38 CFR § 17.270 - General provisions and definitions.

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§ 17.270 General provisions and definitions.

(a) Overview of CHAMPVA. CHAMPVA is the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Generally, CHAMPVA furnishes medical care in the same or similar manner, and subject to the same or similar limitations, as medical care furnished to certain dependents and survivors of active duty and retired members of the Armed Forces under chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code (CHAMPUS), commonly referred to as the TRICARE Select plan. Under CHAMPVA, VA shares the cost of medically necessary services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries within the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and abroad. Under CHAMPVA, medical services and supplies may be provided as follows:

(1) By an authorized non-VA provider.

(2) By a VA provider at a VA facility, on a resource-available basis through the CHAMPVA In-house Treatment Initiative (CITI) to CHAMPVA beneficiaries who are not also eligible for Medicare.

(3) Through VA Medications by Mail (MbM).

(i) Only CHAMPVA beneficiaries who do not have any other type of health insurance that pays for prescriptions, including Medicare Part D, may use MbM.

(ii) Smoking cessation pharmaceutical supplies will only be provided through MbM and only to CHAMPVA beneficiaries that are not also eligible for Medicare.

(b) Definitions. The following definitions apply to CHAMPVA (§§ 17.270 through 17.278):

Accepted assignment refers to the action of an authorized non-VA provider who accepts responsibility for the care of a CHAMPVA beneficiary and thereby agrees to accept the CHAMPVA determined allowable amount as full payment for services and supplies rendered to the beneficiary. (The provider's acceptance of the CHAMPVA determined allowable amount extinguishes the beneficiary's payment liability to the provider with the exception of applicable cost-shares and deductibles.)

Authorized non-VA provider means an individual or institutional non-VA provider of CHAMPVA-covered medical services and supplies that meets any of the following criteria:

(i) Is licensed or certified by a state to provide the medical services and supplies; or

(ii) Where a state does not offer licensure or certification, is otherwise certified by an appropriate national or professional association that sets standards for the specific medical provider.

Calendar year means January 1 through December 31.

CHAMPVA beneficiary means a person enrolled under § 17.271.

CHAMPVA-covered services and supplies mean those medical services and supplies that are medically necessary and appropriate for the treatment of a condition and that are not specifically excluded under § 17.272(a)(1) through (84).

CHAMPVA determined allowable amount has the meaning set forth in § 17.272(b)(1).

CHAMPVA In-house Treatment Initiative (CITI) means the initiative under 38 U.S.C. 1781(b) under which participating VA medical facilities provide medical services and supplies to CHAMPVA beneficiaries who are not also eligible for Medicare, subject to availability of space and resources.

Child has the definition established in 38 U.S.C. 101.

Claim means a request by an authorized non-VA provider or by a CHAMPVA beneficiary for payment or reimbursement for medical services and supplies provided to a CHAMPVA beneficiary.

Fiscal year means October 1 through September 30.

Medications by Mail (MbM) means the initiative under which VA provides outpatient prescription medications through the mail to CHAMPVA beneficiaries.

Other health insurance (OHI) means health insurance plans or programs (including Medicare) or third-party coverage that provide coverage to a CHAMPVA beneficiary for expenses incurred for medical services and supplies.

Payer refers to OHI, as defined in this section, that is obligated to pay for CHAMPVA-covered medical services and supplies. In a situation in which, in addition to CHAMPVA, one or more payers is/are responsible to pay for such services and supplies (i.e., a “double coverage” situation), there would be a primary payer (i.e., the payer obligated to pay first), secondary payer (i.e., the payer obligated to pay after the primary payer), etc. In double coverage situations, CHAMPVA would be the last payer.

Service-connected has the definition established in 38 U.S.C. 101.

Spouse refers to a person who is married to a veteran and whose marriage is valid as determined under 38 U.S.C. 103(c).

Surviving spouse refers to a person who was married to and is the widow(er) of a veteran as determined under 38 U.S.C. 103(c).

(c) Discretionary authority. When it is determined to be in the best interest of VA, VA may waive any requirement in §§ 17.270 through 17.278, except any requirement specifically set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1781, or otherwise imposed by statute. Such discretionary authority would be used only under very unusual and limited circumstances and not to deny any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided to him or her by statute or these regulations. Any such waiver will apply only to the individual circumstance or case involved and will in no way be construed to be precedent-setting.

[87 FR 41599, July 13, 2022]