As we recently reported, OFCCP is evaluating affirmative action obligations for TRICARE providers and expects to publish rulemaking on this front next year. In connection with this, to allow time for the rulemaking process, as well as to allow time for any potential related legislative action, OFCCP announced it has extended the enforcement moratorium for TRICARE providers.
The current moratorium is set to expire in May 2019. The new Directive, known as Directive 2018-02, amends the existing TRICARE Directive (2014-01) and extends the moratorium for an additional two years – until May 7, 2021. In addition to extending its length, OFCCP has expanded the coverage of the moratorium to now cover Veteran Affairs Health Benefits Program providers, in addition to TRICARE providers.
In the Directive OFCCP Director Ondray Harris explains the motivation for expanding to the coverage to include the Veterans programs.
The difficulties active-duty and retired service members and their families have accessing healthcare are well–documented. OFCCP is concerned that the continued uncertainty over the extent to which the E.O., Section 503, and VEVRAA apply to TRICARE subcontractors has contributed to this difficulty, and that the approaching expiration of the moratorium and accompanying uncertainty further exacerbate the difficulty.
The Directive also reflects OFCCP’s understanding that “Congress may enact legislation affecting this area in the near future”, which the Agency believes further supports extending the moratorium so it may evaluate and address any legislative changes.
We’ll continue to monitor this area for developments so stay tuned for updates.