Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced last month that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will issue a directive establishing a five-year moratorium on enforcement of affirmative action obligations for TRICARE providers. In his March 11, 2014 letter to the leadership of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Secretary Perez stated that during the moratorium period OFCCP will “limit its enforcement activities” with respect to TRICARE contractors and subcontractors.
Providers for TRICARE, the Department of Defense’s managed health care program for active duty and retired military members and their families, have had a long history with OFCCP. In fact, Secretary Perez’s letter comes in direct response to years of court battles and resistance from TRICARE providers to OFCCP’s attempts to assert jurisdiction over them.
The letter does not concede that OFCCP lacks jurisdiction over TRICARE subcontractors. Instead, during the five-year moratorium period, OFCCP has promised to conduct “extensive outreach” to clarify when TRICARE providers may be subject to OFCCP oversight. Although the moratorium provides a temporary reprieve to TRICARE providers, a permanent solution in the form of congressional legislation (H.R. 3633 or the “Protecting Health Care Providers from Increased Administrative Burdens Act”) may soon follow.