BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OF THE
STATE OF MONTANA
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On November 14, 2013, the Department of Public Health and Human Services published MAR Notice No. 37-657 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules at page 2050 of the 2013 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 21.
2. The department has amended ARM 37.70.311, 37.70.401, 37.70.402, 37.70.406, 37.70.407, 37.70.408, 37.70.601, and 37.70.901 as proposed.
3. The department has amended the following rule as proposed, but with the following changes from the original proposal, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
37.70.107 REFERRALS TO THE
AUDIT AND PROGRAM COMPLIANCE BUREAU
(1) The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS),
Audit and Program Compliance Bureau has the power and duty to:
(a) through (c) remain as proposed.
(2) Contractors may make reports of possible overpayments or fraud to the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), Intergovernmental Human Services Bureau (IHSB), P.O. Box 202956, Helena, MT 59620-2953. IHSB will review cases
referred prior to referral to the DPHHS, Audit and Program Compliance Bureau.
AUTH: 53-2-201, MCA
IMP: 53-2-201, MCA
4. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:
COMMENT #1: A LIEAP contractor submitted a comment suggesting a change to ARM 37.70.901 regarding emergency assistance. ARM 37.70.901(5)(a) and (b) currently state that a LIEAP contractor must provide assistance within 48 hours after a request for emergency assistance is made in all cases and within 18 hours after a request is made if the emergency is life-threatening. The contractor commented that subsections (5)(a) and (b) should be amended to provide that the 18 or 48 hours should begin to run when the request is received within normal business hours, rather than when the request is made. The contractor stated that contractors should not be held to the 18- or 48-hour timelines if the household requesting assistance leaves a message or sends an e-mail outside normal business hours.
RESPONSE #1: The department will consider making the suggested change in the future but cannot adopt the change at this time. The Notice of Public Hearing on Proposed Amendment did not propose to amend (5)(a) and proposed only that a definition of life-threatening emergency be added to (5)(b); the department did not propose to add language specifying that the time to provide assistance begins to run when a request for assistance is received during normal business hours. Thus, the public has not been given notice of the suggested change, and members of the public have not had an opportunity to express their opinions about it as required by the Montana Administrative Procedure Act at 2-4-302, MCA.
COMMENT #2: A comment was received pointing out that in ARM 37.70.107 the name of the bureau that will receive fraud referrals, instead of the Department of Justice, is incorrect. It is named the Program Compliance Bureau rather than the Audit and Compliance Bureau as stated in the Notice of Public Hearing on Proposed Amendment.
RESPONSE #2: The department agrees and will change the name to the Program Compliance Bureau.
5. The department intends to apply these rules retroactively to October 1, 2013. A retroactive application of the proposed rules does not result in a negative impact to any affected party.
/s/ Barbara B. Hoffmann /s/ Robert Runkel for
Barbara B. Hoffmann Richard H. Opper, Director
Rule Reviewer Public Health and Human Services
Certified to the Secretary of State January 6, 2014