The regulations governing the Older Americans Act (OAA) are overseen by the Administration for Community Living (ACL). Prior to the current “public inspection” release on February 6, updates to the regulations had not been made since 1988, though the statute governing the program has been updated by Congress on multiple occasions.
As explained in this August 18 bulletin about the initial rule proposal, LeadingAge submitted comments applauding the administration’s commitment to modernizing the regulatory framework of OAA, though cautioning against provisions that may stifle innovation or cause undue delays or burdens on providers. Of particular concern was language mandating state unit on aging (SUA) approval of commercial agreements and contracts undertaken by area agencies on aging (AAA) regardless of whether the contract was executed for OAA-funded services and programs. We are disappointed to see that a version of this remains in the final rule. ACL contends that both AAAs and SUAs are bound by principles to ensure program integrity and confidence in OAA programs, and uses this argument to impose SUA approval requirements on all contracts and commercial relationships with which a AAA is engaged. ACL stresses that SUAs should develop policies that are streamlined and transparent while assuring that the process is neither burdensome nor time-consuming for AAAs.
LeadingAge will conduct a more thorough analysis in the coming days and update members as appropriate. See the public inspection document here. The formal posting in the Federal Register will be available on February 14.