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H.R. 5942: Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018

The text of the bill below is as of May 23, 2018 (Introduced).


I

115th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5942

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 23, 2018

(for herself, Mr. Aguilar, Ms. Barragán, Ms. Bass, Ms. Bonamici, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. Brown of Maryland, Mr. Carbajal, Mr. Cárdenas, Mr. Carson of Indiana, Mr. Castro of Texas, Ms. Judy Chu of California, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. Correa, Mr. Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Mr. Ellison, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Espaillat, Ms. Fudge, Mr. Gallego, Mr. Gomez, Mr. Al Green of Texas, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Gutiérrez, Ms. Hanabusa, Mr. Hastings, Ms. Jayapal, Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Ms. Kelly of Illinois, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Lowenthal, Ms. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Ms. Matsui, Mr. Meeks, Ms. Meng, Mrs. Napolitano, Ms. Norton, Mr. Payne, Mr. Raskin, Mr. Richmond, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Mr. Rush, Mr. Sablan, Ms. Sánchez, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Mr. Serrano, Ms. Sewell of Alabama, Mr. Swalwell of California, Mr. Takano, Mrs. Torres, Ms. Velázquez, Ms. Wilson of Florida, Mrs. Watson Coleman, and Mr. Krishnamoorthi) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, Agriculture, Education and the Workforce, the Budget, the Judiciary, Veterans' Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To improve the health of minority individuals, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018.

2.

Table of contents

The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title.

Sec. 2. Table of contents.

Sec. 3. Findings.

Title I—Data collection and reporting

Sec. 101. Amendment to the Public Health Service Act.

Sec. 102. Elimination of prerequisite of direct appropriations for data collection and analysis.

Sec. 103. Collection of race and ethnicity data by the Social Security Administration.

Sec. 104. Revision of HIPAA claims standards.

Sec. 105. National Center for Health Statistics.

Sec. 106. Disparities data collected by the Federal Government.

Sec. 107. Data collection and analysis grants to minority-serving institutions.

Sec. 108. Standards for measuring sexual orientation and gender identity in collection of health data.

Sec. 109. Standards for measuring socioeconomic status in collection of health data.

Sec. 110. Safety and effectiveness of drugs with respect to racial and ethnic background.

Sec. 111. Improving health data regarding Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

Sec. 112. Clarification of simplified administrative reporting requirement.

Title II—Culturally and linguistically appropriate health and health care

Sec. 201. Definitions.

Sec. 202. Amendment to the Public Health Service Act.

Sec. 203. Pilot program for improvement and development of State medical interpreting services.

Sec. 204. Training tomorrow’s doctors for culturally and linguistically appropriate care: graduate medical education.

Sec. 205. Federal reimbursement for culturally and linguistically appropriate services under the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance Programs.

Sec. 206. Increasing understanding of and improving health literacy.

Sec. 207. Assurances for receiving Federal funds.

Sec. 208. Report on Federal efforts to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services.

Sec. 209. English for speakers of other languages.

Sec. 210. Implementation.

Sec. 211. Language access services.

Title III—Health workforce Diversity

Sec. 301. Amendment to the Public Health Service Act.

Sec. 302. Hispanic-serving health professions schools.

Sec. 303. Loan repayment program of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sec. 304. Cooperative agreements for online degree programs at schools of public health and schools of allied health.

Sec. 305. Sense of Congress on the mission of the National Health Care Workforce Commission.

Sec. 306. Scholarship and fellowship programs.

Sec. 307. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

Sec. 308. Rules for determination of full-time equivalent residents for cost-reporting periods.

Sec. 309. Developing and implementing strategies for local health equity.

Sec. 310. Loan forgiveness for mental and behavioral health social workers.

Sec. 311. Health Professions Workforce Fund.

Sec. 312. Findings; sense of Congress relating to graduate medical education.

Sec. 313. Career support for skilled, internationally educated health professionals.

Title IV—Improving Health Care Access and Quality

Subtitle A—Expansion of Coverage

Sec. 401. Amendment to the Public Health Service Act.

Sec. 402. Removing citizenship and immigration barriers to access to affordable health care under ACA.

Sec. 403. Study on the uninsured.

Sec. 404. Medicaid in the territories.

Sec. 405. Extension of Medicare secondary payer.

Sec. 406. Border health grants.

Sec. 407. Removing Medicare barrier to health care.

Sec. 408. 100 percent FMAP for medical assistance provided by urban Indian health centers.

Sec. 409. 100 percent FMAP for medical assistance provided to a Native Hawaiian through a federally qualified health center or a Native Hawaiian health care system under the Medicaid program.

Subtitle B—Expansion of Access

Sec. 410. Protecting sensitive locations.

Sec. 411. Grants for racial and ethnic approaches to community health.

Sec. 412. Critical access hospital improvements.

Sec. 413. Establishment of Rural Community Hospital (RCH) Program.

Sec. 414. Medicare remote monitoring pilot projects.

Sec. 415. Rural health quality advisory commission and demonstration projects.

Sec. 416. Rural health care services.

Sec. 417. Community health center collaborative access expansion.

Sec. 418. Facilitating the provision of telehealth services across State lines.

Sec. 419. Scoring of preventive health savings.

Sec. 420. Sense of Congress on Maintenance of Effort Provisions Regarding Children’s Health.

Sec. 421. Repeal of requirement for documentation evidencing citizenship or nationality under the Medicaid program.

Sec. 422. Protection of the HHS Offices of Minority Health.

Sec. 423. Office of Minority Health in Veterans Health Administration of Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sec. 424. Indian defined in PPACA.

Sec. 425. Study of DSH payments to ensure hospital access for low-income patients.

Sec. 426. Assistant Secretary of the Indian Health Service.

Sec. 427. Reauthorization of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act.

Sec. 428. Availability of non-English language speaking providers.

Sec. 429. Access to essential community providers.

Sec. 430. Provider network adequacy in communities of color.

Sec. 431. Improving access to dental care.

Subtitle C—Advancing Health Equity Through Payment and Delivery Reform

Sec. 441. Sense of Congress.

Sec. 442. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services quality payment program.

Sec. 443. Development and testing of disparity reducing delivery and payment models.

Sec. 444. Supporting safety net and community-based providers to compete in value-based payment systems.

Subtitle D—Health Empowerment Zones

Sec. 451. Short title.

Sec. 452. Findings.

Sec. 453. Designation of health empowerment zones.

Sec. 454. Assistance to those seeking designation.

Sec. 455. Benefits of designation.

Sec. 456. Definition.

Sec. 457. Authorization of appropriations.

Subtitle E—At-Risk community coverage

Sec. 461. Medicaid coverage for citizens of Freely Associated States.

Sec. 462. At-risk youth Medicaid protection.

Title V—IMPROVING HEALTH OUTCOMES FOR WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND FAMILIES

Subtitle A—In General

Sec. 501. Grants to promote health for underserved communities.

Sec. 502. Removing barriers to health care and nutrition assistance for children, pregnant persons, and lawfully present individuals.

Sec. 503. Repeal of denial of benefits.

Sec. 504. Birth defects prevention, risk reduction, and awareness.

Sec. 505. Preventing maternal deaths.

Sec. 506. Eliminating disparities in maternity health outcomes.

Sec. 507. Decreasing the risk factors for sudden unexpected infant death and sudden unexplained death in childhood.

Sec. 508. Reducing unintended teenage pregnancies.

Sec. 509. Gestational diabetes.

Sec. 510. Emergency contraception education and information programs.

Sec. 511. Comprehensive sex education programs.

Sec. 512. Compassionate assistance for rape emergencies.

Sec. 513. Access to birth control duties of pharmacies to ensure provision of FDA-approved contraception.

Sec. 514. Additional focus area for the Office on Women’s Health.

Sec. 515. Interagency coordinating committee on the promotion of optimal maternity outcomes.

Sec. 516. Consumer education campaign.

Sec. 517. Bibliographic database of systematic reviews for care of childbearing individuals and newborns.

Sec. 518. Maternity care health professional shortage areas.

Sec. 519. Expansion of CDC prevention research centers program to include centers on optimal maternity outcomes.

Sec. 520. Expanding models allowed to be tested by Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation to include maternity care models.

Sec. 521. Development of interprofessional maternity care educational models and tools.

Sec. 522. Including within inpatient hospital services under Medicare services furnished by certain students, interns, and residents supervised by certified nurse midwives.

Sec. 523. Grants to professional organizations to increase diversity in maternal, reproductive, and sexual health professionals.

Sec. 524. Interagency update to the quality family planning guidelines.

Sec. 525. Dissemination of the quality family planning guidelines.

Subtitle B—Pregnancy Screening

Sec. 531. Pregnancy intention screening initiative demonstration program.

Title VI—MENTAL HEALTH

Sec. 601. Mental health findings.

Sec. 602. Coverage of marriage and family therapist services, mental health counselor services, and substance abuse counselor services under part B of the Medicare program.

Sec. 603. Integrated Health Care Demonstration Program.

Sec. 604. Addressing racial and ethnic minority mental health disparities research gaps.

Sec. 605. Health professions competencies to address racial and ethnic minority mental health disparities.

Sec. 606. Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander behavioral and mental health outreach and education strategies.

Sec. 607. Mental health in schools.

Sec. 608. Geo-access study.

Title VII—ADDRESSING HIGH IMPACT MINORITY DISEASES

Subtitle A—Cancer

Sec. 701. Lung cancer mortality reduction.

Sec. 702. Expanding prostate cancer research, outreach, screening, testing, access, and treatment effectiveness.

Sec. 703. Improved Medicaid coverage for certain breast and cervical cancer patients in the territories.

Sec. 704. Cancer prevention and treatment demonstration for ethnic and racial minorities.

Sec. 705. Reducing cancer disparities within Medicare.

Subtitle B—Viral Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Control and Prevention

Sec. 711. Viral hepatitis and liver cancer control and prevention.

Subtitle C—Acquired Bone Marrow Failure Diseases

Sec. 721. Acquired bone marrow failure diseases.

Subtitle D—Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Disease, and Other Disease Issues

Sec. 731. Guidelines for disease screening for minority patients.

Sec. 732. CDC Wisewoman Screening Program.

Sec. 733. Report on cardiovascular care for women and minorities.

Sec. 734. Coverage of comprehensive tobacco cessation services in Medicaid and private health insurance.

Sec. 735. Clinical research funding for oral health.

Sec. 736. Participation by Medicaid beneficiaries in approved clinical trials.

Subtitle E—HIV/AIDS

Sec. 741. Statement of policy.

Sec. 742. Findings.

Sec. 743. Additional funding for AIDS drug assistance program treatments.

Sec. 744. Enhancing the national HIV surveillance system.

Sec. 745. Evidence-based strategies for improving linkage to and retention in appropriate care.

Sec. 746. Improving entry into and retention in care and antiretroviral adherence for persons with HIV.

Sec. 747. Services to reduce HIV/AIDS in racial and ethnic minority communities.

Sec. 748. Minority AIDS initiative.

Sec. 749. Health care professionals treating individuals with HIV/AIDS.

Sec. 750. HIV/AIDS provider loan repayment program.

Sec. 751. Dental education loan repayment program.

Sec. 752. Reducing new HIV infections among injecting drug users.

Sec. 753. Report on impact of HIV/AIDS in vulnerable populations.

Sec. 754. National HIV/AIDS observance days.

Sec. 755. Review of all Federal and State laws, policies, and regulations regarding the criminal prosecution of individuals for HIV-related offenses.

Sec. 756. Expanding support for condoms in prisons.

Sec. 757. Automatic reinstatement or enrollment in Medicaid for people who test positive for HIV before reentering communities.

Sec. 758. Stop AIDS in prison.

Sec. 759. Support data system review and indicators for monitoring HIV care.

Sec. 760. Transfer of funds for implementation of national HIV/AIDS strategy.

Sec. 761. Report on the implementation of goal 4 (improved coordination) of the national HIV/AIDS strategy.

Subtitle F—Diabetes

Sec. 771. Research, treatment, and education.

Sec. 772. Research, education, and other activities.

Sec. 773. Research, education, and other activities.

Sec. 774. Research, education, and other activities.

Sec. 775. Updated report on health disparities.

Subtitle G—Lung Disease

Sec. 776. Expansion of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program.

Sec. 777. Asthma-related activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sec. 778. Influenza and pneumonia vaccination campaign.

Sec. 779. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease action plan.

Subtitle H—Tuberculosis

Sec. 781. Elimination of all forms of tuberculosis.

Sec. 782. Additional funding for States in combating and eliminating tuberculosis.

Sec. 783. Strengthening clinical research funding for tuberculosis.

Subtitle I—Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases

Sec. 785. Findings.

Sec. 786. Osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal health-related activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sec. 787. Grants for comprehensive osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal disease health education within health professions schools.

Subtitle J—Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Sec. 791. Short title; findings.

Sec. 792. Sleep and circadian rhythm disorders research activities of the National Institutes of Health.

Sec. 793. Sleep and circadian rhythm health disparities-related activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sec. 794. Grants for comprehensive sleep and circadian health education within health professions schools.

Sec. 795. Report on impact of sleep and circadian health disorders in vulnerable and racial/ethnic populations.

Subtitle K—Sickle Cell Disease Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment

Sec. 796. Short title.

Sec. 796A.  Sickle cell disease research.

Sec. 796B.  Sickle cell disease surveillance.

Sec. 796C.  Sickle cell disease prevention and treatment.

Sec. 796D. Collaboration with community-based entities.

Title VIII—Health Information Technology

Sec. 800. Definitions.

Subtitle A—Reducing Health Disparities Through Health IT

Sec. 801. HRSA assistance to health centers for promotion of Health IT.

Sec. 802. Assessment of impact of Health IT on racial and ethnic minority communities; outreach and adoption of Health IT in such communities.

Subtitle B—Modifications To Achieve Parity in Existing Programs

Sec. 811. Extending funding to strengthen the Health IT infrastructure in racial and ethnic minority communities.

Sec. 812. Extending competitive grants for the development of loan programs to facilitate adoption of Certified Electronic Health Record Technology by providers serving racial and ethnic minority groups.

Sec. 813. Authorization of appropriations.

Subtitle C—Additional Research and Studies

Sec. 821. Data collection and assessments conducted in coordination with minority-serving institutions.

Sec. 822. Study of health information technology in medically underserved communities.

Subtitle D—Closing Gaps in Funding To Adopt Certified EHRs

Sec. 831. Extending Medicaid EHR incentive payments to rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, and home health agencies.

Sec. 832. Extending physician assistant eligibility for Medicaid electronic health record incentive payments.

Title IX—Accountability and Evaluation

Sec. 901. Prohibition on discrimination in Federal assisted health care services and research programs on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status.

Sec. 902. Treatment of Medicare payments under title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Sec. 903. Accountability and transparency within the Department of Health and Human Services.

Sec. 904. United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Sec. 905. Sense of Congress concerning full funding of activities to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities.

Sec. 906. GAO and NIH reports.

Title X—Addressing Social Determinants and Improving Environmental Justice

Subtitle A—In General

Sec. 1001. Definitions.

Sec. 1002. Findings.

Sec. 1003. Health impact assessments.

Sec. 1004. Implementation of recommendations by Environmental Protection Agency.

Sec. 1005. Grant program to conduct environmental health improvement activities and to improve social determinants of health.

Sec. 1006. Additional research on the relationship between the built environment and the health of community residents.

Sec. 1007. Environment and public health restoration.

Sec. 1008. GAO report on health effects of Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf Coast.

Subtitle B—Gun Violence

Sec. 1011. Findings.

Sec. 1012. Reaffirming research authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sec. 1013. National violent death reporting system.

Sec. 1014. Report on effects of gun violence on public health.

Sec. 1015. Report on effects of gun violence on mental health in minority communities.

3.

Findings

The Congress finds as follows:

(1)

The population of racial and ethnic minorities is expected to increase over the next few decades, yet racial and ethnic minorities have the poorest health status and face substantial cultural, social, and economic barriers to obtaining quality health care.

(2)

Health disparities are a function of not only access to health care, but also the social determinants of health—including the environment, the physical structure of communities, nutrition and food options, educational attainment, employment, race, ethnicity, sex, geography, language preference, immigrant or citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or disability status—that directly and indirectly affect the health, health care, and wellness of individuals and communities.

(3)

By 2020, the Nation will face a shortage of health care providers and allied health workers and this shortage disproportionately affects health professional shortage areas where many racial and ethnic minority populations reside.

(4)

All efforts to reduce health disparities and barriers to quality health services require better and more consistent data.

(5)

A full range of culturally and linguistically appropriate health care and public health services must be available and accessible in every community.

(6)

Racial and ethnic minorities and underserved populations must be included early and equitably in health reform innovations.

(7)

Efforts to improve minority health have been limited by inadequate resources in funding, staffing, stewardship, and accountability. Targeted investments that are focused on disparities elimination must be made in providing care and services that are community-based, including prevention and policies addressing social determinants of health.

(8)

In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services developed the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity, two strategic plans that represent the country’s first coordinated roadmap to reducing health disparities. Along with the National Prevention Strategy, Healthy People 2020, and the National Health Care Quality Strategy, as well as critical resources such as the 2012 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports, these comprehensive plans will work to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.

(9)

The Department of Health and Human Services has also reviewed and advanced updated clinical guidelines and developed other strategic planning documents—

(A)

to combat health disparities with a high impact on minority populations including the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis; and

(B)

to provide high-quality family planning services including recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of Population Affairs.

