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(1) The department will conduct periodic reviews of the qualifications of authorized local agencies under its jurisdiction. In conducting such reviews, the department will consider the program's history of prior program performance and the factors listed in (2). Based upon the results of such reviews, the department may make appropriate adjustments among the participating local agencies, including the disqualification of a local agency when the department determines that another local agency can operate the program more effectively and efficiently. The department must implement the procedures established in (3) when disqualifying a local agency.

(2) The department may disqualify a local agency upon consideration of:

(a) noncompliance with program rules;

(b) sufficiency of department funds to support the continued operation of all its existing local agencies at their current participation level;

(c) whether, following a review of local agency credentials in accordance with (4), another local agency can operate the program more effectively and efficiently;

(d) the availability of other community resources to participants and the cost efficiency and cost effectiveness of the local agency in terms of both food and administrative and program services costs;

(e) the percentages of participants in each priority level being served by the local agency and the percentage of need being met in each participant category;

(f) the relative position of the area or special population served by the local agency in the affirmative action plan;

(g) the local agency's place in the priority system established in 7 CFR 246.5(d)(1); or

(h) the capability of another local agency or agencies to accept the local agency's participants.

(3) When disqualifying a local agency under the program, the department must:

(a) make every effort to transfer affected participants to another local agency without disruption of benefits;

(b) provide the affected local agency with written notice not less than 60 days in advance of the pending action; the notice must include an explanation of the reasons for disqualification, the date of disqualification, and, except in cases of the expiration of a local agency's agreement, the local agency's right to appeal as set forth in 7 CFR 246.18; and

(c) ensure that the action is not in conflict with any existing written agreements between the department and the local agency.

(4) The department adopts and incorporates by reference the following:

(a) 7 CFR 246.18, which is a federal agency rule setting forth the notice and hearing procedures for local agencies, retailers, and farmers who are denied participation or are disqualified from the program; and

(b) 7 CFR 246.5(d)(1), which is a federal agency rule setting forth the priority system for selection of local agencies.

(c) Copies of 7 CFR 246.18 and 7 CFR 246.5(d)(1) may be obtained from the Department of Public Health and Human Services, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC), P.O. Box 202951, Helena, MT 59620-2951.

History: 50-1-202, MCA; IMP, 50-1-202, MCA; NEW, 1988 MAR p. 1528, Eff. 7/15/88; TRANS, from DHES, 2001 MAR p. 982; AMD, 2013 MAR p. 1852, Eff. 10/18/13

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