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Request for Information: To Provide Comprehensive Advice To Assist the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) With Developing Policy Regarding Safety and Quality Standards for Providers of Modification Services Under the Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) Program

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Request for Information: To Provide Comprehensive Advice To Assist the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) With Developing Policy Regarding Safety and Quality Standards for Providers of Modification Services Under the Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) Program

Jeffrey Martin
Department of Veterans Affairs
2 February 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 21 (Thursday, February 2, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9114-9116]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-02173]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS


Request for Information: To Provide Comprehensive Advice To 
Assist the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) With Developing Policy 
Regarding Safety and Quality Standards for Providers of Modification 
Services Under the Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) Program

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Notice of request for information.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The VA is requesting information to assist in implementing 
section 3 of the Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2016 (H.R. 3471, 
hereafter referred to as ``the Act''), which requires VA to develop a 
comprehensive policy regarding quality standards for

[[Page 9115]]

automobile adaptive modification services provided to eligible Veterans 
and Servicemembers under VA's AAE program. This notice requests 
information and comments from interested parties to help inform VA's 
development of this policy, to include specific questions for comment 
with regard to safety and quality standards for AAE and installation, 
installer or provider certification by a third party organization or 
manufacturer, education and training of VA personnel, installer or 
provider compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 
and permitting eligible Veterans and Servicemembers to receive 
automobile adaptive modifications at their residence or location of 
choice.

DATES: Comments in response to this request for information must be 
received by VA on or before February 17, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted through http://www.Regulations.gov; by mail or hand delivery to the Director, 
Regulations Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 
Vermont Avenue NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to 202-
273-9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response 
to ``Request for Information: To provide comprehensive advice to assist 
the Department of Veterans Affairs with developing policy regarding 
safety and quality standards for providers of modification services 
under the automobile adaptive equipment program.'' Copies of comments 
received will be available for public inspection in the Office of 
Regulation Policy and Management, Room 1063B, between the hours of 8:00 
a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays). Please 
call (202) 461-4902 (this is not a toll-free number) for an 
appointment. During the comment period, comments may also be viewed 
online through the Federal Docket Management System at 
www.Regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shayla Mitchell, Ph.D., MS, CRC, 
Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services (10P4R), Veterans Health 
Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461-0366 or (202) 461-0389 (this is not a 
toll-free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 3 of the Act requires VA to develop 
a comprehensive policy regarding quality standards for automobile 
adaptive modification services provided to eligible Veterans and 
Servicemembers under VA's AAE program. In accordance with section 3(b) 
of the Act, the scope of this policy shall cover VA's management of its 
AAE program, the development of safety and quality standards for AAE 
and installation, provider certification by a third party organization 
or manufacturer, education and training of VA personnel, provider 
compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and 
permitting eligible Veterans and Servicemembers to receive automobile 
adaptive modifications at their residence or location of choice. To 
comply with section 3(e) of the Act, VA must develop this policy in 
consultation with Veterans Service Organizations; the National Highway 
Transportation Administration, industry representatives; manufacturers 
of AAE; and other entities with expertise in installing, repairing, 
replacing, or manufacturing mobility equipment, or developing mobility 
accreditation standards for AAE. This notice and request for 
information serves as the means for VA to consult with these groups and 
entities. VA will use comments it receives to determine the best 
approach to developing a program that will meet the requirements in 
section 3(b) of the Act. VA will then draft and submit a proposed rule 
for public comment, and the resulting final rule and promulgated 
regulation will establish the policy required under section (3)(a) of 
the Act. Although section (3)(a) of the Act uses the term ``policy,'' 
VA contends that a regulation is required to establish the program 
required by section (3)(a) of the Act because of the effect this will 
have on VA's administration of AAE benefits. In order to publish a 
final rule that is effective prior to the 1-year deadline established 
in section 3(d)(1) of the Act, VA must expedite this consultation which 
will be foundational to the regulatory development process. Hence, this 
notice and request for information has a comment period of only 15 days 
in which groups and entities may reply to the questions presented in 
the next section below. VA believes that 15 days is sufficient to 
provide comments, as the groups and entities with expertise in 
installing, repairing, replacing, or manufacturing mobility equipment 
or developing mobility accreditation standards for AAE will likely have 
the information readily available, or can quickly compile and submit 
such information.
    This notice is a request for information only. This does not 
constitute a Request for Proposal, applications, proposal abstracts, or 
quotations, and VA will not accept unsolicited proposals. Commenters 
are encouraged to provide complete but concise responses to the 
questions outlined below. Please note that VA will not respond to 
comments or other questions regarding policy plans, decisions, or 
issues with regard to this notice. VA may choose to contact individual 
commenters, and such communications would only serve to further clarify 
their written comments.

