[Federal Register: February 1, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 20)]
[Page 4935-4938]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part III

Department of Education


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research; Notice

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National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of Proposed Funding Priorities for Fiscal Years 1999-
2000 for a Center and Certain Projects.


SUMMARY: The Secretary proposes funding priorities for one 
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) and two Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs) under the National 
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) for fiscal 
years 1999-2000. The Secretary takes this action to focus research 
attention on areas of national need. These priorities are intended to 
improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with 

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 3, 1999.

ADDRESSES: All comments concerning these proposed priorities should be 
addressed to Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland 
Avenue, SW, room 3418, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2645. 
Comments may also be sent through the Internet: comments@ed.gov
    You must include the term ``NIDRR Center and Projects Proposed 
Priorities'' in the subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 205-
5880. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD) may call the TDD number at (202) 205-9136. Internet: 
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternate format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed in the preceding 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice contains proposed priorities 
under the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers 
Program for one RRTC related to health and wellness for persons with 
long-term disabilities, and two DRRPs related to: health care services 
for persons with disabilities; and medical rehabilitation services for 
persons with disabilities. There are references in the proposed 
priorities to NIDRR's proposed Long-Range Plan (LRP). The proposed LRP 
can be accessed on the World Wide Web at: http://www.ed.gov/
    These proposed priorities support the National Education Goal that 
calls for every adult American to possess the skills necessary to 
compete in a global economy.
    The authority for the Secretary to establish research priorities by 
reserving funds to support particular research activities is contained 
in sections 202(g) and 204 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as 
amended (29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764).
    The Secretary will announce the final priorities in a notice in the 
Federal Register. The final priorities will be determined by responses 
to this notice, available funds, and other considerations of the 
Department. Funding of a particular project depends on the final 
priority, the availability of funds, and the quality of the 
applications received. The publication of these proposed priorities 
does not preclude the Secretary from proposing additional priorities, 
nor does it limit the Secretary to funding only these priorities, 
subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice of proposed priorities does not solicit 
applications. A notice inviting applications under this competition 
will be published in the Federal Register concurrent with or 
following the publication of the notice of final priorities.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    Authority for the RRTC program of NIDRR is contained in section 
204(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 
764(b)(2)). Under this program the Secretary makes awards to public and 
private organizations, including institutions of higher education and 
Indian tribes or tribal organizations for coordinated research and 
training activities. These entities must be of sufficient size, scope, 
and quality to effectively carry out the activities of the Center in an 
efficient manner consistent with appropriate State and Federal laws. 
They must demonstrate the ability to carry out the training activities 
either directly or through another entity that can provide that 
    The Secretary may make awards for up to 60 months through grants or 
cooperative agreements. The purpose of the awards is for planning and 
conducting research, training, demonstrations, and related activities 
leading to the development of methods, procedures, and devices that 
will benefit individuals with disabilities, especially those with the 
most severe disabilities.

Description of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    RRTCs are operated in collaboration with institutions of higher 
education or providers of rehabilitation services or other appropriate 
services. RRTCs serve as centers of national excellence and national or 
regional resources for providers and individuals with disabilities and 
the parents, family members, guardians, advocates or authorized 
representatives of the individuals.
    RRTCs conduct coordinated, integrated, and advanced programs of 
research in rehabilitation targeted toward the production of new 
knowledge to improve rehabilitation methodology and service delivery 
systems, to alleviate or stabilize disabling conditions, and to promote 
maximum social and economic independence of individuals with 
    RRTCs provide training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to assist individuals to more effectively provide 
rehabilitation services. They also provide training including graduate, 
pre-service, and in-service training, for rehabilitation research 
personnel and other rehabilitation personnel.
    RRTCs serve as informational and technical assistance resources to 
providers, individuals with disabilities, and the parents, family 
members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of these 
individuals through conferences, workshops, public education programs, 
in-service training programs and similar activities.
    RRTCs disseminate materials in alternate formats to ensure that 
they are accessible to individuals with a range of disabling 
    NIDRR encourages all Centers to involve individuals with 
disabilities and individuals from minority backgrounds as recipients of 
research training, as well as clinical training.
    The Department is particularly interested in ensuring that the 
expenditure of public funds is justified by the execution of intended 
activities and the advancement of knowledge and, thus, has built this 
accountability into the selection criteria. Not later than three years 
after the establishment of any RRTC, NIDRR will conduct one or more 
reviews of the activities and achievements of the Center. In accordance 
with the provisions of 34 CFR 75.253(a), continued funding depends at 
all times on satisfactory performance and accomplishment.

