[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 241 (Monday, December 16, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 76064]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29312]



[[Page 76064]]

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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

38 CFR Part 17

RIN 2900-AO47


Authorization for Non-VA Medical Services; Withdrawal

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Withdrawal of direct final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a direct 
final rule in the Federal Register on November 28, 2012, that would 
have amended its regulations regarding payment by VA for medical 
services under VA's statutory authority to provide non-VA medical care. 
VA sought to remove an outdated regulatory limitation on veterans' 
eligibility to be referred for non-VA medical care. On the same date, 
VA also published a companion proposed rule containing the same 
amendments as the direct final rule. Because VA received adverse 
comments on this action, we are withdrawing the direct final rule. In a 
companion document in the Federal Register, VA is publishing a final 
rule that addresses comments received on the proposed and direct final 
rules.

DATES: The direct final rule published on November 28, 2013 (77 FR 
70893), is withdrawn as of December 16, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Brown, Chief, Policy Management 
Department, Department of Veterans Affairs, Chief Business Office, 
Purchased Care, 3773 Cherry Creek North Drive, Suite 450, Denver, CO 
80209 at (303) 331-7829. This is not a toll-free number.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a direct final rule published in the 
Federal Register on November 28, 2012, 77 FR 70893, VA would have 
amended its regulations authorizing non-VA medical care effective 
January 28, 2013. Under the non-VA medical care authority in 38 U.S.C. 
1703, VA may provide certain hospital care (inpatient care) and medical 
services (outpatient care) for eligible veterans when VA facilities are 
not capable of providing necessary treatment due to geographical 
inaccessibility or are not capable of providing the services needed. 
The direct final rule would have revised VA's existing regulation, at 
38 CFR 17.52(a)(2)(ii), to remove a limitation that barred VA from 
authorizing non-VA medical services for certain veterans who had not 
previously been furnished VA hospital care. Without this revision, 
these veterans were eligible for non-VA medical services under Sec.  
17.52(a)(2)(ii) to complete treatment of a nonservice-connected 
disability only if they had received VA hospital care for that 
disability.
    VA published a companion proposed rule on the same date, at 77 FR 
70967, proposing the same amendments as the direct final rule. The 
direct final rule and proposed rule each provided a 30-day comment 
period that ended on December 28, 2012. VA received comments on the 
proposed rule and direct final rule, including some adverse comments. 
VA is therefore withdrawing the direct final rule, ``Authorization for 
Non-VA Medical Services,'' RIN 2900-AO47, which did not become 
effective on January 28, 2013 because VA received adverse comments on 
the proposed rule and direct final rule during the 30-day comment 
period. VA is publishing a final rulemaking, ``Authorization for Non-VA 
Medical Services,'' RIN 2900-AO46, in this issue of the Federal 
Register that addresses comments received on both the direct final rule 
and the proposed rule. These actions are consistent with the procedures 
stated in the direct final rule and the proposed rule.

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 November 6, 2013 for publication.

    Dated: December 4, 2013.
Robert C. McFetridge,
Director, Regulation Policy and Management, Office of the General 
Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2013-29312 Filed 12-13-13; 8:45 am]
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