(10)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, represents the biggest advancement for minority health in the last 40 years.

I

Data collection and reporting

101.

Amendment to the Public Health Service Act

(a)

Purpose

It is the purpose of this section to promote data collection, analysis, and reporting by race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status among federally supported health programs.

(b)

Amendment

Title XXXIV of the Public Health Service Act, as added by titles II and III of this Act, is further amended by inserting after subtitle A the following:

B

Strengthening data collection, improving data analysis, and expanding data reporting

3431.

Health disparity data

(a)

Requirements

(1)

In general

Each health-related program operated by or that receives funding or reimbursement, in whole or in part, either directly or indirectly from the Department of Health and Human Services shall—

(A)

require the collection, by the agency or program involved, of data on the race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status of each applicant for and recipient of health-related assistance under such program—

(i)

using, at a minimum, standards for data collection on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status developed under section 3101;

(ii)

collecting data for additional population groups if such groups can be aggregated into the race and ethnicity categories outlined by standards developed under section 3101;

(iii)

additionally referring, where practicable, to the standards developed by the Institute of Medicine in Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data: Standardization for Health Care Quality Improvement; and

(iv)

where practicable, through self-reporting;

(B)

with respect to the collection of the data described in subparagraph (A), for applicants and recipients who are minors, require communication assistance in speech or writing, and for applicants and recipients who are otherwise legally incapacitated, require that—

(i)

such data be collected from the parent or legal guardian of such an applicant or recipient; and

(ii)

the primary language of the parent or legal guardian of such an applicant or recipient be collected;

(C)

systematically analyze such data using the smallest appropriate units of analysis feasible to detect racial and ethnic disparities, as well as disparities along the lines of primary language, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status in health and health care, and report the results of such analysis to the Secretary, the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, each agency listed in section 3101(c)(1), the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the Committee on Finance of the Senate, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives;

(D)

provide such data to the Secretary on at least an annual basis; and

(E)

ensure that the provision of assistance to an applicant or recipient of assistance is not denied or otherwise adversely affected because of the failure of the applicant or recipient to provide race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status data.

(2)

Rules of construction

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to—

(A)

permit the use of information collected under this subsection in a manner that would adversely affect any individual providing any such information; or

(B)

diminish existing or future requirements on health care providers to collect data.

(3)

No compelled disclosure of data

This title does not authorize any health care provider, Federal official, or other entity to compel the disclosure of any data collected under this title. The disclosure of any such data by an individual pursuant to this title shall be strictly voluntary.

(b)

Protection of data

The Secretary shall ensure (through the promulgation of regulations or otherwise) that all data collected pursuant to subsection (a) are protected—

(1)

under the same privacy protections as the Secretary applies to other health data under the regulations promulgated under section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (Public Law 104–191; 110 Stat. 2033) relating to the privacy of individually identifiable health information and other protections; and

(2)

from all inappropriate internal use by any entity that collects, stores, or receives the data, including use of such data in determinations of eligibility (or continued eligibility) in health plans, and from other inappropriate uses, as defined by the Secretary.

(c)

National plan of the data Council

The Secretary shall develop and implement a national plan to ensure the collection of data in a culturally appropriate and competent manner, to improve the collection, analysis, and reporting of racial, ethnic, sex, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status data at the Federal, State, territorial, Tribal, and local levels, including data to be collected under subsection (a), and to ensure that data collection activities carried out under this section are in compliance with standards developed under section 3101. The Data Council of the Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the National Committee on Vital Health Statistics, the Office of Minority Health, Office on Women’s Health, and other appropriate public and private entities, shall make recommendations to the Secretary concerning the development, implementation, and revision of the national plan. Such plan shall include recommendations on how to—

(1)

implement subsection (a) while minimizing the cost and administrative burdens of data collection and reporting;

(2)

expand knowledge among Federal agencies, States, territories, Indian Tribes, counties, municipalities, health providers, health plans, and the general public that data collection, analysis, and reporting by race, ethnicity, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status is legal and necessary to assure equity and nondiscrimination in the quality of health care services;

(3)

ensure that future patient record systems follow Federal standards promulgated under the HITECH Act for the collection and meaningful use of electronic health data on race, ethnicity, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status;

(4)

improve health and health care data collection and analysis for more population groups if such groups can be aggregated into the minimum race and ethnicity categories, including exploring the feasibility of enhancing collection efforts in States, counties, and municipalities for racial and ethnic groups that comprise a significant proportion of the population of the State, county, or municipality;

(5)

provide researchers with greater access to racial, ethnic, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status data, subject to privacy and confidentiality regulations; and

(6)

safeguard and prevent the misuse of data collected under subsection (a).

(d)

Compliance with Standards

Data collected under subsection (a) shall be obtained, maintained, and presented (including for reporting purposes) in accordance with standards developed under section 3101.

(e)

Analysis of health disparity data

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and in coordination with the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Director of the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Director of the National Institutes of Health, shall provide technical assistance to agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services in meeting Federal standards for health disparity data collection and for analysis of racial, ethnic, and other disparities in health and health care in public programs by—

(1)

identifying appropriate quality assurance mechanisms to monitor for health disparities;

(2)

specifying the clinical, diagnostic, or therapeutic measures which should be monitored;

(3)

developing new quality measures relating to racial and ethnic disparities and their overlap with other disparity factors in health and health care;

(4)

identifying the level at which data analysis should be conducted; and

(5)

sharing data with external organizations for research and quality improvement purposes.

(f)

Primary language

References in this section—

(1)

to primary language data, include spoken and written primary language data; and

(2)

to primary language data collection activities, include identifying, collecting, storing, tracking, and analyzing primary language data and information on the methods used to meet the language access needs of limited-English-proficient individuals.

(g)

Definition

In this section, the term health-related program mean a program—

(1)

under the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) that pays for health care and services; and

(2)

under this Act that provides Federal financial assistance for health care, biomedical research, or health services research and or is designed to improve the public’s health.

(h)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3432.

Establishing grants for data collection improvement activities

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and in consultation with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, and the Director of the National Center for Health Statistics, shall establish a technical assistance program under which the Secretary provides grants to eligible entities to assist such entities in complying with section 3431.

(b)

Types of assistance

Grants provided under this section may include grants to—

(1)

enhance or upgrade computer technology that will facilitate racial, ethnic, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status data collection, analysis, and reporting;

(2)

improve methods for health data collection and analysis, including additional population groups if such groups can be aggregated into the race and ethnicity categories outlined by standards developed under section 3101;

(3)

develop mechanisms for submitting collected data subject to existing privacy and confidentiality regulations; and

(4)

develop educational programs to inform health plans, health providers, health-related agencies, and the general public that data collection and reporting by race, ethnicity, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status are legal and essential for eliminating health and health care disparities.

(c)

Eligible entity

To be eligible for grants under this section, an entity shall be a State, territory, Indian Tribe, municipality, county, health provider, health care organization, or health plan making a demonstrated effort to bring data collections into compliance with section 3431.

(d)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3433.

Oversampling of underrepresented groups in Federal health surveys

(a)

National strategy

(1)

In general

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services as the Secretary determines appropriate, shall develop and implement an ongoing and sustainable national strategy for oversampling underrepresented populations within the categories of race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status as determined appropriate by the Secretary in Federal health surveys and program data collections. Such national strategy shall include a strategy for oversampling of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

(2)

Consultation

In developing and implementing a national strategy, as described in paragraph (1), not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of the this section, the Secretary shall—

(A)

consult with representatives of community groups, nonprofit organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies working with underrepresented populations;

(B)

solicit the participation of representatives from other Federal departments and agencies, including subagencies of the Department of Health and Human Services; and

(C)

consult on, and use as models, the 2014 National Health Interview Survey oversample of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations and the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System oversample of American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

(b)

Progress report

Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary shall submit to the Congress a progress report, which shall include the national strategy described in subsection (a)(1).

(c)

Authorization of appropriations

To carry out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

.

102.

Elimination of prerequisite of direct appropriations for data collection and analysis

Section 3101 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300kk) is amended—

(1)

by striking subsection (h); and

(2)

by redesignating subsection (i) as subsection (h).

103.

Collection of race and ethnicity data by the Social Security Administration

Part A of title XI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1301 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

1150C.

Collection of race and ethnicity data by the Social Security Administration

(a)

Requirement

The Commissioner of Social Security, in consultation with the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, shall—

(1)

require the collection of data on the race, ethnicity, primary language, and disability status of all applicants for Social Security account numbers or benefits under title II or part A of title XVIII and all individuals with respect to whom the Commissioner maintains records of wages and self-employment income in accordance with reports received by the Commissioner or the Secretary of the Treasury—

(A)

using, at a minimum, standards for data collection on race, ethnicity, primary language, and disability status developed under section 3101 of the Public Health Service Act;

(B)

where practicable, collecting data for additional population groups if such groups can be aggregated into the race and ethnicity categories outlined by standards developed under section 3101 of the Public Health Service Act; and

(C)

additionally referring, where practicable, to the standards developed by the Institute of Medicine in Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data: Standardization for Health Care Quality Improvement (released August 31, 2009);

(2)

with respect to the collection of the data described in paragraph (1) for applicants who are under 18 years of age or otherwise legally incapacitated, require that—

(A)

such data be collected from the parent or legal guardian of such an applicant; and

(B)

the primary language of the parent or legal guardian of such an applicant or recipient be used in collecting the data;

(3)

require that such data be uniformly analyzed and reported at least annually to the Commissioner of Social Security;

(4)

be responsible for storing the data reported under paragraph (3);

(5)

ensure transmission to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other Federal health agencies;

(6)

provide such data to the Secretary on at least an annual basis; and

(7)

ensure that the provision of assistance to an applicant is not denied or otherwise adversely affected because of the failure of the applicant to provide race, ethnicity, primary language, and disability status data.

(b)

Protection of data

The Commissioner of Social Security shall ensure (through the promulgation of regulations or otherwise) that all data collected pursuant to subsection (a) are protected—

(1)

under the same privacy protections as the Secretary applies to health data under the regulations promulgated under section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (Public Law 104–191; 110 Stat. 2033) relating to the privacy of individually identifiable health information and other protections; and

(2)

from all inappropriate internal use by any entity that collects, stores, or receives the data, including use of such data in determinations of eligibility (or continued eligibility) in health plans, and from other inappropriate uses, as defined by the Secretary.

(c)

Rule of construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the use of information collected under this section in a manner that would adversely affect any individual providing any such information.

(d)

Technical assistance

The Secretary may, either directly or by grant or contract, provide technical assistance to enable any health entity to comply with the requirements of this section.

(e)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

.

104.

Revision of HIPAA claims standards

(a)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall revise the regulations promulgated under part C of title XI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d et seq.), relating to the collection of data on race, ethnicity, and primary language in a health-related transaction, to require—

(1)

the use, at a minimum, of standards for data collection on race, ethnicity, primary language, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity developed under section 3101 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300kk); and

(2)

in consultation with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the designation of the appropriate racial, ethnic, primary language, disability, sex, and other code sets as required for claims and enrollment data.

(b)

Dissemination

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall disseminate the new standards developed under subsection (a) to all health entities that are subject to the regulations described in such subsection and provide technical assistance with respect to the collection of the data involved.

(c)

Compliance

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall require that health entities comply with the new standards developed under subsection (a) not later than 2 years after the final promulgation of such standards.

105.

National Center for Health Statistics

Section 306(n) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242k(n)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking 2003 and inserting 2022;

(2)

in paragraph (2), in the first sentence, by striking 2003 and inserting 2022; and

(3)

in paragraph (3), by striking 2002 and inserting 2022.

106.

Disparities data collected by the Federal Government

(a)

Collection; submission

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and January 31 of each year thereafter, each department, agency, and office of the Federal Government that has collected data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, or socioeconomic status during the preceding calendar year shall submit such data to a centralized electronic repository of Government data on factors related to the health and well-being of the American population.

(b)

Analysis; public availability; reporting

Not later than April 30, 2018, and each April 30 thereafter, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Director of the National Center for Health Statistics, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, shall—

(1)

prepare and make available datasets for public use that relate to disparities in health status, health care access, health care quality, health outcomes, public health, and other areas of health and well-being by factors that include race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, sexual orientation, disability status, gender identity, and socioeconomic status;

(2)

ensure that these data sets are publicly identified on a centralized electronic repository of Government data as disparities data; and

(3)

submit a report to the Congress on the availability and use of such data by public stakeholders.

107.

Data collection and analysis grants to minority-serving institutions

(a)

Authority

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, shall award grants to access and analyze racial and ethnic, and where possible other health disparity data, to monitor and report on progress to reduce and eliminate disparities in health and health care.

(b)

Eligible entity

In this section, the term eligible entity means a historically Black college or university, a Hispanic-serving institution, a Tribal college or university, or an Asian American, Native American, or Pacific Islander-serving institution with an accredited public health, health policy, or health services research program.

(c)

Authorization of appropriations

To carry out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

108.

Standards for measuring sexual orientation and gender identity in collection of health data

Section 3101(a) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300kk(a)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)(A), by inserting sexual orientation, gender identity, before and disability status;

(2)

in paragraph (1)(C), by inserting sexual orientation, gender identity, before and disability status; and

(3)

in paragraph (2)(B), by inserting sexual orientation, gender identity, before and disability status.

109.

Standards for measuring socioeconomic status in collection of health data

Section 3101(a) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300kk(a)), as amended, is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)(A), by inserting socioeconomic status, before and disability status;

(2)

in paragraph (1)(C), by inserting socioeconomic status, before and disability status; and

(3)

in paragraph (2)(B), by inserting socioeconomic status, before and disability status.

110.

Safety and effectiveness of drugs with respect to racial and ethnic background

(a)

In general

Chapter V of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 351 et seq.) is amended by adding after section 505F the following:

505G.

Safety and effectiveness of drugs with respect to racial and ethnic background

(a)

Preapproval studies

If there is evidence that there may be a disparity on the basis of racial or ethnic background as to the safety or effectiveness of a drug, then—

(1)
(A)

the investigations required under section 505(b)(1)(A) shall include adequate and well-controlled investigations of the disparity; or

(B)

the evidence required under section 351(a) of the Public Health Service Act for approval of a biologics license application for the drug shall include adequate and well-controlled investigations of the disparity; and

(2)

if the investigations confirm that there is a disparity, the labeling of the drug shall include appropriate information about the disparity.

(b)

Postmarket studies

(1)

In general

If there is evidence that there may be a disparity on the basis of racial or ethnic background as to the safety or effectiveness of a drug for which there is an approved application under section 505 or a license under section 351 of the Public Health Service Act, the Secretary may by order require the holder of the approved application or license to conduct, by a date specified by the Secretary, postmarketing studies to investigate the disparity.

(2)

Labeling

If the Secretary determines that the postmarket studies confirm that there is a disparity described in paragraph (1), the labeling of the drug shall include appropriate information about the disparity.

(3)

Study design

The Secretary may specify all aspects of study design, including the number of studies and study participants, and the other demographic characteristics of study participants included, in the order requiring postmarket studies of the drug.

(4)

Modifications of study design

The Secretary may by order modify any aspect of the study design as necessary after issuing an order under paragraph (1).

(5)

Study results

The results from studies required under paragraph (1) shall be submitted to the Secretary as supplements to the drug application or biological license application.

(c)

Disparity

The term evidence that there may be a disparity on the basis of racial or ethnic background for adult and pediatric populations as to the safety or effectiveness of a drug includes—

(1)

evidence that there is a disparity on the basis of racial or ethnic background as to safety or effectiveness of a drug in the same chemical class as the drug;

(2)

evidence that there is a disparity on the basis of racial or ethnic background in the way the drug is metabolized; and

(3)

other evidence as the Secretary may determine.

(d)

Applications under sections 505(b)(2) and 505(j)

(1)

In general

A drug for which an application has been submitted or approved under section 505(j) shall not be considered ineligible for approval under that section or misbranded under section 502 on the basis that the labeling of the drug omits information relating to a disparity on the basis of racial or ethnic background as to the safety or effectiveness of the drug, whether derived from investigations or studies required under this section or derived from other sources, when the omitted information is protected by patent or by exclusivity under clause (iii) or (iv) of section 505(j)(5)(B).

(2)

Labeling

Notwithstanding clauses (iii) and (iv) of section 505(j)(5)(B), the Secretary may require that the labeling of a drug approved under section 505(j) that omits information relating to a disparity on the basis of racial or ethnic background as to the safety or effectiveness of the drug include a statement of any appropriate contraindications, warnings, or precautions related to the disparity that the Secretary considers necessary.

.

(b)

Enforcement

Section 502 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 352) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(ee)

If it is a drug and the holder of the approved application under section 505 or license under section 351 of the Public Health Service Act for the drug has failed to complete the investigations or studies, or comply with any other requirement, of section 505G.

.

(c)

Drug fees

Section 736(a)(1)(A)(ii) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 379h) is amended by adding after are required the following: , including supplements required under section 505G.

111.

Improving health data regarding Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders

Part B of title III of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 243 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 317U, as added, the following:

317V.

Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander health data

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Community group

The term community group means a group of NHOPI who are organized at the community level, and may include a church group, social service group, national advocacy organization, or cultural group.

(2)

Nonprofit, nongovernmental organization

The term nonprofit, nongovernmental organization means a group of NHOPI with a demonstrated history of addressing NHOPI issues, including a NHOPI coalition.