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    Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) the Secretary proposes to give an 
absolute preference to applications that meet the following priority. 
The Secretary proposes to fund under this competition only applications 
that meet this priority.

Proposed Priority 1: Health and Wellness for Persons With Long-term 


    Chapter Four of NIDRR's proposed LRP (63 FR 57190-57219) focuses on 
maximizing health and function for persons with disabilities. Health 
maintenance for persons with disabilities includes not only access to 
care for routine health problems and appropriate specialty care 
including medical rehabilitation, but also participation in health 
promotion and wellness activities.
    The National Center for Health Statistics defined long-term 
disabilities as ``long-term reduction in activity resulting from 
chronic disease or impairment.'' For the purpose of this priority, 
long-term disabilities include cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, 
post-polio, amputation, and spinal cord injury. This center will assess 
the health maintenance and promotion practices of persons with long-
term disabilities. NIDRR expects this research to clarify whether 
specialized assessment and health promotion activities are required for 
persons with long-term disabilities, and how health promotion 
activities affect the incidence of secondary conditions.
    For the purpose of this priority, health promotion strategies 
include alternative therapies (e.g., therapeutic massage, acupuncture), 
stress management practices, physical exercise, nutrition, and other 
activities designed to promote healthy lifestyle and social well-being. 
These strategies are vitally important in maintaining health and 
wellness. NIDRR expects the RRTC, through its training and 
dissemination activities, to encourage self-directed health promotion 

Proposed Priority

    The Secretary proposes to establish an RRTC for the purpose of 
developing strategies for health maintenance and reducing secondary 
conditions for persons with long-term disabilities. The RRTC must:
    (1) Evaluate health assessment definitions, policies and practices, 
and measurement methodologies and instruments, and describe their 
impact on health promotion activities for persons with long-term 
    (2) Evaluate the impact of selected health maintenance strategies 
on the incidence and severity of secondary conditions and other 
outcomes such as function, independence, general health status, and 
quality of life;
    (3) Identify and evaluate best practices in health promotion 
activities for persons with long-term disabilities;
    (4) Provide training on: (i) research methodology and applied 
research experience; and (ii) knowledge gained from the Center's 
research activities to persons with disabilities and their families, 
service providers, and other parties, as appropriate;
    (5) Develop informational materials based on knowledge gained from 
the Center's research activities, and disseminate the materials to 
persons with disabilities, their representatives, service providers, 
and other interested parties;
    (6) Involve individuals with disabilities and, if appropriate, 
their representatives, in planning and implementing its research, 
training, and dissemination activities, and in evaluating the Center;
    (7) Conduct a conference on the findings of the RRTC and publish a 
comprehensive report on the final outcomes of the conference. The 
report must be published in the fourth year of the grant; and
    (8) Coordinate with other entities carrying out related research or 
training activities.
    In carrying out these purposes, the RRTC must coordinate with 
health and wellness research and demonstration activities sponsored by 
the National Center on Medical Rehabilitation Research, the Department 
of Veterans Affairs, and the Centers for Disease Control and 

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects

    Authority for Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
(DRRPs) is contained in section 204(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 
1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 764(a)). DRRPs carry out one or more of the 
following types of activities, as specified in 34 CFR 350.13-350.19: 
research, development, demonstration, training, dissemination, 
utilization, and technical assistance. Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research Projects develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation 
technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into 
society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic 
and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, 
especially individuals with the most severe disabilities. In addition, 
DRRPs improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Proposed Research Priorities in Health Care and Medical 
Rehabilitation Services for Persons With Disabilities


