule would also amend hearing and appeal procedures at 45 CFR Part 160, Subpart E and at 42 CFR Parts 422, 423 and 498 to include a parallel statement regarding the treatment of published guidance. Similarly, this proposed rule would amend the procedures at 45 CFR Part 81 to provide a similar statement regarding the treatment of published guidance by hearing examiners and reviewing authorities. In addition, this proposed rule would amend the hearing and appeal procedures at 45 CFR Part 160, Subpart E and 42 CFR Parts 422, 423, 498 and 1005 to provide a parallel opportunity for Secretarial review of DAB decisions. Finally, this proposed rule would revise the procedures for Head Start grantee appeals by applying the current 60-day time limit for ``final decisions'' to the Board's decision.