(3)

Designated organization

The term designated organization means an entity established to represent NHOPI populations and which has statutory responsibilities to provide, or has community support for providing, health care.

(4)

Government representatives

The term government representatives means representatives from Hawaii, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

(5)

Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI)

The term Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders or NHOPI means people having origins in any of the original peoples of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, or any other Pacific island.

(6)

Insular area

The term insular area means Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, or the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

(b)

National strategy

(1)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the National Center for Health Statistics (referred to in this section as NCHS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services as the Secretary determines appropriate, shall develop and implement an ongoing and sustainable national strategy for identifying and evaluating the health status and health care needs of NHOPI populations living in the continental United States, Hawaii, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

(2)

Consultation

In developing and implementing a national strategy, as described in paragraph (1), not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018, the Secretary—

(A)

shall consult with representatives of community groups, designated organizations, and nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations and with government representatives of NHOPI populations; and

(B)

may solicit the participation of representatives from other Federal departments.

(c)

Preliminary health survey

(1)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Director of NCHS, shall conduct a preliminary health survey in order to identify the major areas and regions in the continental United States, Hawaii, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands in which NHOPI people reside.

(2)

Contents

The health survey described in paragraph (1) shall include health data and any other data the Secretary determines to be—

(A)

useful in determining health status and health care needs; or

(B)

required for developing or implementing a national strategy.

(3)

Methodology

Methodology for the health survey described in paragraph (1), including plans for designing questions, implementation, sampling, and analysis, shall be developed in consultation with community groups, designated organizations, nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations, and government representatives of NHOPI populations, as determined by the Secretary.

(4)

Timeframe

The survey required under this subsection shall be completed not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018.

(d)

Progress report

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a progress report, which shall include the national strategy described in subsection (b)(1).

(e)

Study and report by the IOM

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall enter into an agreement with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct a study, with input from stakeholders in insular areas, on the following:

(A)

The standards and definitions of health care applied to health care systems in insular areas and the appropriateness of such standards and definitions.

(B)

The status and performance of health care systems in insular areas, evaluated based upon standards and definitions, as the Secretary determines.

(C)

The effectiveness of donor aid in addressing health care needs and priorities in insular areas.

(D)

The progress toward implementation of recommendations of the Committee on Health Care Services in the United States—Associated Pacific Basin of the Institute of Medicine that are set forth in the 1998 report, Pacific Partnerships for Health: Charting a New Course for the 21st Century.

(2)

Report

An agreement described in paragraph (1) shall require the Institute of Medicine to submit to the Secretary and to Congress, not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018, a report containing a description of the results of the study conducted under paragraph (1), including the conclusions and recommendations of the Institute of Medicine for each of the items described in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of such paragraph.

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

To carry out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

.

112.

Clarification of simplified administrative reporting requirement

Section 11(a) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2020(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(5)

Simplified administrative reporting requirement

The administrative notification requirement under section 421(e)(2) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1631(e)(2)) shall be satisfied by the submission by an agency of a report on the aggregate number of exceptions granted under such section by such agency in each year.

.

II

Culturally and linguistically appropriate health and health care

201.

Definitions

In this title, the definitions contained in section 3400 of the Public Health Service Act, as added by section 202, shall apply.

202.

Amendment to the Public Health Service Act

(a)

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Effective communication is essential to meaningful access to quality physical and mental health care.

(2)

Research indicates that the lack of appropriate language services creates language barriers that result in increased risk of misdiagnosis, ineffective treatment plans and poor health outcomes for limited-English-proficient individuals and individuals with communication disabilities such as hearing, vision, or print impairments.

(3)

The number of limited-English-speaking residents in the United States who speak English less than very well and, therefore, cannot effectively communicate with health and social service providers continues to increase significantly.

(4)

The responsibility to fund language services in the provision of health care and health-care-related services to limited-English-proficient individuals and individuals with communication disabilities such as hearing, vision, or print impairments is a societal one that cannot fairly be visited solely upon the health care, public health, or social services community.

(5)

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on the grounds of race, color, or national origin by any entity receiving Federal financial assistance. In order to avoid discrimination on the grounds of national origin, all programs or activities administered by the Department must take adequate steps to ensure that their policies and procedures do not deny or have the effect of denying limited-English-proficient individuals with equal access to benefits and services for which such persons qualify.

(6)

Both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and require the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids and services necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities. The type of auxiliary aid or service necessary to ensure effective communication will vary in accordance with the method of communication used by the individual; the nature, length, and complexity of the communication involved; and the context in which the communication is taking place. A public accommodation should consult with individuals with disabilities whenever possible to determine what type of auxiliary aid is needed to ensure effective communication, but the ultimate decision as to what measures to take rests with the public accommodation, provided that the method chosen results in effective communication. In order to be effective, auxiliary aids and services must be provided in accessible formats, in a timely manner, and in such a way as to protect the privacy and independence of the individual with a disability.

(7)

Linguistic diversity in the health care and health-care-related-services workforce is important for providing all patients the environment most conducive to positive health outcomes.

(8)

All members of the health care and health-care-related-services community should continue to educate their staff and constituents about limited-English-proficient and disability communication issues and help them identify resources to improve access to quality care for limited-English-proficient individuals and individuals with communication disabilities such as hearing, vision, or print impairments.

(9)

Access to English as a second language, and sign language instructions, readers, and other auxiliary aids and services, are essential to ensure effective communication and eliminate the language barriers that impede access to health care.

(10)

Competent language services in health care settings should be available as a matter of course.

(b)

Amendment

The Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 201 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

XXXIV

CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE

3400.

Definitions

In this title:

(1)

Bilingual

The term bilingual with respect to an individual means a person who has sufficient degree of proficiency in two languages.

(2)

Cultural competence

The term cultural competence means a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. In the preceding sentence—

(A)

the term cultural refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning individuals, and individuals with physical and mental disabilities; and

(B)

the term competence implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities.

(3)

Effective communication

The term effective communication means an exchange of information between the provider of health care or health-care-related services and the recipient of such services who is limited in English proficiency, or has a communication impairment such as a hearing, vision, speaking, or learning impairment, that enables access, understanding, and benefit from health care or health-care-related services, and full participation in the development of their treatment plan.

(4)

Grievance resolution process

The term grievance resolution process means all aspects of dispute resolution including filing complaints, grievance and appeal procedures, and court action.

(5)

Health care group

The term health care group means a group of physicians organized, at least in part, for the purposes of providing physicians’ services under the Medicaid, SCHIP, or Medicare programs and may include a hospital and any other individual or entity furnishing services covered under the Medicaid, SCHIP, or Medicare programs that is affiliated with the health care group.

(6)

Health educator

The term health educator includes a baccalaureate prepared professional responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating individual and population health promotion and chronic disease prevention programs.

(7)

Health care services

The term health care services means services that address physical as well as mental health conditions in all care settings.

(8)

Health-care-related services

The term health-care-related services means human or social services programs or activities that provide access, referrals or links to health care.

(9)

Indian tribe

The term Indian Tribe means any Indian Tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or group or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688) (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

(10)

Integrated health care delivery system

The term integrated health care delivery system means an interdisciplinary system that brings together providers from the primary health, mental health, substance use and related disciplines to improve the health outcomes of an individual. Providers may include but are not limited to hospitals, health, mental health or substance use clinics and providers, home health agencies, ambulatory surgery centers, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, and employed, independent, or contracted physicians.

(11)

Individual with a disability

The term individual with a disability means any individual who has a disability as defined for the purpose of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Where this title references regulatory provisions applicable to a handicapped individual, the term handicapped individual in such provisions shall be treated to have the same meaning as the term individual with a disability as defined in this section.

(12)

Individual with limited-English proficiency

The term individual with limited-English proficiency means an individual whose primary language for communication is not English and who has a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English.

(13)

Interpreting; interpretation

The terms interpreting and interpretation mean the transmission of a spoken, written, or signed message from one language or format into another, faithfully, accurately, and objectively.

(14)

Language access

The term language access means the provision of language services to an individual with limited-English proficiency or an individual with communication disabilities designed to enhance that individual’s access to, understanding of, or benefit from health care or health-care-related services.

(15)

Language assistance services

The term language assistance services includes—

(A)

oral language assistance, including interpretation in non-English languages provided in-person or remotely by a qualified interpreter for an individual with limited-English proficiency, and the use of qualified bilingual or multilingual staff to communicate directly with individuals with limited-English proficiency;

(B)

written translation, performed by a qualified translator, of written content in paper or electronic form into languages other than English; and

(C)

taglines.

(16)

Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP

The terms Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP mean the respective programs under titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Social Security Act.

(17)

Minority

(A)

In general

The terms minority and minorities refer to individuals from a minority group.

(B)

Populations

The term minority, with respect to populations, refers to racial and ethnic minority groups, members of sexual and gender minority groups, and individuals with a disability.

(18)

Minority group

The term minority group has the meaning given the term racial and ethnic minority group.

(19)

Qualified interpreter for an individual with limited-English proficiency

The term qualified interpreter for an individual with limited-English proficiency means an interpreter who via a remote interpreting service or an on-site appearance—

(A)

adheres to generally accepted interpreter ethics principles, including client confidentiality;

(B)

has demonstrated proficiency in speaking and understanding both spoken English and one or more other spoken languages; and

(C)

is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressly, to and from such languages and English, using any necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology, and phraseology.

(20)

Qualified translator

The term qualified translator means a translator who—

(A)

adheres to generally accepted translator ethics principles, including client confidentiality;

(B)

has demonstrated proficiency in writing and understanding both written English and one or more other written non-English languages; and

(C)

is able to translate effectively, accurately, and impartially to and from such languages and English, using any necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology, and phraseology.

(21)

Racial and ethnic minority group

The term racial and ethnic minority group means American Indians and Alaska Natives, African Americans (including Caribbean Blacks, Africans, and other Blacks), Asian Americans, Hispanics (including Latinos), and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

(22)

Sexual and gender minority group

The term sexual and gender minority group encompasses lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations, as well as those whose sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or reproductive development varies from traditional, societal, cultural, or physiological norms.

(23)

Onsite interpretation

The term onsite interpretation means a method of interpreting or interpretation for which the interpreter is in the physical presence of the provider of health care or health-care-related services and the recipient of such services who is limited in English proficiency or has a communication impairment such as hearing, vision, or learning.

(24)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(25)

Sight translation

The term sight translation means the transmission of a written message in one language into a spoken or signed message in another language, or an alternative format in English or another language.

(26)

State

The term State means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Indian Tribes, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(27)

Telephonic interpretation

The term telephonic interpretation (also known as over the phone interpretation or OPI) means a method of interpretation for which the interpreter is not in the physical presence of the provider of health care or related services and the limited-English-proficient recipient of such services but is connected via telephone.

(28)

Translation

The term translation means the transmission of a written message in one language into a written or signed message in another language, and includes translation into another language or alternative format, such as large print font, Braille, audio recording, or CD.

(29)

Video remote interpreting services

The term video remote interpreting services means the provision, through a qualified interpreter for an individual with limited-English proficiency, of video remote interpreting services in health programs and activities.

(A)

in real-time, full-motion video, and audio over a dedicated high-speed, wide-bandwidth video connection or wireless connection that delivers high quality video images that do not produce lags, choppy, blurry, or grainy images, or irregular pauses in communication; and

(B)

in a sharply delineated image that is large enough to display.

(30)

Vital document

The term vital document includes but is not limited to applications for government programs that provide health care services, medical or financial consent forms, financial assistance documents, letters containing important information regarding patient instructions (such as prescriptions, referrals to other providers, and discharge plans) and participation in a program (such as a Medicaid managed care program), notices pertaining to the reduction, denial, or termination of services or benefits, notices of the right to appeal such actions, and notices advising limited-English-proficient individuals and individuals with communication disabilities of the availability of free language services, alternative formats, and other outreach materials.

3401.

Improving access to services for individuals with limited-English proficiency

(a)

Purpose

As provided in Executive Order 13166, it is the purpose of this section—

(1)

to improve Federal agency performance regarding access to federally conducted and federally assisted programs and activities for individuals who are limited in their English proficiency;

(2)

to require each Federal agency to examine the services it provides and develop and implement a system by which limited-English-proficient individuals can obtain cultural competence and meaningful access to those services consistent with, and without substantially burdening, the fundamental mission of the agency;

(3)

to require each Federal agency to ensure that recipients of Federal financial assistance provide cultural competence and meaningful access to their limited-English-proficient applicants and beneficiaries;

(4)

to ensure that recipients of Federal financial assistance take reasonable steps, consistent with the guidelines set forth in the limited-English proficient Guidance of the Department of Justice (as issued on June 12, 2002), to ensure cultural competence and meaningful access to their programs and activities by limited-English-proficient individuals; and

(5)

to ensure compliance with title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that health care providers and organizations do not discriminate in the provision of services.

(b)

Federally conducted programs and activities

(1)

In general

Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this title, each Federal agency that carries out health-care-related activities shall prepare a plan to improve access cultural competence to the federally conducted, health-care-related programs and activities of the agency by limited-English-proficient individuals. Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this title, each such Federal agency shall ensure that such plan is fully implemented.

(2)

Plan requirement

Each plan under paragraph (1) shall include—

(A)

the steps the agency will take to ensure that limited-English-proficient individuals have access to the agency’s federally conducted health care and health-care-related programs and activities;

(B)

the policies and procedures for identifying, assessing, and meeting the language needs and cultural competence needs of its limited-English-proficient beneficiaries served by federally conducted programs and activities;

(C)

the steps the agency will take for its federally conducted programs and activities to improve cultural competence to provide a range of language assistance options, notice to limited-English-proficient individuals of the right to competent language services, periodic training of staff, monitoring and quality assessment of the language services and, in appropriate circumstances, the translation of written materials;

(D)

the steps the agency will take to ensure that applications, forms, and other relevant documents for its federally conducted programs and activities are competently translated into the primary language of a limited-English-proficient client where such materials are needed to improve access to federally conducted and federally assisted programs and activities for such a limited-English-proficient individual;

(E)

the resources the agency will provide to improve cultural competence to assist recipients of Federal funds to improve access to health care or health-care-related programs and activities for limited-English-proficient individuals;

(F)

the resources the agency will provide to ensure that competent language assistance is provided to limited-English-proficient patients by interpreters or trained bilingual staff; and

(G)

the resources the agency will provide to ensure that family, particularly minor children, and friends are not used to provide interpretation services, except—

(i)

in the case of a medical emergency where delay directly associated with obtaining a competent interpreter would jeopardize the health of the patient; or

(ii)

on request of the patient, who has been informed in his or her preferred language of the availability of free interpretation services, if the health care services provider has determined that the family or friend can provide competent interpreter services as defined in section 3400.

(3)

Submission of plan to DOJ

Each agency that is required to prepare a plan under paragraph (1) shall send a copy of such plan to the Department of Justice, which shall serve as the central repository of such plans.

(4)

Rule of construction

Paragraph (2)(G)(i) shall not be construed to mean that emergency rooms or similar entities that regularly provide health care services in medical emergencies are exempt from legal or regulatory requirements related to competent interpreter services.

(c)

Federally assisted programs and activities

(1)

In general

Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this title, each Federal agency providing health-care-related Federal financial assistance shall ensure that the guidance for recipients of Federal financial assistance developed by the agency to ensure compliance with title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.) is specifically tailored to the recipients of such assistance. Each agency shall send a copy of such guidance to the Department of Justice which shall serve as the central repository of the agency’s plans. After approval by the Department of Justice, each agency shall publish its guidance document in the Federal Register for public comment.

(2)

Requirements

The agency-specific guidance developed under paragraph (1) shall take into account the types of health care services provided by the recipients, the individuals served by the recipients, and other factors set out in such standards.

(3)

Existing guidances

A Federal agency that has developed a guidance for purposes of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall examine such existing guidance, as well as the programs and activities to which such guidance applies, to determine if modification of such guidance is necessary to comply with this subsection.

(4)

Consultation

Each Federal agency shall consult with the Department of Justice in establishing the guidances under this subsection.

(d)

Consultations

(1)

In general

In carrying out this section, each Federal agency that carriers out health care and health-care-related activities shall ensure that stakeholders, such as limited-English-proficient individuals and their representative organizations, recipients of Federal assistance, and other appropriate individuals or entities, have an adequate opportunity to provide input with respect to the actions of the agency.

(2)

Evaluation

Each Federal agency described in paragraph (1) shall evaluate the—

(A)

particular needs of the limited-English-proficient individuals served by the agency;

(B)

particular needs of the limited-English-proficient individuals served by the agency’s recipients of Federal financial assistance; and

(C)

burdens of compliance with the agency guidance and this section for the agency and its recipients.

3402.

National standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health care

(a)

Applicability

This section applies to any health program or activity, any part of which is receiving Federal financial assistance, including credits, subsidies, or contracts of insurance, or any program or activity that is administered by an executive agency or any entity established under title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or amendments made thereby), as such programs, activities, agencies, and entities are described in section 1557(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

(b)

Standards

The programs, activities, agencies, and entities described in subsection (a)—

(1)

shall implement strategies to recruit, retain, and promote individuals at all levels to maintain a diverse staff and leadership that can provide culturally and linguistically appropriate health care to patient populations of the service area of the programs, activities, agencies, and entities;

(2)

shall educate and train governance, leadership, and workforce at all levels and across all disciplines of the programs, activities, agencies, and entities in culturally and linguistically appropriate policies and practices on an ongoing basis;

(3)

shall offer and provide language assistance, including trained bilingual staff and interpreter services, to individuals who have limited-English proficiency or other communication needs, at no cost to them at all points of contact, and during all hours of operation, to facilitate timely access to all health care and services;

(4)

shall notify patients, in a culturally appropriate manner, of their right to receive language assistance services in their primary language, verbally and in writing;

(5)

shall not—

(A)

require an individual with limited-English proficiency to provide his or her own interpreter;

(B)

rely on an adult accompanying an individual with limited-English proficiency to interpret or facilitate communication, except—

(i)

in an emergency involving an imminent threat to the safety or welfare of an individual or the public where there is no qualified interpreter for the individual with limited-English proficiency immediately available; or

(ii)

where the individual with limited-English proficiency specifically requests that the accompanying adult interpret or facilitate communication, the accompanying adult agrees to provide such assistance, and reliance on that adult for such assistance is appropriate under the circumstances;

(C)

rely on a minor child to interpret or facilitate communication, except in an emergency involving an imminent threat to the safety or welfare of an individual or the public where there is no qualified interpreter for the individual with limited-English proficiency immediately available; or

(D)

rely on staff other than qualified bilingual or multilingual staff to communicate directly with individuals;

(6)

shall for each eligible LEP language group that constitutes 5 percent or 500 individuals, whichever is less, of the population of persons eligible to be served or likely to be affected or encountered in the service area of the organization, make available—

(A)

easily understood patient-related materials, including print and multimedia materials;

(B)

information or notices about termination of benefits; and

(C)

signage;

(7)

shall develop and implement clear goals, policies, operational plans, and management, accountability, and oversight mechanisms to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services and infuse them throughout the organization’s planning and operations;

(8)

shall conduct initial and ongoing organizational assessments of culturally and linguistically appropriate services-related activities and integrate valid linguistic, competence-related National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) measures into the internal audits, performance improvement programs, patient satisfaction assessments, continuous quality improvement activities, and outcomes-based evaluations of the organization and develop ways to standardize the assessments;

(9)

shall ensure that, consistent with the privacy protections provided for under the regulations promulgated under section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, data on an individual required to be collected pursuant to section 3101, including the individual’s alternative format preferences and policy modification needs, are—

(A)

collected in health records;

(B)

integrated into the organization’s management information systems; and

(C)

periodically updated;

(10)

shall maintain a current demographic, cultural, and epidemiological profile of the community, conduct regular assessments of community health assets and needs, and use the results to accurately plan for and implement services that respond to the cultural and linguistic characteristics of the service area of the organization;

(11)

shall develop participatory, collaborative partnerships with communities and utilize a variety of formal and informal mechanisms to facilitate community and patient involvement in designing, implementing, and evaluating policies and practices to ensure culturally and linguistically appropriate service-related activities;

(12)

shall ensure that conflict and grievance resolution processes are culturally and linguistically sensitive and capable of identifying, preventing, and resolving cross-cultural conflicts or complaints by patients;

(13)

shall regularly make available to the public information about their progress and successful innovations in implementing the standards under this section and provide public notice in their communities about the availability of this information; and

(14)

shall, if requested, regularly make available to the head of each Federal entity from which Federal funds are received, information about their progress and successful innovations in implementing the standards under this section as required by the head of such entity.

3403.

Robert T. Matsui Center for Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Health Care

(a)

Establishment

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, shall establish and support a center to be known as the Robert T. Matsui Center for Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Health Care (referred to in this section as the Center) to carry out the following activities:

(1)

Interpretation services

The Center shall provide resources via the internet to identify and link health care providers to competent interpreter and translation services.

(2)

Translation of written material

(A)

The Center shall provide, directly or through contract, vital documents from competent translation services for providers of health care and health-care-related services at no cost to such providers. Materials may be submitted for translation into non-English languages. Translation services shall be provided in a timely and reasonable manner. The quality of such translation services shall be monitored and reported publicly.

(B)

For each form developed or revised by the Secretary that will be used by LEP individuals in health care or health-care-related settings, the Center shall translate the form, at a minimum, into the top 15 non-English languages in the United States according to the most recent data from the American Community Survey or its replacement. The translation must be completed within 45 days of the Secretary receiving final approval of the form from the Office of Management and Budget.

(3)

Toll-free customer service telephone number

The Center shall provide, through a toll-free number, a customer service line for LEP individuals—

(A)

to obtain information about federally conducted or funded health programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP;

(B)

to obtain assistance with applying for or accessing these programs and understanding Federal notices written in English; and

(C)

to learn how to access language services.

(4)

Health information clearinghouse

(A)

In general

The Center shall develop and maintain an information clearinghouse to facilitate the provision of language services by providers of health care and health-care-related services to reduce medical errors, improve medical outcomes, to improve cultural competence, reduce health care costs caused by miscommunication with individuals with limited-English proficiency, and reduce or eliminate the duplication of effort to translate materials. The clearinghouse shall make such information available on the internet and in print. Such information shall include the information described in the succeeding provisions of this paragraph.

(B)

Document templates

The Center shall collect and evaluate for accuracy, develop, and make available templates for standard documents that are necessary for patients and consumers to access and make educated decisions about their health care, including the following:

(i)

Administrative and legal documents, including—

(I)

intake forms;

(II)

Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP forms, including eligibility information;

(III)

forms informing patient of HIPAA compliance and consent; and

(IV)

documents concerning informed consent, advanced directives, and waivers of rights.

(ii)

Clinical information, such as how to take medications, how to prevent transmission of a contagious disease, and other prevention and treatment instructions.

(iii)

Public health, patient education, and outreach materials, such as immunization notices, health warnings, or screening notices.

(iv)

Additional health or health-care-related materials as determined appropriate by the Director of the Center.

(C)

Structure of forms

In operating the clearinghouse, the Center shall—

(i)

ensure that the documents posted in English and non-English languages are culturally appropriate;

(ii)

allow public review of the documents before dissemination in order to ensure that the documents are understandable and culturally appropriate for the target populations;

(iii)

allow health care providers to customize the documents for their use;

(iv)

facilitate access to these documents;

(v)

provide technical assistance with respect to the access and use of such information; and

(vi)

carry out any other activities the Secretary determines to be useful to fulfill the purposes of the clearinghouse.

(D)

Language assistance programs

The Center shall provide for the collection and dissemination of information on current examples of language assistance programs and strategies to improve language services for LEP individuals, including case studies using de-identified patient information, program summaries, and program evaluations.

(E)

Cultural and linguistic competence materials

The Center shall provide information relating to culturally and linguistically competent health care for minority populations residing in the United States to all health care providers and health-care-related services at no cost. Such information shall include—

(i)

tenets of culturally and linguistically competent care;

(ii)

cultural and linguistic competence self-assessment tools;

(iii)

cultural and linguistic competence training tools;

(iv)

strategic plans to increase cultural and linguistic competence in different types of providers of health care and health-care-related services, including regional collaborations among health care organizations; and

(v)

cultural and linguistic competence information for educators, practitioners, and researchers.

(F)

Information about progress

The Center shall regularly collect and make publicly available information about the progress of entities receiving grants under section 3404 regarding successful innovations in implementing the obligations under this subsection and provide public notice in the entities’ communities about the availability of this information.

(b)

Director

The Center shall be headed by a Director who shall be appointed by, and who shall report to, the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

(c)

Availability of language access

The Director shall collaborate with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration to notify health care providers and health care organizations about the availability of language access services by the Center.

(d)

Education

The Secretary, directly or through contract, shall undertake a national education campaign to inform providers, LEP individuals, health professionals, graduate schools, and community health centers about—

(1)

Federal and State laws and guidelines governing access to language services;

(2)

the value of using trained interpreters and the risks associated with using family members, friends, minors, and untrained bilingual staff;

(3)

funding sources for developing and implementing language services; and

(4)

promising practices to effectively provide language services.

(e)

Authorization of appropriations

In addition to the amounts authorized under subsection (e)(8)(F), there are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

3404.

Innovations in cultural and linguistic competence grants

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, shall award grants to eligible entities to enable such entities to design, implement, and evaluate innovative, cost-effective programs to improve cultural competence and language access in health care for individuals with limited-English proficiency. The Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shall coordinate with, and ensure the participation of, other agencies including the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health, and the Office of Minority Health, regarding the design and evaluation of the grants program.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a) an entity shall—

(1)

be—

(A)

a city, county, Indian Tribe, State, territory, or subdivision thereof;

(B)

an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code;

(C)

a community health, mental health, or substance use center or clinic;

(D)

a solo or group physician practice;

(E)

an integrated health care delivery system;

(F)

a public hospital;

(G)

a health care group, university, or college; or

(H)

other entity designated by the Secretary; and

(2)

prepare and submit to the Secretary an application, at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such additional information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

An entity shall use funds received under a grant under this section to—

(1)

develop, implement, and evaluate models of providing competent interpretation services through onsite interpretation, telephonic interpretation, or video interpretation;

(2)

implement strategies to recruit, retain, and promote individuals at all levels of the organization to maintain a diverse staff and leadership that can promote and provide language services to patient populations of the service area of the organization;

(3)

develop and maintain a needs assessment that identifies the current demographic, cultural, and epidemiological profile of the community to accurately plan for and implement language services needed in service area of the organization;

(4)

develop a strategic plan to implement language services;

(5)

develop participatory, collaborative partnerships with communities encompassing the LEP patient populations being served to gain input in designing and implementing language services;

(6)

develop and implement grievance resolution processes that are culturally and linguistically sensitive and capable of identifying, preventing, and resolving complaints by LEP individuals;

(7)

develop short-term medical mental health interpretation training courses and incentives for bilingual health care staff who are asked to interpret in the workplace;

(8)

develop formal training programs, including continued professional development and education programs as well as supervision, for individuals interested in becoming dedicated health care interpreters and culturally competent providers;

(9)

provide staff language training instruction, which shall include information on the practical limitations of such instruction for nonnative speakers;

(10)

develop policies that address compensation in salary for staff who receive training to become either a staff interpreter or bilingual provider;

(11)

develop other language assistance services as determined appropriate by the Secretary;

(12)

develop, implement, and evaluate models of improving cultural competence, including cultural competence programs for community health workers; and

(13)

ensure that, consistent with the privacy protections provided for under the regulations promulgated under section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2 note) and any applicable State privacy laws, data on the individual patient or recipient’s race, ethnicity, and primary language are collected (and periodically updated) in health records and integrated into the organization’s information management systems or any similar system used to store and retrieve data.

(d)

Priority

In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to entities that primarily engage in providing direct care and that have developed partnerships with community organizations or with agencies with experience in improving language access.

(e)

Evaluation

(1)

By grantees

An entity that receives a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary an evaluation that describes, in the manner and to the extent required by the Secretary, the activities carried out with funds received under the grant, and how such activities improved access to health and health-care-related services and the quality of health care for individuals with limited-English proficiency. Such evaluation shall be collected and disseminated through the Robert T. Matsui Center for Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Health Care established under section 3403. The Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shall notify grantees of the availability of technical assistance for the evaluation and provide such assistance upon request.

(2)

By Secretary

The Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shall evaluate or arrange with other individuals or organizations to evaluate projects funded under this section.

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

3405.

Research on cultural and language competence

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, shall expand research concerning language access in the provision of health care.

(b)

Eligibility

The Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality may conduct the research described in subsection (a) or enter into contracts with other individuals or organizations to do so.

(c)

Use of funds

Research under this section shall be designed to do one or more of the following:

(1)

To identify the barriers to mental and behavioral services that are faced by LEP individuals.

(2)

To identify health care providers’ and health administrators’ attitudes, knowledge, and awareness of the barriers to quality health care services that are faced by LEP individuals.

(3)

To identify optimal approaches for delivering language access.

(4)

To identify best practices for data collection, including—

(A)

the collection by providers of health care and health-care-related services of data on the race, ethnicity, and primary language of recipients of such services, taking into account existing research conducted by the Government or private sector;

(B)

the development and implementation of data collection and reporting systems; and

(C)

effective privacy safeguards for collected data.

(5)

To develop a minimum data collection set for primary language.

(6)

To evaluate the most effective ways in which the Department can create or coordinate, and then subsidize or otherwise fund telephonic interpretation providers for health care providers, taking into consideration, among other factors, the flexibility necessary for such a system to accommodate variations in—

(A)

provider type;

(B)

languages needed and their frequency of use;

(C)

type of encounter;

(D)

time of encounter, including regular business hours and after hours; and

(E)

location of encounter.

(d)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

.

203.

Pilot program for improvement and development of State medical interpreting services

(a)

Grants authorized

The Secretary shall award one grant in accordance with this section to each of three States to assist each such State in designing, implementing, and evaluating a statewide program to provide onsite interpreter services under Medicaid.

(b)

Grant period

A grant awarded under this section is authorized for a period of three fiscal years beginning on October 1, 2019.

(c)

Preference

In awarding a grant under this section, the Secretary shall give preference to a State—

(1)

that has a high proportion of qualified LEP enrollees, as determined by the Secretary;

(2)

that has a large number of qualified LEP enrollees, as determined by the Secretary;

(3)

that has a high growth rate of the population of LEP individuals, as determined by the Secretary; and

(4)

that has a population of qualified LEP enrollees that is linguistically diverse, requiring interpreter services in at least 200 non-English languages.

(d)

Use of funds

A State receiving a grant under this section shall use the grant funds to—

(1)

ensure that all health care providers in the State participating in the State plan under Medicaid have access to onsite interpreter services, for the purpose of enabling effective communication between such providers and qualified LEP enrollees during the furnishing of items and services and administrative interactions;

(2)

establish, expand, procure, or contract for—

(A)

a statewide health care information technology system that is designed to achieve efficiencies and economies of scale with respect to onsite interpreter services provided to health care providers in the State participating in the State plan under Medicaid; and

(B)

an entity to administer such system, the duties of which shall include—

(i)

procuring and scheduling interpreter services for qualified LEP enrollees;

(ii)

procuring and scheduling interpreter services for LEP individuals seeking to enroll in the State plan under Medicaid;

(iii)

ensuring that interpreters receive payment for interpreter services rendered under the system; and

(iv)

consulting regularly with organizations representing consumers, interpreters, and health care providers; and

(3)

develop mechanisms to establish, improve, and strengthen the competency of the medical interpretation workforce that serves qualified LEP enrollees in the State, including a national certification process that is valid, credible, and vendor-neutral.

(e)

Application

To receive a grant under this section, a State shall submit an application at such time and containing such information as the Secretary may require, which shall include the following:

(1)

A description of the language access needs of individuals in the State enrolled in the State plan under Medicaid.

(2)

A description of the extent to which the program will—

(A)

use the grant funds for the purposes described in subsection (d);

(B)

meet the health care needs of rural populations of the State; and

(C)

collect information that accurately tracks the language services requested by consumers as compared to the language services provided by health care providers in the State participating in the State plan under Medicaid.

(3)

A description of how the program will be evaluated, including a proposal for collaboration with organizations representing interpreters, consumers, and LEP individuals.

(f)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Qualified LEP enrollee

The term qualified LEP enrollee means an individual—

(A)

who is limited-English proficient; and

(B)

who is enrolled in a State plan under Medicaid.

(2)

State

The term State has the meaning given the term in section 1101(a)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1301(a)(1)), for purposes of title XIX of such Act.

(3)

United States

The term United States has the meaning given the term in section 1101(a)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1301(a)(2)), for purposes of title XIX of such Act.

(g)

Funding

(1)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated $5,000,000 to carry out this section.

(2)

Availability of funds

The funds authorized by paragraph (1) shall be available without fiscal year limitation.

(3)

Increased Federal financial participation

Section 1903(a)(2)(E) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396b(a)(2)(E)), as amended by section 205(d)(1) of this Act, is further amended by inserting (or, in the case of a State receiving a grant under section 203 of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018, 100 percent for each quarter occurring during the grant period) after 90 percent.

(h)

Limitation

No Federal funds under this section may be used to provide interpreter services from a location outside the United States.

204.

Training tomorrow’s doctors for culturally and linguistically appropriate care: graduate medical education

(a)

Direct graduate medical education

Section 1886(h)(4) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(h)(4)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(L)

Treatment of culturally competency training

In determining a hospital’s number of full-time equivalent residents for purposes of this subsection, all the time that is spent by an intern or resident in an approved medical residency training program for education and training in cultural competency and linguistically appropriate service delivery shall be counted toward the determination of full-time equivalency.

.

(b)

Indirect medical education

Section 1886(d)(5)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(5)(B)) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating the clause (x) added by section 5505(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as clause (xi); and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new clause:

(xii)

The provisions of subparagraph (L) of subsection (h)(4) shall apply under this subparagraph in the same manner as they apply under such subsection.

.

(c)

Effective date

The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall apply with respect to payments made to hospitals on or after the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

205.

Federal reimbursement for culturally and linguistically appropriate services under the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance Programs

(a)

Language Access grants for Medicare Providers

(1)

Establishment

(A)

In general

Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and in consultation with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, shall establish a demonstration program under which the Secretary shall award grants to eligible Medicare service providers to improve communication between such providers and Medicare beneficiaries who are English learners, including beneficiaries who live in diverse and underserved communities.

(B)

Application of innovation rules

The demonstration project under subparagraph (A) shall be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the applicable provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 1115A of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1315a).