    Chapter 4 of NIDRR's proposed LRP (63 FR 57202) discusses the 
health care service and medical rehabilitation service needs of persons 
with disabilities. The demand for these services is expected to 
continue to grow in the coming decades because of increased potential 
for survival after trauma and disease, prevalence of disability related 
to the general aging of the population, and the incidence of persons 
with disabilities acquiring secondary disabilities or chronic 
conditions. NIDRR proposes to establish a research agenda that examines 
access to the continuum of health care services, and changes in medical 
rehabilitation service systems, including demands that new populations 
of persons with disabilities are placing on medical rehabilitation 
service systems.
    There has been insufficient research on the access of persons with 
disabilities to the continuum of health care services. Access to this 
continuum, including primary, acute, and long-term health care services 
over the course of a lifetime, bears directly on quality of life 
issues. By developing new knowledge about access to the continuum of 
health care services for persons with disability, NIDRR expects the 
DRRP on health care services to contribute to persons with disabilities 
maintaining their health and decreasing the occurrence of secondary 
    Medical rehabilitation service systems are changing in response to 
a number of factors. One major factor is the rise of managed care as 
the dominant form of organization and payment for health care services, 
including medical rehabilitation services. In addition, as discussed in 
the proposed LRP, new populations of persons with disabilities are 
emerging and placing new demands on medical rehabilitation service 
systems. NIDRR expects the DRRP on medical rehabilitation services to 
generate new knowledge about these changes in order to assist service 
providers and consumers to achieve desired rehabilitation outcomes. For 
the purpose of the proposed priority, emergent disabilities include, 
but are not limited to, AIDS, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, 
violence-induced neurological damage, repetitive motion syndromes, 
childhood asthma,

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drug addiction, and environmental illnesses.

Proposed Priority 2: Health Care Services for Persons With 

    The Secretary proposes to fund a DRRP to improve the continuum of 
health care services for persons with disabilities over their lifetime. 
The DRRP must:
    (1) Analyze the access of persons with disabilities to the 
continuum of health care services and identify successful service 
delivery strategies and barriers to access to the continuum; and
    (2) Based on paragraph (1), develop strategies to improve access to 
the continuum of health care services.
    In carrying out the purposes of the priority, the project must:
    * Address the health care needs of persons with disabilities
of all ages; and
    * Coordinate with the RRTC on Managed Care for Persons with

Proposed Priority 3: Medical Rehabilitation Services for Persons With 

    The Secretary proposes to establish a DRRP to improve medical 
rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities, especially those 
with emergent disabilities. The DRRP must:
    (1) Describe the changes taking place in the delivery of medical 
rehabilitation services including, but not limited to, those related to 
the setting where services are provided, length of stay, qualifications 
of personnel, and payment systems; and
    (2) Develop a methodology to analyze the impact of these changes on 
    (3) Identify the nature and extent of the need for medical 
rehabilitation services by persons with emergent disabilities;
    (4) Analyze persons with emergent disabilities' access to medical 
rehabilitation services; and
    (5) Identify strategies to improve access by persons with emergent 
disabilities to medical rehabilitation services.

Electronic Access to This Document

    Anyone may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or 
portable document format (pdf) on the World Wide Web at either of the 
following sites:


To use the pdf you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader Program with 
Search, which is available free at either of the preceding sites. If 
you have questions about using the pdf, call the U.S. Government 
Printing Office at (202) 512-1530 or, toll free at 1-888-293-6498.
    Anyone may also view these documents in text copy only on an 
electronic bulletin board of the Department. Telephone: (202) 219-1511 
or, toll free, 1-800-222-4922. The documents are located under Option 
G--Files/Announcements, Bulletins and Press Releases.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register.

Invitation to Comment

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments and 
recommendations regarding these proposed priorities. All comments 
submitted in response to this notice will be available for public 
inspection, during and after the comment period, in Room 3424, Switzer 
Building, 330 C Street S.W., Washington, D.C., between the hours of 
9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday of each week except 
Federal holidays.

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR Part 350.

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 760-762.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.133A, Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Projects, and 84.133B, Rehabilitation 
Research and Training Centers)

    Dated: January 26, 1999.
Judith E. Heumann,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 99-2248 Filed 1-29-99; 8:45 am]