Who’s Watching the Watchdogs?
OMB has the explicit duty of ensuring that agencies comply with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act. To facilitate the exercise of this authority, the law prohibits agencies from sponsoring any information collection without OMB’s approval.
CRE has formally brought to OMB’s attention PRA violations with respect to two Information Collection Requests from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concerning the Durable Medical Equipment competitive bidding program.
In the first instance, unquestionable PRA violations included; lack of specificity as to how the data would be used, and lack of any burden estimates for some of reporting and recordkeeping requirements. In the second instance, the survey instruments failed to accurately inform the public as to the purpose of the information collection and would not accomplish the study’s statutorily-mandated purpose, depriving Congress of key information on which to make Medicare-related decisions.
OMB unilaterally approved both requests by CMS without any substantive changes. Why? The first CMS request has gross violations of the PRA, including the most basic–not providing estmates of burden; in the second request, CRE simply asked that a question be inserted which asked the respondents whether they had changed suppliers as a result of the competitive bidding program? Why the denial?
Is it correct to assume that any health care-related ICRs are administratively exempt from the PRA? Fortunately, the DC Court of Appeals’ recent “Prime Time” decision may bring independent scrutiny of attempts to administratively nullify the “good government” laws. Examine the analysis provided to OMB by CRE set forth below. What other information could CRE have provided to OMB? Post your comments by clicking in the upper left hand corner of this post. Also provide your views to the SBA Office of Advocacy firstname.lastname@example.org
CRE will be calling this issue to the attention of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy as: 1) most home medical equipment suppliers are small businesses; and 2) as CRE explained in our comments on the competitive bidding forms, CMS excluded SBA from the ICR process.
See CRE ICR comments on competitive bidding Request for Bid documents
See CRE ICR comments on competitive bidding beneficiary impact study
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