(C)

Number of grants

To the extent practicable, the Secretary shall award not less than 24 grants under this subsection.

(D)

Grant period

Except as provided under paragraph (2)(D), each grant awarded under this subsection shall be for a 3-year period.

(2)

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for a grant under this subsection, an entity must meet the following requirements:

(A)

Medicare provider

The entity must be—

(i)

a provider of services under part A of title XVIII of the Social Security Act;

(ii)

a provider of services under part B of such title;

(iii)

a Medicare Advantage organization offering a Medicare Advantage plan under part C of such title; or

(iv)

a PDP sponsor offering a prescription drug plan under part D of such title.

(B)

Underserved communities

The entity must serve a community that, with respect to necessary language services for improving access and utilization of health care among English learners, is disproportionally underserved.

(C)

Application

The entity must prepare and submit to the Secretary an application, at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such additional information as the Secretary may require.

(D)

Reporting

In the case of a grantee that received a grant under this subsection in a previous year, such grantee is only eligible for continued payments under a grant under this subsection if the grantee met the reporting requirements under paragraph (9) for such year. If a grantee fails to meet the requirement of such paragraph for the first year of a grant, the Secretary may terminate the grant and solicit applications from new grantees to participate in the demonstration program.

(3)

Distribution

To the extent feasible, the Secretary shall award—

(A)

at least 6 grants to providers of services described in paragraph (2)(A)(i);

(B)

at least 6 grants to service providers described in paragraph (2)(A)(ii);

(C)

at least 6 grants to organizations described in paragraph (2)(A)(iii); and

(D)

at least 6 grants to sponsors described in paragraph (2)(A)(iv).

(4)

Considerations in awarding grants

(A)

Variation in grantees

In awarding grants under this subsection, the Secretary shall select grantees to ensure the following:

(i)

The grantees provide many different types of language services.

(ii)

The grantees serve Medicare beneficiaries who speak different languages, and who, as a population, have differing needs for language services.

(iii)

The grantees serve Medicare beneficiaries in both urban and rural settings.

(iv)

The grantees serve Medicare beneficiaries in at least two geographic regions, as defined by the Secretary.

(v)

The grantees serve Medicare beneficiaries in at least two large metropolitan statistical areas with racial, ethnic, sexual, gender, disability, and economically diverse populations.

(B)

Priority for partnerships with community organizations and agencies

In awarding grants under this subsection, the Secretary shall give priority to eligible entities that have a partnership with—

(i)

a community organization; or

(ii)

a consortia of community organizations, State agencies, and local agencies,

that has experience in providing language services.
(5)

Use of funds for competent language services

(A)

In general

Subject to subparagraph (E), a grantee may only use grant funds received under this subsection to pay for the provision of competent language services to Medicare beneficiaries who are English learners.

(B)

Competent language services defined

For purposes of this subsection, the term competent language services means—

(i)

interpreter and translation services that—

(I)

subject to the exceptions under subparagraph (C)

(aa)

if the grantee operates in a State that has statewide health care interpreter standards, meet the State standards currently in effect; or

(bb)

if the grantee operates in a State that does not have statewide health care interpreter standards, utilizes competent interpreters who follow the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice; and

(II)

that, in the case of interpreter services, are provided through—

(aa)

onsite interpretation;

(bb)

telephonic interpretation; or

(cc)

video interpretation; and

(ii)

the direct provision of health care or health-care-related services by a competent bilingual health care provider.

(C)

Exceptions

The requirements of subparagraph (B)(i)(I) do not apply, with respect to interpreter and translation services and a grantee—

(i)

in the case of a Medicare beneficiary who is an English learner if—

(I)

such beneficiary has been informed, in the beneficiary’s primary language, of the availability of free interpreter and translation services and the beneficiary instead requests that a family member, friend, or other person provide such services; and

(II)

the grantee documents such request in the beneficiary’s medical record; or

(ii)

in the case of a medical emergency where the delay directly associated with obtaining a competent interpreter or translation services would jeopardize the health of the patient.

Clause (ii) shall not be construed to exempt emergency rooms or similar entities that regularly provide health care services in medical emergencies to patients who are English learners from any applicable legal or regulatory requirements related to providing competent interpreter and translation services without undue delay.
(D)

Medicare advantage organizations and PDP sponsors

If a grantee is a Medicare Advantage organization offering a Medicare Advantage plan under part C of title XVIII of the Social Security Act or a PDP sponsor offering a prescription drug plan under part D of such title, such entity must provide at least 50 percent of the grant funds that the entity receives under this subsection directly to the entity’s network providers (including all health providers and pharmacists) for the purpose of providing support for such providers to provide competent language services to Medicare beneficiaries who are English learners.

(E)

Administrative and reporting costs

A grantee may use up to 10 percent of the grant funds to pay for administrative costs associated with the provision of competent language services and for reporting required under paragraph (9).

(6)

Determination of amount of grant payments

(A)

In general

Payments to grantees under this subsection shall be calculated based on the estimated numbers of Medicare beneficiaries who are English learners in a grantee’s service area utilizing—

(i)

data on the numbers of English learners who speak English less than very well from the most recently available data from the Bureau of the Census or other State-based study the Secretary determines likely to yield accurate data regarding the number of such individuals in such service area; or

(ii)

data provided by the grantee, if the grantee routinely collects data on the primary language of the Medicare beneficiaries that the grantee serves and the Secretary determines that the data is accurate and shows a greater number of English learners than would be estimated using the data under clause (i).

(B)

Discretion of Secretary

Subject to subparagraph (C), the amount of payment made to a grantee under this subsection may be modified annually at the discretion of the Secretary, based on changes in the data under subparagraph (A) with respect to the service area of a grantee for the year.

(C)

Limitation on amount

The amount of a grant made under this subsection to a grantee may not exceed $500,000 for the period under paragraph (1)(D).

(7)

Assurances

Grantees under this subsection shall, as a condition of receiving a grant under this subsection—

(A)

ensure that clinical and support staff receive appropriate ongoing education and training in linguistically appropriate service delivery;

(B)

ensure the linguistic competence of bilingual providers;

(C)

offer and provide appropriate language services at no additional charge to each patient who is an English learner for all points of contact between the patient and the grantee, in a timely manner during all hours of operation;

(D)

notify Medicare beneficiaries of their right to receive language services in their primary language;

(E)

post signage in the primary languages commonly used by the patient population in the service area of the organization; and

(F)

ensure that—

(i)

primary language data are collected for recipients of language services and such data are consistent with standards developed under title XXXIV of the Public Health Service Act, as added by section 202 of this Act, to the extent such standards are available upon the initiation of the demonstration program; and

(ii)

consistent with the privacy protections provided under the regulations promulgated pursuant to section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2 note), if the recipient of language services is a minor or is incapacitated, primary language data are collected on the parent or legal guardian of such recipient.

(8)

No Cost Sharing

Medicare beneficiaries who are English learners shall not have to pay cost sharing or co-payments for competent language services provided under this demonstration program.

(9)

Reporting Requirements for grantees

Not later than the end of each calendar year, a grantee that receives funds under this subsection in such year shall submit to the Secretary a report that includes the following information:

(A)

The number of Medicare beneficiaries to whom competent language services are provided.

(B)

The primary languages of those Medicare beneficiaries.

(C)

The types of language services provided to such beneficiaries.

(D)

Whether such language services were provided by employees of the grantee or through a contract with external contractors or agencies.

(E)

The types of interpretation services provided to such beneficiaries, and the approximate length of time such service is provided to such beneficiaries.

(F)

The costs of providing competent language services.

(G)

An account of the training or accreditation of bilingual staff, interpreters, and translators providing services funded by the grant under this subsection.

(10)

Evaluation and report to Congress

Not later than 1 year after the completion of a 3-year grant under this subsection, the Secretary shall conduct an evaluation of the demonstration program under this subsection and shall submit to the Congress a report that includes the following:

(A)

An analysis of the patient outcomes and the costs of furnishing care to the Medicare beneficiaries who are English learners participating in the project as compared to such outcomes and costs for such Medicare beneficiaries not participating, based on the data provided under paragraph (9) and any other information available to the Secretary.

(B)

The effect of delivering language services on—

(i)

Medicare beneficiary access to care and utilization of services;

(ii)

the efficiency and cost effectiveness of health care delivery;

(iii)

patient satisfaction;

(iv)

health outcomes; and

(v)

the provision of culturally appropriate services provided to such beneficiaries.

(C)

The extent to which bilingual staff, interpreters, and translators providing services under such demonstration were trained or accredited and the nature of accreditation or training needed by type of provider, service, or other category as determined by the Secretary to ensure the provision of high-quality interpretation, translation, or other language services to Medicare beneficiaries if such services are expanded pursuant to subsection (c) of section 1907 of this Act.

(D)

Recommendations, if any, regarding the extension of such project to the entire Medicare Program, subject to the provisions of section 1115A(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1315a(c)).

(11)

Appropriations

There is appropriated to carry out this subsection, in equal parts from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under section 1817 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i) and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund under section 1841 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395t), $16,000,000 for each fiscal year of the demonstration program.

(12)

English learner defined

In this subsection, the term English learner has the meaning given such term in section 8101(20) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, except that subparagraphs (A), (B), and (D) of such section shall not apply.

(b)

Language services under the Medicare program

(1)

Inclusion as rural health clinic services

Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is amended—

(A)

in subsection (aa)(1)—

(i)

in subparagraph (B), by striking and at the end;

(ii)

by adding and at the end of subparagraph (C); and

(iii)

by inserting after subparagraph (C) the following new subparagraph:

(D)

language assistance services as defined in subsection (iii)(1),

; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(iii)

Language assistance services and related terms

(1)

The term language assistance services has the same meaning given the term language or language assistance services in section 3400 of the Public Health Service Act.

(2)

The term interpreter services has the meaning given the term qualified interpreter for an individual with limited-English proficiency in section 3400(3) of the Public Health Service Act.

(3)

The term qualified interpreter for an individual with limited-English proficiency means an interpreter who via a remote interpreting service or an onsite appearance—

(A)

adheres to generally accepted interpreter ethics principles, including client confidentiality;

(B)

has demonstrated proficiency in speaking and understanding both spoken English and at least one other spoken language; and

(C)

is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially and in a culturally competent manner, both receptively and expressly, to and from such language(s) and English, using any necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology, and phraseology.

(4)

The term qualified translator means a translator who—

(A)

adheres to generally accepted translator ethics principles, including client confidentiality;

(B)

has demonstrated proficiency in writing and understanding both written English and at least one other written non-English language; and

(C)

is able to translate effectively, accurately, and impartially to and from such language(s) and English, using any necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology, and phraseology.

(5)

The term English learner has the meaning given such term in section 8101(20) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, except that subparagraphs (A), (B), and (D) of such section shall not apply.

.

(2)

Coverage

Section 1832(a)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395k(a)(2)) is amended—

(A)

by striking and at the end of subparagraph (I);

(B)

by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (J) and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(K)

language services (as defined in paragraph (1) of section 1861(iii)) furnished by an interpreter (as defined in paragraph (3) of such section) or translator.

.

(3)

Payment

Section 1833(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(a)) is amended—

(A)

by striking and at the end of paragraph (8);

(B)

by striking the period at the end of paragraph (9) and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by inserting after paragraph (9) the following new paragraph:

(10)

in the case of language services described in section 1861(iii)(1), 100 percent of the reasonable charges for such services, as determined in consultation with the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission; and

.

(4)

Waiver of budget neutrality

For the 3-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this section, the budget neutrality provision of section 1848(c)(2)(B)(ii) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–4(c)(2)(B)(ii)) shall not apply with respect to language services (as such term is defined in section 1861(iii)(1) of such Act).

(c)

Medicare parts C and D

(1)

In general

Medicare Advantage plans under part C of the Social Security Act and prescription drug plans under part D of such Act shall comply with title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18116) to provide effective language services to enrollees of such plans.

(2)

Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans reporting requirement

Section 1857(e) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–27(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(5)

Reporting requirements relating to effective language services

A contract under this part shall require a Medicare Advantage organization (and, through application of section 1860D–12(b)(3)(D), a contract under section 1860D–12 shall require a PDP sponsor) to annually submit (for each year of the contract) a report that contains information on the plan’s internal policies and procedures related to recruitment and retention efforts directed to workforce diversity and linguistically and culturally appropriate provision of services in each of the following contexts:

(A)

The collection of data in a manner that meets the requirements of title I of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018, regarding the enrollee population.

(B)

Education of staff and contractors who have routine contact with enrollees regarding the various needs of the diverse enrollee population.

(C)

Evaluation of the health plan’s language services programs and services with respect to the plan’s enrollee population, such as through analysis of complaints or satisfaction survey results.

(D)

Methods by which the plan provides to the Secretary information regarding the ethnic diversity of the plan’s enrollee population.

(E)

The periodic provision of educational information to plan enrollees on the plan’s language services and programs.

.

(d)

Improving language services in Medicaid and CHIP

(1)

Payments to States

Section 1903(a)(2)(E) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396b(a)(2)(E)) is amended by—

(A)

striking 75 and inserting 90;

(B)

striking translation or interpretation services and inserting language services; and

(C)

striking children of families and inserting individuals.

(2)

State plan requirements

Section 1902(a)(10)(A) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)(10)(A)) is amended by striking and (28) and inserting (28), and (29).

(3)

Definition of medical assistance

Section 1905(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(a)) is amended by—

(A)

in paragraph (28), by striking and at the end;

(B)

by redesignating paragraph (29) as paragraph (30); and

(C)

by inserting after paragraph (28) the following new paragraph:

(29)

language services, as such term is defined in section 1861(iii)(1), provided in a timely manner to English learners (as defined in section 1861(iii)(5)) who need such services; and

.

(4)

Use of deductions and cost sharing

Section 1916(a)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396o(2)) is amended by—

(A)

by striking or at the end of subparagraph (D);

(B)

by striking ; and at the end of subparagraph (E) and inserting , or; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(F)

language services described in section 1905(a)(29); and

.

(5)

CHIP coverage requirements

Section 2103 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1397cc) is amended—

(A)

in subsection (a), in the matter before paragraph (1), by striking and (7) and inserting (7), and (9); and

(B)

in subsection (c), by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(9)

Language services

The child health assistance provided to a targeted low-income child shall include coverage of language services, as such term is defined in section 1861(iii)(1), provided in a timely manner to English learners (as defined in section 1861(iii)(5)) who need such services.

; and

(C)

in subsection (e)(2)—

(i)

in the heading, by striking preventive and inserting certain; and

(ii)

by inserting or subsection (c)(9) after subsection (c)(1)(D).

(6)

Definition of child health assistance

Section 2110(a)(27) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1397jj) is amended by striking translation and inserting language services as described in section 2103(c)(9).

(7)

State data collection

Pursuant to the reporting requirement described in section 2107(b)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1397gg(b)(1)), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall require that States collect data on—

(A)

the primary language of individuals receiving child health assistance under title XXI of the Social Security Act; and

(B)

in the case of such individuals who are minors or incapacitated, the primary language of the individual’s parent or guardian.

(8)

CHIP payments to States

Section 2105 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1397ee(c)) is amended—

(A)

in subsection (a)(1), by striking 75 and inserting 90; and

(B)

in subsection (c)(2)(A), by inserting before the period at the end the following: , except that expenditures pursuant to clause (iv) of subparagraph (D) of such paragraph shall not count towards this total.

(e)

Funding language services furnished by providers of health care and health-Care-Related services that serve high rates of uninsured LEP individuals

(1)

Payment of costs

(A)

In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall make payments (on a quarterly basis) directly to eligible entities to support the provision of language services to English learners in an amount equal to an eligible entity’s eligible costs for such services for the quarter.

(B)

Funding

Out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated to the Secretary of Health and Human Services such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2017 through 2021.

(C)

Relation to Medicaid DSH

Payments under this subsection shall not offset or reduce payments under section 1923 of the Social Security Act, nor shall payments under such section be considered when determining uncompensated costs associated with the provision of language services.

(2)

Methodology for payment of claims

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall establish a methodology to determine the average per person cost of language services.

(B)

Different entities

In establishing such methodology, the Secretary may establish different methodologies for different types of eligible entities.

(C)

No individual claims

The Secretary may not require eligible entities to submit individual claims for language services for individual patients as a requirement for payment under this subsection.

(3)

Data collection instrument

For purposes of this subsection, the Secretary shall create a standard data collection instrument that is consistent with any existing reporting requirements by the Secretary or relevant accrediting organizations regarding the number of individuals to whom language access are provided.

(4)

Guidelines

Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall establish and distribute guidelines concerning the implementation of this subsection.

(5)

Reporting requirements

(A)

Report to Secretary

Entities receiving payment under this subsection shall provide the Secretary with a quarterly report on how the entity used such funds. Such report shall contain aggregate (and may not contain individualized) data collected using the instrument under paragraph (3) and shall otherwise be in a form and manner determined by the Secretary.

(B)

Report to Congress

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, and every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary shall submit a report to Congress concerning the implementation of this subsection.

(6)

Definitions

In this subsection:

(A)

Eligible costs

The term eligible costs means, with respect to an eligible entity that provides language services to English learners, the product of—

(i)

the average per person cost of language services, determined according to the methodology devised under paragraph (2); and

(ii)

the number of English learners who are provided language services by the entity and for whom no reimbursement is available for such services under the amendments made by subsections (a), (b), (c), or (d) or by private health insurance.