Request for Information

    VA requests information that will assist in developing the program 
required by section (3)(a) of the Act. This includes information about 
VA's management of its AAE program, the development of safety and 
quality standards for AAE and installation, education and training of 
VA personnel, provider certification by a third party organization or 
manufacturer, provider compliance with the Americans with Disabilities 
Act of 1990, and permitting eligible Veterans and Servicemembers to 
receive automobile adaptive modifications at their residence or 
location of choice. Specifically, VA requests information related to 
the questions below:
    1. How should VA define safety and quality standards for its AAE 
program?
    a. Do such Federal government standards related to AAE safety and 
quality exist that VA can use or adopt? If so, what are those 
standards?
    b. Do other government standards (e.g., state, local) related to 
AAE safety and quality exist that VA can use or adopt? If so, what are 
those standards?
    c. Do industry standards related to AAE safety and quality (as 
referenced above) exist that VA can use or adopt?
    i. If so, what are those standards?
    ii. Have such standards been tested for validity and reliability?
    iii. What test(s) of validity and reliability were used to 
establish those standards?
    2. What criteria should VA use to monitor and assess AAE safety and 
quality, and how should VA enforce compliance or address non-compliance 
with these criteria? For example:
    a. Are there industry standards or checklists that are available 
for quality and safety inspections? If so, please provide.
    b. How do other entities (e.g., other Federal government agencies, 
for-profit, non-profit/not-for-profit entities, third party certifiers, 
other countries) monitor and enforce compliance with AAE safety and 
quality measures?
    c. Should VA require all modifiers to comply with Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standards, provide proof of insurance, provide 24-hour 
towing/emergency services, and provide

[[Page 9116]]

warranties on all AAE items and installation?
    3. How often should VA assess the safety and quality standards 
referenced above?
    4. How should VA define and differentiate levels of modification 
complexity for AAE installations?
    a. How does complexity level impact adherence to the safety and 
quality standards referenced above?
    5. What type(s) of certifications, licensure (to include state 
licensure), etc., should VA require from AAE modifiers?
    6. What role or responsibility should beneficiaries of VA's AAE 
program have when there is a safety or quality concern with equipment 
or modifications provided under VA's AAE program?
    7. What type of education or training should be required for VA 
personnel to be able to determine compliance and consistent application 
of standard for safety and quality for both AAE equipment and 
installation?
    8. Are there suggestions of safety organizations (e.g., non-profit, 
not-for-profit, private, international) that can assist VA in 
developing safety and quality standards for its AAE program? Examples 
of such organizations VA is aware of include: Society for Automobile 
Engineers, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, National 
Sanitation Foundation International, International Organization for 
Standardization, Automotive Safety Council, National Safety Council, 
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North 
America, Department of Transportation, Consumer Product Safety 
Commission, Department of Health and Human Services, National Highway 
Traffic and Safety Administration, and National Mobility and Equipment 
Dealers Association.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This request for information constitutes a general solicitation of 
public comments as stated in the implementing regulations of the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 at 5 CFR 1320.3(h)(4). Therefore, this 
request for information does not impose information collection 
requirements (i.e., reporting, recordkeeping or third-party disclosure 
requirements). Consequently, there is no need for review by the Office 
of Management and Budget under the authority of the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

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. Gina S. 
Farrisee, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, 
approved this document on January 27, 2017, for publication.

    Dated: January 27, 2017.
Jeffrey Martin,
Office Program Manager, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, 
Office of the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2017-02173 Filed 2-1-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 8320-01-P

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