After reviewing the initial draft analysis of the medical transfer and beneficiary lease provisions, the Council approved a preliminary preferred alternative for each issue and added an option to the medical transfer provision. The final Council motion, including all amendments, is available here.
Preliminary preferred alternatives selected for the medical transfer provision would replace the current definition of a certified medical professional with a broader term, “health care provider”. This approach is used by the Pacific Council for medical leases in their limited entry fixed gear sablefish primary fishery. A health care provider would be defined as an individual authorized to provide health care services in the State where he or she practices and preforms within the scope of their specialty. Health care providers outside the U.S. that are licensed to practice medicine are included in the definition.
The Council’s preliminary preferred alternative defining the use of the medical transfer provision would revise federal regulations to allow the medical transfer provision to be used for any medical reason. This would modify the regulations that currently state that the medical transfer provision may be used in 2 of the 5 most recent years for the same medical condition. That change is more restrictive since it would not allow an individual to use the medical transfer provision repeatedly by having a medical professional attest to different medical conditions on the medical transfer form. The Council did not select a preliminary preferred alternative for the number of years the medical transfer could be used during a defined number of years. It is still considering 2 of 5 years and 3 of 7 years as the number of time the provision could be used. The Council did not include a lifetime limit on the number of years an individual could use the medical transfer provision as part of their preliminary preferred alternative.
An option (Alternative 2, Option 3) was added to the analysis that allows for additional use of the medical transfer provision, but would place limits on the amount of IFQ that could be leased some years. The option allows a QS holder to lease their IFQ up to 4 times during a 7-year period, but the third and fourth time the lease is used, during the 7-year period, only 80% and 60% of the IFQ issued to the QS holder could be transferred, respectively.
The Council’s preliminary preferred alternative for the beneficiary transfer provision would include “estate” when referencing surviving spouse and immediate family member at 50 CFR 679.41(k). The Council’s motion also identified the U.S. Office of Personnel Management definition of “immediate family member” as its preliminary preferred alternative to define that term. Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.