(B)

Eligible entity

The term eligible entity means an entity that—

(i)

is a Medicaid provider that is—

(I)

a physician;

(II)

a hospital with a low-income utilization rate (as defined in section 1923(b)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396r–4(b)(3))) of greater than 25 percent; or

(III)

a federally qualified health center (as defined in section 1905(l)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(l)(2)(B)));

(ii)

provide language services to at least 8 percent of the entity’s total number of patients, not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of the Act; and

(iii)

prepare and submit an application to the Secretary, at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Secretary may require to ascertain the entity’s eligibility for funding under this subsection.

(C)

English learner

The term English learner has the meaning given such term in section 8101(20) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, except that subparagraphs (A), (B), and (D) of such section shall not apply.

(D)

Language services

The term language services has the meaning given such term in section 1861(iii)(1) of the Social Security Act.

(f)

Application of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit otherwise existing obligations of recipients of Federal financial assistance under title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000(d) et seq.) or other laws that protect the civil rights of individuals.

(g)

Effective date

(1)

In general

Except as otherwise provided and subject to paragraph (2), the amendments made by this section shall take effect on January 1, 2017.

(2)

Exception if State legislation required

In the case of a State plan for medical assistance under title XIX of the Social Security Act which the Secretary of Health and Human Services determines requires State legislation (other than legislation appropriating funds) in order for the plan to meet the additional requirement imposed by the amendments made by this section, the State plan shall not be regarded as failing to comply with the requirements of such title solely on the basis of its failure to meet this additional requirement before the first day of the first calendar quarter beginning after the close of the first regular session of the State legislature that begins after the date of the enactment of this Act. For purposes of the previous sentence, in the case of a State that has a 2-year legislative session, each year of such session shall be deemed to be a separate regular session of the State legislature.

206.

Increasing understanding of and improving health literacy

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, in consultation with the Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, shall award grants to eligible entities to improve health care for patient populations that have low functional health literacy.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an entity shall—

(1)

be a hospital, health center or clinic, health plan, or other health entity (including a nonprofit minority health organization or association); and

(2)

prepare and submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

(1)

Agency for healthcare research and quality

Grants awarded under subsection (a) through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shall be used—

(A)

to define and increase the understanding of health literacy;

(B)

to investigate the correlation between low health literacy and health and health care;

(C)

to clarify which aspects of health literacy have an effect on health outcomes; and

(D)

for any other activity determined appropriate by the Director of the Agency.

(2)

Health resources and services administration

Grants awarded under subsection (a) through the Health Resources and Services Administration shall be used to conduct demonstration projects for interventions for patients with low health literacy that may include—

(A)

the development of new disease management programs for patients with low health literacy;

(B)

the tailoring of existing disease management programs addressing mental, physical, oral, and behavioral health conditions for patients with low health literacy;

(C)

the translation of written health materials for patients with low health literacy;

(D)

the identification, implementation, and testing of low health literacy screening tools;

(E)

the conduct of educational campaigns for patients and providers about low health literacy; and

(F)

other activities determined appropriate by the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

(d)

Definitions

In this section, the term low health literacy means the inability of an individual to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

(e)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

207.

Assurances for receiving Federal funds

(a)

In general

Any health program or activity, any part of which is receiving Federal financial assistance, including credits, subsidies, or contracts of insurance, and any program or activity that is administered by an executive agency or any entity established under title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or amendments made thereby), as such programs, activities, agencies, and entities are described in section 1557(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18116), in order to ensure the right of LEP individuals to receive access to quality health care, shall—

(1)

ensure that appropriate clinical and support staff receive ongoing education and training in linguistically appropriate service delivery;

(2)

offer and provide appropriate language assistance services at no additional charge to each patient with limited-English-proficiency at all points of contact, in a timely manner during all hours of operation;

(3)

notify patients of their right to receive language services in their primary language; and

(4)

utilize only qualified interpreters for an individual with limited-English proficiency or qualified translators, as defined in section 3400 of the Public Health Service Act.

(b)

Exemptions

The requirements of subsection (a)(4) shall not apply as follows:

(1)

When a patient (who has been informed in his or her primary language of the availability of free interpreter and translation services) requests the use of family, friends, or other persons untrained in interpretation or translation if the following conditions are met:

(A)

The interpreter requested by the patient is over the age of 18.

(B)

The recipient informs the patient that he or she has the option of having the recipient provide an interpreter for him or her without charge, or of using his or her own interpreter.

(C)

The recipient informs the patient that the recipient may not require an LEP person to use a family member or friend as an interpreter.

(D)

The recipient evaluates whether the person the patient wishes to use as an interpreter is competent. If the recipient has reason to believe that the interpreter is not competent, the recipient provides the recipient’s own interpreter to protect the recipient from liability if the patient’s interpreter is later found not competent.

(E)

If the recipient has reason to believe that there is a conflict of interest between the interpreter and patient, the recipient may not use the patient’s interpreter.

(F)

The recipient has the patient sign a waiver, witnessed by at least 1 individual not related to the patient, that includes the information stated in subparagraphs (A) through (E) and is translated into the patient’s language.

(2)

When a medical emergency exists and the delay directly associated with obtaining competent interpreter or translation services would jeopardize the health of the patient, but only until a competent interpreter or translation service is available.

(c)

Rule of construction

Subsection (b)(2) shall not be construed to mean that emergency rooms or similar entities that regularly provide health care services in medical emergencies are exempt from legal or regulatory requirements related to competent interpreter services.

208.

Report on Federal efforts to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services

(a)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall enter into a contract with the National Academy of Medicine for the preparation and publication of a report that describes Federal efforts to ensure that all individuals with limited-English proficiency have meaningful access culturally competent to health care and health-care-related services. Such report shall include—

(1)

a description and evaluation of the activities carried out under this Act;

(2)

a description and analysis of best practices, model programs, guidelines, and other effective strategies for providing access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services;

(3)

recommendations on the development and implementation of policies and practices by providers of health care and health-care-related services for limited-English-proficient individuals;

(4)

recommend guidelines or standards for health literacy and plain language, informed consent, discharge instructions, and written communications, and for improvement of health care access;

(5)

a description of the effect of providing language services on quality of health care and access to care; and

(6)

a description of the costs associated with or savings related to the provision of language services.

(b)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

209.

English for speakers of other languages

(a)

Grants authorized

The Secretary of Education is authorized to provide grants to eligible entities for the provision of English as a second language (in this section referred to ESL) instruction and shall determine, after consultation with appropriate stakeholders, the mechanism for administering and distributing such grants.

(b)

Eligible entity defined

For purposes of this section, the term eligible entity means a State or community-based organization that employs, and serves, minority populations.

(c)

Application

An eligible entity may apply for a grant under this section by submitting such information as the Secretary may require and in such form and manner as the Secretary may require.

(d)

Use of grant

As a condition of receiving a grant under this section, an eligible entity shall—

(1)

develop and implement a plan for assuring the availability of ESL instruction that effectively integrates information about the nature of the United States health care system, how to access care, and any special language skills that may be required for them to access and regularly negotiate the system effectively;

(2)

develop a plan, including, where appropriate, public-private partnerships, for making ESL instruction progressively available to all individuals seeking instruction; and

(3)

maintain current ESL instruction efforts by using the additional funds to supplement rather than supplant any funds expended for ESL instruction in the State as of January 1, 2019.

(e)

Additional duties of the secretary

The Secretary of Education shall—

(1)

collect and publicize annual data on how much Federal, State, and local governments spend on ESL instruction;

(2)

collect data from State and local governments to identify the unmet needs of English language learners for appropriate ESL instruction, including—

(A)

the preferred written and spoken language of such English language learners;

(B)

the extent of waiting lists including how many programs maintain waiting lists and, for programs that do not have waiting lists, the reasons why not;

(C)

the availability of programs to geographically isolated communities;

(D)

the impact of course enrollment policies, including open enrollment, on the availability of ESL instruction;

(E)

the number individuals in the State and each participating locality;

(F)

the effectiveness of the instruction in meeting the needs of individuals receiving instruction and those needing instruction;

(G)

as assessment of the need for programs that integrate job training and ESL instruction, to assist individuals to obtain better jobs; and

(H)

the availability of ESL slots by State and locality;

(3)

determine the cost and most appropriate methods of making ESL instruction available to all English language learners seeking instruction; and

(4)

not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, issue a report to Congress that assesses the information collected in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) and makes recommendations on steps that should be taken to progressively realize the goal of making ESL instruction available to all English language learners seeking instruction.

(f)

Authorization of Appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Education $250,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2022 to carry out this section.

210.

Implementation

(a)

General provisions

(1)

A State shall not be immune under the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution of the United States from suit in Federal court for failing to provide the language access funded pursuant to this title.

(2)

In a suit against a State for a violation of this title, remedies (including remedies at both at law and in equity) are available for such a violation to the same extent as such remedies are available for such a violation in the suit against any public or private entity other than a State.

(b)

Rule of construction

Nothing in this title shall be construed to limit otherwise existing obligations of recipients of Federal financial assistance under title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000(d) et seq.) or any other statute.

211.

Language access services

(a)

Essential benefits

Section 1302(b)(1) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18022(b)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(K)

Language access services, including oral interpretation and written translations.

.

(b)

Employer-Sponsored minimum essential coverage

(1)

In general

Section 36B(c)(2)(C) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by redesignating clauses (iii) and (iv) as clauses (iv) and (v), respectively, and by inserting after clause (ii) the following new clause:

(iii)

Coverage must include language access and services

Except as provided in clause (iv), an employee shall not be treated as eligible for minimum essential coverage if such coverage consists of an eligible employer-sponsored plan (as defined in section 5000A(f)(2)) and the plan does not provide coverage for language access services, including oral interpretation and written translations.

.

(2)

Conforming amendments

(A)

Section 36B(c)(2)(C) of such Code is amended by striking clause (iii) each place it appears in clauses (i) and (ii) and inserting clause (iv).

(B)

Section 36B(c)(2)(C)(iv) of such Code, as redesignated by this subsection, is amended by striking (i) and (ii) and inserting (i), (ii), and (iii).

(c)

Quality Reporting

Section 2717(a)(1) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg–17(a)(1)) is amended—

(1)

by striking and at the end of subparagraph (C);

(2)

by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (D) and inserting ; and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(E)

reduce health disparities through the provision of language access services, including oral interpretation and written translations.

.

(d)

Regulations regarding internal claims and appeals and external review processes for health plans and health insurance issuers

The Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall amend the regulations in section 54.9815–2719T(e) of title 26, Code of Federal Regulations, section 2590.715–2719(e) of title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, and section 147.136(e) of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, respectively, to require group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage to which such sections apply—

(1)

to provide oral interpretation services without any threshold requirements;

(2)

to provide in the English versions of all notices a statement prominently displayed in not less than 15 non-English languages clearly indicating how to access the language services provided by the plan or issuer; and

(3)

with respect to written translations of notices, to apply a threshold that 5 percent of the population or at least 500 individuals per service area are literate only in the same non-English language in lieu of 10 percent or more residing in a county.

(e)

Data collection and reporting

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall—

(1)

amend the single streamlined application form developed pursuant to section 1413 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18083) to collect the preferred spoken and written language for each household member applying for coverage under a qualified health plan through an Exchange under title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act;

(2)

require navigators, certified application counselors, and other enrollment assisters to collect and report requests for language assistance; and

(3)

require the Federal and State call centers established pursuant to section 1311(d)(4)(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18031(d)(4)(b)) to submit an annual report documenting the number of language assistance requests, the types of languages requested, the range and average wait time for a consumer to speak with an interpreter, and any steps the call center and language line have taken to actively address some of the consumer complaints.

(f)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply to plan years beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.

III

Health workforce Diversity

301.

Amendment to the Public Health Service Act

Title XXXIV of the Public Health Service Act, as added by section 202, is amended by adding at the end the following:

A

Diversifying the Health Care Workplace

3411.

National Working Group on Workforce Diversity

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Bureau of Health Workforce within the Health Resources and Services Administration, shall award a grant to an entity determined appropriate by the Secretary for the establishment of a national working group on workforce diversity.

(b)

Representation

In establishing the national working group under subsection (a):

(1)

The grantee shall ensure that the group has representatives of the following:

(A)

The Health Resources and Services Administration.

(B)

The Department of Health and Human Services Data Council.

(C)

The Office of Minority Health of the Department of Health and Human Services.

(D)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

(E)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.

(F)

The Public Health Practice Program Office—Office of Workforce Policy and Planning.

(G)

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

(H)

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

(I)

The Institute of Medicine Study Committee for the 2004 workforce diversity report.

(J)

The Indian Health Service.

(K)

The Department of Education.

(L)

Minority-serving academic institutions.

(M)

Consumer organizations.

(N)

Health professional associations, including those that represent underrepresented minority populations.

(O)

Researchers in the area of health workforce.

(P)

Health workforce accreditation entities.

(Q)

Private (including nonprofit) foundations that have sponsored workforce diversity initiatives.

(R)

Local and State health departments.

(S)

Representatives of community members to be included on admissions committees for health profession schools pursuant to subsection (c)(8).

(T)

National community-based organizations that serve as a national intermediary to their urban affiliate members and have demonstrated capacity to train health care professionals.

(U)

Other entities determined appropriate by the Secretary.

(V)

The Veterans Health Administration.

(2)

The grantee shall ensure that, in addition to the representatives under paragraph (1), the group has not less than 5 health professions students representing various health profession fields and levels of training.

(c)

Activities

The working group established under subsection (a) shall convene at least twice each year to complete the following activities:

(1)

Review current public and private health workforce diversity initiatives.

(2)

Identify successful health workforce diversity programs and practices.

(3)

Examine challenges relating to the development and implementation of health workforce diversity initiatives.

(4)

Draft a national strategic work plan for health workforce diversity, including recommendations for public and private sector initiatives.

(5)

Develop a framework and methods for the evaluation of current and future health workforce diversity initiatives.

(6)

Develop recommended standards for workforce diversity that could be applicable to all health professions programs and programs funded under this Act.

(7)

Develop guidelines to train health professionals to care for a diverse population.

(8)

Develop a workforce data collection or tracking system to identify where racial and ethnic minority health professionals practice.

(9)

Develop a strategy for the inclusion of community members on admissions committees for health profession schools.

(10)

Helping with monitoring and implementation of standards for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

(11)

Other activities determined appropriate by the Secretary.

(d)

Annual report

Not later than 1 year after the establishment of the working group under subsection (a), and annually thereafter, the working group shall prepare and make available to the general public for comment, an annual report on the activities of the working group. Such report shall include the recommendations of the working group for improving health workforce diversity.

(e)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3412.

Technical Clearinghouse for Health workforce Diversity

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, and in collaboration with the Bureau of Health Workforce within the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, shall establish a technical clearinghouse on health workforce diversity within the Office of Minority Health and coordinate current and future clearinghouses.

(b)

Information and services

The clearinghouse established under subsection (a) shall offer the following information and services:

(1)

Information on the importance of health workforce diversity.

(2)

Statistical information relating to underrepresented minority representation in health and allied health professions and occupations.

(3)

Model health workforce diversity practices and programs, including integrated models of care.

(4)

Admissions policies that promote health workforce diversity and are in compliance with Federal and State laws.

(5)

Retainment policies that promote completion of health profession degrees for underserved populations.

(6)

Lists of scholarship, loan repayment, and loan cancellation grants as well as fellowship information for underserved populations for health professions schools.

(7)

Foundation and other large organizational initiatives relating to health workforce diversity.

(c)

Consultation

In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall consult with non-Federal entities which may include minority health professional associations and minority sections of major health professional associations to ensure the adequacy and accuracy of information.

(d)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3413.

Support for Institutions committed to workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall award grants to eligible entities that demonstrate a commitment to health workforce diversity.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an entity shall—

(1)

be an educational institution or entity that historically produces or trains meaningful numbers of underrepresented minority health professionals, including—

(A)

historically Black colleges and universities;

(B)

Hispanic-serving health professions schools;

(C)

Hispanic-serving institutions;

(D)

Tribal colleges and universities;

(E)

Asian-American, Native American, and Pacific Islander-serving institutions;

(F)

institutions that have programs to recruit and retain underrepresented minority health professionals, in which a significant number of the enrolled participants are underrepresented minorities;

(G)

health professional associations, which may include underrepresented minority health professional associations; and

(H)

institutions, including national and regional community-based organizations with demonstrated commitment to a diversified workforce—

(i)

located in communities with predominantly underrepresented minority populations;

(ii)

with whom partnerships have been formed for the purpose of increasing workforce diversity; and

(iii)

in which at least 20 percent of the enrolled participants are underrepresented minorities; and

(2)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

Amounts received under a grant under subsection (a) shall be used to expand existing workforce diversity programs, implement new workforce diversity programs, or evaluate existing or new workforce diversity programs, including with respect to mental health care professions. Such programs shall enhance diversity by considering minority status as part of an individualized consideration of qualifications. Possible activities may include—

(1)

educational outreach programs relating to opportunities in the health professions;

(2)

scholarship, fellowship, grant, loan repayment, and loan cancellation programs;

(3)

postbaccalaureate programs;

(4)

academic enrichment programs, particularly targeting those who would not be competitive for health professions schools;

(5)

kindergarten through 12th grade and other health pipeline programs;

(6)

mentoring programs;

(7)

internship or rotation programs involving hospitals, health systems, health plans, and other health entities;

(8)

community partnership development for purposes relating to workforce diversity; or

(9)

leadership training.

