[Federal Register: June 28, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 123)]
[Page 36089]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 36089]]



Office of the Secretary

[Docket No. 2004S-0270]

Notice Announcing Publication of Report to Congress Entitled 
``Plan for the Transfer of Responsibility for Medicare Appeals'' and 
Soliciting Comments

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice announces the publication of a Report to Congress 
entitled ``Plan for the Transfer of Responsibility for Medicare 
Appeals'', and solicits public comments.

DATES: Comments need to be submitted by July 28, 2004.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identifying them as having 
reference to Docket No. 2004S-0270, in any of the following ways:
     By E-mail: please include the above-cited docket number in 
the subject line of your message, and send the comments to 
fdadockets@oc.fda.gov. (Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is 

currently providing a repository for comments on documents issued by 
the Office of the Secretary).
     Through the U.S. Postal Service: send written comments to:
    Food and Drug Administration, Division of Dockets Management, 5630 
Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville MD 20852-20201.
    Please allow sufficient time for mailed comments to be received 
timely in the event of delivery delays. Because of staff and resource 
limitations, we cannot accept faxed comments. All comments received 
will be electronically posted without change to: http//http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments
, including any personal information provided. Paper 

copies may be viewed at the Division of Dockets Management at the 
above-cited address.

(202) 690-7431.


I. Background

    On December 8, 2003, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, 
and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) (Pub.L. 108-173) was enacted. 
Section 931 of the MMA requires transfer of responsibility for the 
Medicare appeals function from the Social Security Administration (SSA) 
to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) not earlier than 
July 1, 2005 and not later than October 1, 2005.
    Also pursuant to section 931 of the MMA, the Commissioner of SSA 
and the Secretary of HHS were required to develop and transmit to the 
Congress and the Comptroller General of the United States a plan for 
the transfer of responsibility for this function, not later than April 
1, 2004. Under section 931 of the MMA, the plan was required to 
address: the workload of the administrative law judges (ALJs), cost 
projections and financing, a timetable for the transition, the 
feasibility of giving certain decisions of the Departmental Appeals 
Board (DAB) precedential authority, access to ALJs, independence of 
ALJs, geographic distribution of ALJs, hiring of ALJs and support 
staff, appropriateness of establishing performance standards for ALJs, 
arrangements for shared resources with SSA, and training of ALJs. 
Consistent with this requirement, on March 25, 2004, the Secretary of 
HHS and the Commissioner of SSA submitted a Report to Congress entitled 
``Plan for the Transfer of Responsibility for Medicare Appeals.''

II. Provisions of the Notice

    The report is published on the HHS Web site and can be viewed at 
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.hhs.gov/medicare/appealsrpt.pdf. We are soliciting comments from 

the public on how we might implement any and all aspects of the plan 
for the transition, as described in the report, and we are particularly 
interested in comments and ideas on how to best serve the public once 
responsibility for the Medicare appeals function is transferred to HHS 
in 2005. Please see the ADDRESSES section of this Notice for 
information about how to submit comments.

    Dated: June 24, 2004.
Ann C. Agnew,
Executive Secretary to the Department.
[FR Doc. 04-14680 Filed 6-25-04; 8:45 am]