TRICARE; Elimination of Non-Availability Statement and Referral Authorization Requirements and Elimination of Specialized Treatment Services Program
This rule implements Section 735 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (NDAA-02) (Pub. L. 107-107). It also implements Section 728 of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (NDAA-01) (Pub. L. 106-398). Section 735 of NDAA-02 eliminates the requirement for TRICARE Standard beneficiaries who live within a 40-mile radius of a military medical treatment facility (MTF) to obtain a nonavailability statement (NAS) or preauthorization from an MTF before receiving inpatient care (other than mental health services) or maternity care from a civilian provider in order that TRICARE will cost-share for such services. Section 735 of NDAA-02, however, authorizes the Department of Defense to make exceptions to the elimination of the requirement for a NAS through the exercise of a waiver process under certain specified conditions. This section also eliminates the NAS requirement for specialized treatment services (STSs) for TRICARE Standard beneficiaries who live outside the 200-mile radius of a designated STS facility. This rule portrays the Department's decision to eliminate the STS program entirely. Finally, Section 728 of NDAA-01 requires that prior authorization before referral to a specialty care provider that is part of the contractor network be eliminated under any new TRICARE contract.