(d)

Reports

Not later than 1 year after receiving a grant under this section, and annually for the term of the grant, a grantee shall submit to the Secretary a report that summarizes and evaluates all activities conducted under the grant.

(e)

Definition

In this section, the term Asian-American, Native American, and Pacific Islander-serving institutions has the same meaning as the term Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution as defined in section 371(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1067q(c)).

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3414.

Career development for scientists and researchers

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the National Institutes of Health, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, shall award grants that expand existing opportunities for scientists and researchers and promote the inclusion of underrepresented minorities in the health professions.

(b)

Research funding

The head of each entity within the Department of Health and Human Services shall establish or expand existing programs to provide research funding to scientists and researchers in training. Under such programs, the head of each such entity shall give priority in allocating research funding to support health research in traditionally underserved communities, including underrepresented minority communities, and research classified as community or participatory.

(c)

Data collection

The head of each entity within the Department of Health and Human Services shall collect data on the number (expressed as an absolute number and a percentage) of underrepresented minority and nonminority applicants who receive and are denied agency funding at every stage of review. Such data shall be reported annually to the Secretary and the appropriate committees of Congress.

(d)

Student loan reimbursement

The Secretary shall establish a student loan reimbursement program to provide student loan reimbursement assistance to researchers who focus on racial and ethnic disparities in health. The Secretary shall promulgate regulations to define the scope and procedures for the program under this subsection.

(e)

Student loan cancellation

The Secretary shall establish a student loan cancellation program to provide student loan cancellation assistance to researchers who focus on racial and ethnic disparities in health. Students participating in the program shall make a minimum 5-year commitment to work at an accredited health profession school. The Secretary shall promulgate additional regulations to define the scope and procedures for the program under this subsection.

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3415.

Career support for nonresearch Health professionals

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, shall establish a program to award grants to eligible individuals for career support in nonresearch-related health and wellness professions.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an individual shall—

(1)

be a student in a health professions school, a graduate of such a school who is working in a health profession, an individual working in a health or wellness profession (including mental and behavioral health), or a faculty member of such a school; and

(2)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

An individual shall use amounts received under a grant under this section to—

(1)

support the individual’s health activities or projects that involve underserved communities, including racial and ethnic minority communities;

(2)

support health-related career advancement activities;

(3)

to pay, or as reimbursement for payments of, student loans or training or credentialing costs for individuals who are health professionals and are focused on health issues affecting underserved communities, including racial and ethnic minority communities; and

(4)

to establish and promote leadership training programs to decrease health disparities and to increase cultural competence with the goal of increasing diversity in leadership positions.

(d)

Definition

In this section, the term career in nonresearch-related health and wellness professions means employment or intended employment in the field of public health, health policy, health management, health administration, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, psychology, social work, psychiatry, other mental and behavioral health, allied health, community health, social work, or other fields determined appropriate by the Secretary, other than in a position that involves research.

(e)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3416.

Research on the effect of workforce Diversity on quality

(a)

In general

The Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in collaboration with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and the Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, shall award grants to eligible entities to expand research on the link between health workforce diversity and quality health care.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an entity shall—

(1)

be a clinical, public health, or health services research entity or other entity determined appropriate by the Director; and

(2)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

Amounts received under a grant awarded under subsection (a) shall be used to support research that investigates the effect of health workforce diversity on—

(1)

language access;

(2)

cultural competence;

(3)

patient satisfaction;

(4)

timeliness of care;

(5)

safety of care;

(6)

effectiveness of care;

(7)

efficiency of care;

(8)

patient outcomes;

(9)

community engagement;

(10)

resource allocation;

(11)

organizational structure;

(12)

compliance of care; or

(13)

other topics determined appropriate by the Director.

(d)

Priority

In awarding grants under subsection (a), the Director shall give individualized consideration to all relevant aspects of the applicant’s background. Consideration of prior research experience involving the health of underserved communities shall be such a factor.

(e)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3417.

Health disparities education program

(a)

Establishment

The Secretary, acting through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and in collaboration with the Office of Minority Health, the Office for Civil Rights, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and other appropriate public and private entities, shall establish and coordinate a health and health care disparities education program to support, develop, and implement educational initiatives and outreach strategies that inform health care professionals and the public about the existence of and methods to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care.

(b)

Activities

The Secretary, through the education program established under subsection (a), shall, through the use of public awareness and outreach campaigns targeting the general public and the medical community at large—

(1)

disseminate scientific evidence for the existence and extent of racial and ethnic disparities in health care, including disparities that are not otherwise attributable to known factors such as access to care, patient preferences, or appropriateness of intervention, as described in the 2002 Institute of Medicine Report entitled Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, as well as the impact of disparities related to age, disability status, socioeconomic status, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation on racial and ethnic minorities;

(2)

disseminate new research findings to health care providers and patients to assist them in understanding, reducing, and eliminating health and health care disparities;

(3)

disseminate information about the impact of linguistic and cultural barriers on health care quality and the obligation of health providers who receive Federal financial assistance to ensure that people with limited-English proficiency have access to language access services;

(4)

disseminate information about the importance and legality of racial, ethnic, disability status, socioeconomic status, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and primary language data collection, analysis, and reporting;

(5)

design and implement specific educational initiatives to health care providers relating to health and health care disparities;

(6)

assess the impact of the programs established under this section in raising awareness of health and health care disparities and providing information on available resources; and

(7)

design and implement specific educational initiatives to educate the health care workforce relating to unconscious bias.

(c)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

.

302.

Hispanic-serving health professions schools

Part B of title VII of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 293 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

742.

Hispanic-serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges & Universities, and Tribal Colleges

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health and Human Resources and Services Administration, shall establish grants from the Department of Education to Hispanic-serving Institutions, Historically Black Colleges & Universities, and Tribal Colleges, including Regional community based organizations and national minority medical associations, for scholarships and counseling services to prepare underrepresented minority individuals to enroll in and graduate from health professional schools and to increase services for qualified students, including—

(1)

mentoring with underrepresented health professionals; and

(2)

providing financial assistance information for continued education and applications to health professional schools.

(b)

Eligibility

In subsection (a), the term Hispanic-serving Institutions means an entity that—

(1)

is a school or program under section 799B;

(2)

has an enrollment of full-time equivalent students that is made up of at least 9 percent Hispanic students;

(3)

has been effective in carrying out programs to recruit Hispanic individuals to enroll in and graduate from the school;

(4)

has been effective in recruiting and retaining Hispanic faculty members;

(5)

has a significant number of graduates who are providing health services to medically underserved populations or to individuals in health professional shortage areas; and

(6)

is a Regional Hispanic Center of Excellence.

(c)

Certain loan repayment programs

In carrying out the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program and loan repayment programs of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Secretary shall ensure that loan repayments of not less than $50,000 per year are awarded for repayment of loans incurred for enrollment or participation in schools and programs described in this section.

.

303.

Loan repayment program of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Section 317F(c) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247b–7(c)) is amended—

(1)

by striking and after 1994,; and

(2)

by inserting before the period at the end the following: , $750,000 for fiscal year 2019, and such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2020 through 2024.

304.

Cooperative agreements for online degree programs at schools of public health and schools of allied health

Part B of title VII of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 293 et seq.), as amended by section 302, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

743.

Cooperative agreements for online degree programs

(a)

Cooperative agreements

The Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, in consultation with the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, shall award cooperative agreements to schools of public health and schools of allied health to design and implement online degree programs.

(b)

Priority

In awarding cooperative agreements under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to any school of public health or school of allied health that has an established track record of serving medically underserved communities.

(c)

Requirements

Recipients of cooperative agreements under this section shall design and implement an online degree program that meets the following restrictions:

(1)

Enrollment of individuals who have obtained a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent.

(2)

Maintaining a significant enrollment of underrepresented minority or disadvantaged students.

(3)

Achieving a high completion rate of enrolled underrepresented minority or disadvantaged students.

(d)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

.

305.

Sense of Congress on the mission of the National Health Care Workforce Commission

It is the sense of Congress that the National Health Care Workforce Commission established by section 5101 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 294q) should, in carrying out its assigned duties under that section, give attention to the needs of racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with lower socioeconomic status, individuals with mental, developmental, and physical disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning populations, and individuals who are members of multiple minority or special population groups.

306.

Scholarship and fellowship programs

Subtitle A of title XXXIV of the Public Health Service Act, as added by section 301, is further amended by inserting after section 3417 the following:

3418.

David Satcher Public Health and Health Services Corps

(a)

In general

The Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, shall award grants to eligible entities to increase awareness among postprimary and postsecondary students of career opportunities in the health professions.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an entity shall—

(1)

be a clinical, public health, or health services organization, community-based or nonprofit entity, or other entity determined appropriate by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

(2)

serve a health professional shortage area, as determined by the Secretary;

(3)

work with students, including those from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, that have expressed an interest in the health professions; and

(4)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

Grant awards under subsection (a) shall be used to support internships that will increase awareness among students of non-research-based, career opportunities in the following health professions:

(1)

Medicine.

(2)

Nursing.

(3)

Public Health.

(4)

Pharmacy.

(5)

Health administration and management.

(6)

Health policy.

(7)

Psychology.

(8)

Dentistry.

(9)

International health.

(10)

Social work.

(11)

Allied health.

(12)

Psychiatry.

(13)

Hospice care.

(14)

Community health, patient navigation, and peer support.

(15)

Other professions deemed appropriate by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(d)

Priority

In awarding grants under subsection (a), the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shall give priority to those entities that—

(1)

serve a high proportion of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds;

(2)

have experience in health disparity elimination programs;

(3)

facilitate the entry of disadvantaged individuals into institutions of higher education; and

(4)

provide counseling or other services designed to assist disadvantaged individuals in successfully completing their education at the postsecondary level.

(e)

Stipends

The Secretary may approve stipends under this section for individuals for any period of education in student-enhancement programs (other than regular courses) at health professions schools, programs, or entities, except that such a stipend may not be provided to an individual for more than 6 months, and such a stipend may not exceed $20 per day (notwithstanding any other provision of law regarding the amount of stipends).

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3419.

Louis Stokes Public Health Scholars Program

(a)

In general

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, shall award scholarships to postsecondary students who seek a career in public health.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a scholarship under subsection (a), an individual shall—

(1)

have interest, knowledge, or skill in public health research or public health practice, or other health professions as determined appropriate by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

(2)

reside in a health professional shortage area as determined by the Secretary;

(3)

demonstrate promise for becoming a leader in public health;

(4)

secure admission to a 4-year institution of higher education;

(5)

comply with subsection (e); and

(6)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

Amounts received under an award under subsection (a) shall be used to support opportunities for students to become public health professionals.

(d)

Priority

In awarding grants under subsection (a), the Director shall give priority to those students that—

(1)

are from disadvantaged backgrounds;

(2)

have secured admissions to a minority-serving institution; and

(3)

have identified a health professional as a mentor at their school or institution and an academic advisor to assist in the completion of their baccalaureate degree.

(e)

Scholarships

The Secretary may approve payment of scholarships under this section for such individuals for any period of education in student undergraduate tenure, except that such a scholarship may not be provided to an individual for more than 4 years, and such scholarships may not exceed $10,000 per academic year (notwithstanding any other provision of law regarding the amount of scholarship).

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3420.

Patsy Mink Health and Gender Research Fellowship Program

(a)

In general

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Director of the Indian Health Services, shall award research fellowships to post-baccalaureate students to conduct research that will examine gender and health disparities and to pursue a career in the health professions.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a fellowship under subsection (a) an individual shall—

(1)

have experience in health research or public health practice;

(2)

reside in a health professional shortage area as determined by the Secretary;

(3)

have expressed an interest in the health professions;

(4)

demonstrate promise for becoming a leader in the field of women’s health;

(5)

secure admission to a health professions school or graduate program with an emphasis in gender studies;

(6)

comply with subsection (f); and

(7)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

Amounts received under an award under subsection (a) shall be used to support opportunities for students to become researchers and advance the research base on the intersection between gender and health.

(d)

Priority

In awarding grants under subsection (a), the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shall give priority to those applicants that—

(1)

are from disadvantaged backgrounds; and

(2)

have identified a mentor and academic advisor who will assist in the completion of their graduate or professional degree and have secured a research assistant position with a researcher working in the area of gender and health.

(e)

Fellowships

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may approve fellowships for individuals under this section for any period of education in the student’s graduate or health profession tenure, except that such a fellowship may not be provided to an individual for more than 3 years, and such a fellowship may not exceed $18,000 per academic year (notwithstanding any other provision of law regarding the amount of fellowship).

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3420A.

Paul David Wellstone International Health Fellowship Program

(a)

In general

The Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in collaboration with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, shall award research fellowships to college students or recent graduates to advance their understanding of international health.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a fellowship under subsection (a) an individual shall—

(1)

have educational experience in the field of international health;

(2)

reside in a health professional shortage area as determined by the Secretary;

(3)

demonstrate promise for becoming a leader in the field of international health;

(4)

be a college senior or recent graduate of a four-year higher education institution;

(5)

comply with subsection (e); and

(6)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

Amounts received under an award under subsection (a) shall be used to support opportunities for students to become health professionals and to advance their knowledge about international issues relating to health care access and quality.

(d)

Priority

In awarding grants under subsection (a), the Director shall give priority to those applicants that—

(1)

are from a disadvantaged background; and

(2)

have identified a mentor at a health professions school or institution, an academic advisor to assist in the completion of their graduate or professional degree, and an advisor from an international health non-governmental organization, private volunteer organization, or other international institution or program that focuses on increasing health care access and quality for residents in developing countries.

(e)

Fellowships

The Secretary shall approve fellowships for college seniors or recent graduates, except that such a fellowship may not be provided to an individual for more than 6 months, may not be awarded to a graduate that has not been enrolled in school for more than 1 year, and may not exceed $4,000 per academic year (notwithstanding any other provision of law regarding the amount of fellowship).

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3420B.

Edward R. Roybal Health Scholar Program

(a)

In general

The Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Administrator for Health Resources and Services Administration, in collaboration with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, shall award grants to eligible entities to expose entering graduate students to the health professions.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an entity shall—

(1)

be a clinical, public health, or health services organization, community-based, academic, or nonprofit entity, or other entity determined appropriate by the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality;

(2)

serve in a health professional shortage area as determined by the Secretary;

(3)

work with students obtaining a degree in the health professions; and

(4)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Use of funds

Amounts received under a grant awarded under subsection (a) shall be used to support opportunities that expose students to non-research-based health professions, including—

(1)

public health policy;

(2)

health care and pharmaceutical policy;

(3)

health care administration and management;

(4)

health economics; and

(5)

other professions determined appropriate by the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Administrator for Health Resources and Services Administration.

(d)

Priority

In awarding grants under subsection (a), the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shall give priority to those entities that—

(1)

have experience with health disparity elimination programs;

(2)

facilitate training in the fields described in subsection (c); and

(3)

provide counseling or other services designed to assist such individuals in successfully completing their education at the postsecondary level.

(e)

Stipends

The Secretary may approve the payment of stipends for individuals under this section for any period of education in student-enhancement programs (other than regular courses) at health professions schools or entities, except that such a stipend may not be provided to an individual for more than 2 months, and such a stipend may not exceed $100 per day (notwithstanding any other provision of law regarding the amount of stipends).

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3420C.

Leadership fellowship programs

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall award grants to entities to develop leadership fellowship programs for underrepresented health professionals to become future leaders in public health and health care delivery institutions.

.

307.

McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

Section 402E of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070a–15) is amended by striking subsection (g) and inserting the following:

(g)

Collaboration in Health profession Diversity training programs

The Secretary shall coordinate with the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure that there is collaboration between the goals of the program under this section and programs of the Health Resources and Services Administration that promote health workforce diversity. The Secretary of Education shall take such measures as may be necessary to encourage students participating in projects assisted under this section to consider health profession careers.

(h)

Funding

From amounts appropriated pursuant to the authority of section 402A(g), the Secretary shall, to the extent practicable, allocate funds for projects authorized by this section in an amount which is not less than $31,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2019 through 2025.

.

308.

Rules for determination of full-time equivalent residents for cost-reporting periods

(a)

DGME determinations

Section 1886(h)(4) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(h)(4)), as amended by section 204(a), is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (E), by striking Subject to subparagraphs (J) and (K), such rules and inserting Subject to subparagraphs (J), (K), and (M), such rules;

(2)

in subparagraph (J), by striking Such rules and inserting Subject to subparagraph (M), such rules;

(3)

in subparagraph (K), by striking In determining and inserting Subject to subparagraph (M), in determining; and

(4)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(M)

Treatment of certain residents and interns

For purposes of cost-reporting periods beginning on or after October 1, 2016, in determining the hospital’s number of full-time equivalent residents for purposes of this paragraph, all the time spent by an intern or resident in an approved medical residency training program shall be counted toward the determination of full-time equivalency if the hospital—

(i)

is recognized as a subsection (d) hospital;

(ii)

is recognized as a subsection (d) Puerto Rico hospital;

(iii)

is reimbursed under a reimbursement system authorized under section 1814(b)(3); or

(iv)

is a provider-based hospital outpatient department.

.

(b)

IME determinations

Section 1886(d)(5)(B)(x) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(5)(B)(x)) is amended—

(1)

in subclause (II), by striking In determining and inserting Subject to subclause (IV), in determining;

(2)

in subclause (III), by striking In determining and inserting Subject to subclause (IV), in determining; and

(3)

by inserting after subclause (III) the following new subclause:

(IV)

The provisions of subparagraph (L) of subsection (h)(4) shall apply under this subparagraph in the same manner as they apply under such subsection.

