BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OF THE
STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 37.36.604 pertaining to financial eligibility criteria
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On June 16, 2022, at 9:00 a.m., the Department of Public Health and Human Services will hold a public hearing via remote conferencing to consider the proposed amendment of the above-stated rule. Interested parties may access the remote conferencing platform in the following ways:
(a) Join Zoom Meeting at: https://mt-gov.zoom.us/j/87388422208?pwd=WnlyS0gxdUJWM21RZXhQY08rZU9oZz09, meeting ID: 873 8842 2208, password 683340; or
(b) Dial by telephone +1 646 558 8656, meeting ID: 873 8842 2208. Find your local number: https://mt-gov.zoom.us/u/kdmOXOP8J4.
2. The Department of Public Health and Human Services will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the Department of Public Health and Human Services no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 2, 2022, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Kassie Thompson, Department of Public Health and Human Services, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 4210, Helena, Montana, 59604-4210; telephone (406) 444-4094; fax (406) 444-9744; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. The rule as proposed to be amended provides as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
37.36.604 FINANCIAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA (1) Individuals whose annual family income during the 12 months immediately preceding the month of application is less than 250% of the
2021 2022 poverty guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are eligible for a loan of specialized telecommunications equipment based on income. 250% of the HHS 2021 2022 annual poverty guidelines for families of various sizes is specified on the Montana Telecommunications Access Program website, effective on January 13 12, 2021 2022, which rate is adopted and incorporated here by reference. A copy is available at https://dphhs.mt.gov/detd/mtap/nocostassistiveequipment, or may be obtained from the Department of Public Health and Human Services, Montana Telecommunications Access Program (MTAP), P.O. Box 4210, Helena MT 59604-4210.
(2) There is no asset test to be eligible for a loan of specialized telecommunications equipment.
AUTH: 53-19-305, 53-19-307, MCA
IMP: 53-19-305, 53-19-307, MCA
4. STATEMENT OF REASONABLE NECESSITY
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (department) is proposing an amendment to ARM 37.36.604 to align the requirements for the Montana Telecommunications Access Program (MTAP) with the 2022 United States Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Level (FPL) index guidelines.
The following describes the purpose and necessity of the proposed rule amendment pertaining to this rule:
The department is proposing to amend ARM 37.36.604, pertaining to MTAP financial eligibility criteria. This rule sets forth the criteria that allow the department to pay for services being made available to persons who are eligible for MTAP. The rule provides that the payment for services by the department may occur if the consumer's income and financial resources do not exceed maximum levels for income and resources established through the rule.
This rule amendment revises the maximum level of allowable income. Currently the rule provides that the maximum level is 250% of the 2021 United States Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for households. This amendment would update the rule to coincide with 250% of the 2022 FPL.
The rule amendment would revise this level by replacing the year 2021 to indicate that the maximum level for income is 250% of the 2022 United States Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for households, as detailed on the MTAP website or available by contacting MTAP. The updated, detailed income calculations by family size would be posted on the MTAP website, the likeliest place members of the public applying for assistance would look for this information. During the public comment period the proposed rates would be placed on the MTAP website as "proposed," until approved and adopted.
There would be no fiscal impact due to the increase in the FPL. A minimal number of clients that are served by the MTAP exceed the FPL. The majority are well under the FPL. An increase in the FPL would be very minimal and most likely not yield any additional costs to the MTAP program.
The department intends for the proposed amendments to be effective the day after publication.
5. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to: Kassie Thompson, Department of Public Health and Human Services, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 4210, Helena, Montana, 59604-4210; fax (406) 444-9744; or e-mail email@example.com, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., June 24, 2022.
6. The Office of Legal Affairs, Department of Public Health and Human Services, has been designated to preside over and conduct this hearing.
7. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices. Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the contact person in 5 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the department.
8. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.
9. With regard to the requirements of 2-4-111, MCA, the department has determined that the amendment of the above-referenced rule will not significantly and directly impact small businesses.
/s/ Aleea Sharp /s/ Adam Meier
Aleea Sharp Adam Meier, Director
Rule Reviewer Public Health and Human Services
Certified to the Secretary of State May 17, 2022.