.

309.

Developing and implementing strategies for local health equity

(a)

Grants

The Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Education, and Labor, acting jointly, shall make grants to academic institutions for the purposes of—

(1)

in accordance with subsection (b), developing capacity—

(A)

to build an evidence base for successful strategies for increasing local health equity; and

(B)

to serve as national models of driving local health equity;

(2)

in accordance with subsection (c), developing a strategic partnership with the community in which the academic institution is located; and

(3)

collecting data on, and periodically evaluating, the effectiveness of the institution’s programs funded through this section to enable the institution to adapt accordingly for maximum efficiency and success.

(b)

Developing capacity for increasing local health equity

As a condition on receipt of a grant under subsection (a), an academic institution shall agree to use the grant to build an evidence base for successful strategies for increasing local health equity, and to serve as a national model of driving local health equity, by supporting—

(1)

resources to strengthen institutional metrics and capacity to execute institutionwide health workforce goals that can serve as models for increasing health equity in communities across the country;

(2)

collaborations among a cohort of institutions in implementing systemic change, partnership development, and programmatic efforts supportive of health equity goals across disciplines and populations; and

(3)

enhanced or newly developed data systems and research infrastructure capable of informing current and future workforce efforts and building a foundation for a broader research agenda targeting urban health disparities.

(c)

Strategic partnerships

As a condition on receipt of a grant under subsection (a), an academic institution shall agree to use the grant to develop a strategic partnership with the community in which the institution is located for the purposes of—

(1)

strengthening connections between the institution and the community—

(A)

to improve evaluation of and address the community’s health and health workforce needs; and

(B)

to engage the community in health workforce development;

(2)

developing, enhancing, or accelerating innovative undergraduate and graduate programs in the biomedical sciences and health professions; and

(3)

strengthening pipeline programs in the biomedical sciences and health professions, including by developing partnerships between institutions of higher education and elementary and secondary schools to recruit the next generation of health professionals earlier in the pipeline to a health care career.

310.

Loan forgiveness for mental and behavioral health social workers

Section 455 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087e) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(r)

Repayment plan for mental and behavioral health social workers

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall cancel the balance of interest and principal due on any eligible Federal Direct Loan not in default for a borrower who—

(A)

has made 120 monthly payments on the eligible Federal Direct Loan after October 1, 2016, pursuant to any one or a combination of the following—

(i)

payments under an income-based repayment plan under section 493C;

(ii)

payments under a standard repayment plan under subsection (d)(1)(A), based on a 10-year repayment period;

(iii)

monthly payments under a repayment plan under subsection (d)(1) or (g) of not less than the monthly amount calculated under subsection (d)(1)(A), based on a 10-year repayment period; or

(iv)

payments under an income contingent repayment plan under subsection (d)(1)(D); and

(B)
(i)

is employed as a mental health or behavioral health social worker, as defined by the Secretary by regulation, at the time of such forgiveness; and

(ii)

has been employed as such a mental health or behavioral health social worker during the period in which the borrower makes each of the 120 payments as described in subparagraph (A).

(2)

Loan cancellation amount

After the conclusion of the employment period described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall cancel the obligation to repay the balance of principal and interest due as of the time of such cancellation, on the eligible Federal Direct Loans made to the borrower under this part.

(3)

Ineligibility for double benefits

No borrower may, for the same employment as a mental health or behavioral health social worker, receive a reduction of loan obligations under both this subsection and subsection (m), 428J, 428K, 428L, or 460.

(4)

Definition of eligible Federal Direct Loan

In this subsection, the term eligible Federal Direct Loan means a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, Federal Direct PLUS Loan, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, or a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.

.

311.

Health Professions Workforce Fund

(a)

Purpose

It is the purpose of this section to establish a Health Professions Workforce Fund to be administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to provide for expanded and sustained national investment in the health professions and nursing workforce development programs under title VII and title VIII of the Public Health Service Act.

(b)

Establishing the Health Professions Workforce Fund

There is authorized to be appropriated, and there is appropriated, out of any monies in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to the Health Professions Workforce Fund—

(1)

$355,000,000 for fiscal year 2019;

(2)

$375,000,000 for fiscal year 2020;

(3)

$392,000,000 for fiscal year 2021;

(4)

$412,000,000 for fiscal year 2022;

(5)

$432,000,000 for fiscal year 2023;

(6)

$454,000,000 for fiscal year 2024;

(7)

$476,000,000 for fiscal year 2025;

(8)

$500,000,000 for fiscal year 2026;

(9)

$525,000,000 for fiscal year 2027; and

(10)

$552,000,000 for fiscal year 2028.

(c)

Funding

(1)

For the purpose of carrying out health professions education programs authorized under title VII of the Public Health Service Act, in addition to any other amounts authorized to be appropriated for such purpose, there is authorized to be appropriated out of any monies in the Health Professions Workforce Fund, the following:

(A)

$240,000,000 for fiscal year 2019.

(B)

$253,000,000 for fiscal year 2020.

(C)

$265,000,000 for fiscal year 2021.

(D)

$278,000,000 for fiscal year 2022.

(E)

$292,000,000 for fiscal year 2023.

(F)

$307,000,000 for fiscal year 2024.

(G)

$322,000,000 for fiscal year 2025.

(H)

$338,000,000 for fiscal year 2026.

(I)

$355,000,000 for fiscal year 2027.

(J)

$373,000,000 for fiscal year 2028.

(2)

For the purpose of carrying out nursing workforce development programs authorized under Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act, in addition to any other amounts authorized to be appropriated for such purpose, there is authorized to be appropriated out of any monies in the Health Professions Workforce Fund, the following:

(A)

$115,000,000 for fiscal year 2019.

(B)

$122,000,000 for fiscal year 2020.

(C)

$127,000,000 for fiscal year 2021.

(D)

$134,000,000 for fiscal year 2022.

(E)

$140,000,000 for fiscal year 2023.

(F)

$147,000,000 for fiscal year 2024.

(G)

$154,000,000 for fiscal year 2025.

(H)

$162,000,000 for fiscal year 2026.

(I)

$170,000,000 for fiscal year 2027.

(J)

$179,000,000 for fiscal year 2028.

312.

Findings; sense of Congress relating to graduate medical education

(a)

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Projections by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and other expert entities, such as the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), have indicated a nationwide shortage of up to 104,900 physicians, split evenly between primary care and specialists, by 2030.

(2)

Primarily due to the growing and aging population, over the next decade, physician demand is expected to grow up to 17 percent.

(3)

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the United States population will grow from 321 million in 2015 to 347 million in 2025. Further, the number of Medicare beneficiaries is estimated to increase from 47.8 million in 2015 to approximately 66 million in 2025.

(4)

Approximately 36 percent of practicing physicians are over the age of 55 and are likely to retire within the next decade.

(5)

A nationwide physician shortage will result in many Americans waiting longer and traveling farther for health care; seeking nonemergent care in emergency departments; and delaying treatment until their health care needs become more serious, complex, and costly.

(6)

Changing demographics (such as an aging population), new health care delivery models (such as medical homes), and other factors (such as disaster preparedness) are contributing to a shortage of both generalist and specialist physicians.

(7)

These shortages will have the most severe impact on vulnerable and underserved populations, including racial/ethnic minorities and the approximately 20 percent of Americans who live in rural or inner-city locations designated as health professional shortage areas.

(8)

The AAMC’s Health Care Utilization Equity model estimates that if racial and ethnic minorities and individuals from rural areas utilized health care in a similar way to their Caucasian counterparts living in metropolitan areas, the physician shortage would require an additional 96,000 physicians.

(9)

To address the physician shortage, medical education and training need to be accessible for students and physicians from all backgrounds. International graduates play an important role in U.S. health care, representing roughly 25 percent of the health care workforce. Immigration pathways like student, exchange-visitor, and employment visas, and programs like the National Interest Waiver and Conrad 30 J–1 Visa Waiver, help improve health access across the country.

(10)

United States medical schools have committed to and have initiated a 30 percent increase in enrollment by 2017 to help reduce the Nation’s shortage of quality physicians.

(11)

An increase in United States medical school graduates must be accompanied by an increase of 4,000 graduate medical education (GME) training positions each year.

(12)

Graduate medical education programs and teaching hospitals provide venues in which the next generation of physicians learns to work collaboratively with other physicians and health professionals, adopt more efficient care delivery models (such as care coordination and medical homes), incorporate health information technology and electronic health records in every aspect of their work, apply new methods of assuring quality and safety, and participate in groundbreaking clinical and public health research.

(13)

The Medicare Program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (having more beneficiaries than any other health care program), supports its fair share of the costs associated with graduate medical education (GME).

(14)

In general, the level of support of graduate medical education by the Medicare Program has been capped since 1997 and has not been increased to support the expansion of graduate medical education programs needed to avert the projected physician shortage or to accommodate the increase in United States medical school graduates.

(b)

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that eliminating the limit of the number of residency positions that receive some level of Medicare support under section 1886(h) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(h)), also referred to as the Medical graduate medical education cap, is critical to—

(1)

ensuring an appropriate supply of physicians to meet the Nation’s health care needs;

(2)

facilitating equitable access for all who seek health care; and

(3)

mitigating disparities in health and health care.

313.

Career support for skilled, internationally educated health professionals

(a)

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

According to the Association of Schools of Public Health, projections indicate a nationwide shortage of up to 250,000 public health workers needed by 2020.

(2)

Similar trends are projected for other health professions indicating shortages across disciplines, including within the fields of nursing (500,000 by 2025), dentistry (15,000 by 2025), pharmacy (38,000 by 2030), mental and behavioral health, primary care (46,000 by 2025), and community and allied health.

(3)

A nationwide health workforce shortage will result in serious health threats and more severe and costly health care needs, due to, in part, a delayed response to food-borne outbreaks, emerging infectious diseases, natural disasters, fewer cancer screenings, and delayed treatment.

(4)

Vulnerable and underserved populations and health professional shortage areas will be most severely impacted by the health workforce shortage.

(5)

According to the Migration Policy Institute, over 2,000,000 college-educated immigrants in the United States today are unemployed or underemployed in low- or semi-skilled jobs that fail to draw on their education and expertise.

(6)

Approximately 2 out of every 5 internationally educated immigrants are unemployed or underemployed.

(7)

According to Drexel University Center for Labor Markets and Policy, underemployment for internationally educated immigrant women is 28 percent higher than for their male counterparts.

(8)

According to the Drexel University Center for labor markets and policy, the mean annual earnings of underemployed immigrants were $32,000, or 43 percent less than United States born college graduates employed in the college labor market.

(9)

According to Upwardly Global and the Welcome Back Initiative, with proper guidance and support, underemployed skilled immigrants typically increase their income by 215 percent to 900 percent.

(10)

According to the Brookings Institution and the Partnership for a New American Economy, immigrants working in the health workforce are, on average, better educated than United States-born workers in the health workforce.

(b)

Grants to eligible entities

(1)

Authority to provide grants

The Secretary of Health and Human Services acting through the Bureau of Health Workforce within the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, or the Office of Minority Health (in this section referred to as the Secretary) may award grants to eligible entities to carry out activities described in subsection (c).

(2)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, an entity shall—

(A)

be a clinical, public health, or health services organization, a community-based or nonprofit entity, an academic institution, a faith-based organization, a State, county, or local government, an Area Health Education Center, or another entity determined appropriate by the Secretary; and

(B)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Authorized activities

A grant awarded under this section shall be used—

(1)

to provide services to assist unemployed and underemployed skilled immigrants, residing in the United States, who have legal, permanent work authorization and who are internationally educated health professionals, enter into the American health workforce with employment matching their health professional skills and education, and advance in employment to positions that better match their health professional education and expertise;

(2)

to provide training opportunities to reduce barriers to entry and advancement in the health workforce for skilled, internationally educated immigrants;

(3)

to educate employers regarding the abilities and capacities of internationally educated health professionals;

(4)

to assist in the evaluation of foreign credentials;

(5)

to support preceptorships for international medical graduates in hospital primary care training; and

(6)

to facilitate access to contextualized and accelerated courses on English as a second language.

IV

Improving Health Care Access and Quality

A

Expansion of Coverage

401.

Amendment to the Public Health Service Act

Title XXXIV of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by titles I, II, III, and IX of this Act, is further amended by inserting after subtitle C the following:

D

Reconstruction and Improvement Grants for Public Health Care Facilities Serving Pacific Islanders and the Insular Areas

3451.

Grant support for quality improvement initiatives

(a)

In general

The Secretary, in collaboration with the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, shall award grants to eligible entities for the conduct of demonstration projects to improve the quality of and access to health care.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an entity shall—

(1)

be a health center, hospital, health plan, health system, community clinic. or other health entity determined appropriate by the Secretary—

(A)

that, by legal mandate or explicitly adopted mission, provides patients with access to services regardless of their ability to pay;

(B)

that provides care or treatment for a substantial number of patients who are uninsured, are receiving assistance under a State program under title XIX of the Social Security Act, or are members of vulnerable populations, as determined by the Secretary; and

(C)
(i)

with respect to which, not less than 50 percent of the entity’s patient population is made up of racial and ethnic minorities; or

(ii)

that—

(I)

serves a disproportionate percentage of local, minority racial and ethnic patients, or that has a patient population, at least 50 percent of which is limited-English-proficient; and

(II)

provides an assurance that amounts received under the grant will be used only to support quality improvement activities in the racial and ethnic population served; and

(2)

prepare and submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(c)

Priority

In awarding grants under subsection (a), the Secretary shall give priority to applicants under subsection (b)(2) that—

(1)

demonstrate an intent to operate as part of a health care partnership, network, collaborative, coalition, or alliance where each member entity contributes to the design, implementation, and evaluation of the proposed intervention; or

(2)

intend to use funds to carry out systemwide changes with respect to health care quality improvement, including—

(A)

improved systems for data collection and reporting;

(B)

innovative collaborative or similar processes;

(C)

group programs with behavioral or self-management interventions;

(D)

case management services;

(E)

physician or patient reminder systems;

(F)

educational interventions; or

(G)

other activities determined appropriate by the Secretary.

(d)

Use of funds

An entity shall use amounts received under a grant under subsection (a) to support the implementation and evaluation of health care quality improvement activities or minority health and health care disparity reduction activities that include—

(1)

with respect to health care systems, activities relating to improving—

(A)

patient safety;

(B)

timeliness of care;

(C)

effectiveness of care;

(D)

efficiency of care;

(E)

patient centeredness; and

(F)

health information technology; and

(2)

with respect to patients, activities relating to—

(A)

staying healthy;

(B)

getting well, mentally and physically;

(C)

living effectively with illness or disability;

(D)

coping with end-of-life issues; and

(E)

shared decisionmaking.

(e)

Common data systems

The Secretary shall provide financial and other technical assistance to grantees under this section for the development of common data systems.

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3452.

Centers of excellence

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, shall designate centers of excellence at public hospitals, and other health systems serving large numbers of minority patients, that—

(1)

meet the requirements of section 3451(b)(1);

(2)

demonstrate excellence in providing care to minority populations; and

(3)

demonstrate excellence in reducing disparities in health and health care.

(b)

Requirements

A hospital or health system that serves as a center of excellence under subsection (a) shall—

(1)

design, implement, and evaluate programs and policies relating to the delivery of care in racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse populations;

(2)

provide training and technical assistance to other hospitals and health systems relating to the provision of quality health care to minority populations; and

(3)

develop activities for graduate or continuing medical education that institutionalize a focus on cultural competence training for health care providers.

(c)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2024.

3453.

Reconstruction and improvement grants for Public Health care facilities serving Pacific Islanders and the insular areas

(a)

In general

The Secretary shall provide direct financial assistance to designated health care providers and community health centers in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii for the purposes of reconstructing and improving health care facilities and services in a culturally competent and sustainable manner.

(b)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive direct financial assistance under subsection (a), an entity shall be a public health facility or community health center located in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or Hawaii that—

(1)

is owned or operated by—

(A)

the Government of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or Hawaii or a unit of local government; or

(B)

a nonprofit organization; and

(2)
(A)

provides care or treatment for a substantial number of patients who are uninsured, receiving assistance under a State program under a title XVIII of the Social Security Act, or a State program under title XIX of such Act, or who are members of a vulnerable population, as determined by the Secretary; or

(B)

serves a disproportionate percentage of local, minority racial and ethnic patients.

(c)

Report

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this title and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Congress and the President a report that includes an assessment of health resources and facilities serving populations in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. In preparing such report, the Secretary shall—

(1)

consult with and obtain information on all health care facilities needs from the entities described in subsection (b);

(2)

include all amounts of Federal assistance received by each entity in the preceding fiscal year;

(3)

review the total unmet needs of each jurisdiction for health care facilities, including needs for renovation and expansion of existing facilities;

(4)

include a strategic plan for addressing the needs of each jurisdiction identified in the report; and

(5)

evaluate the effectiveness of the care provided by measuring patient outcomes and cost measures.

(d)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as necessary to carry out this section.

.

402.

Removing citizenship and immigration barriers to access to affordable health care under ACA

(a)

In general

(1)

Premium tax credits

Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended—

(A)

in subsection (c)(1)(B)—

(i)

by amending the heading to read as follows: Special rule for certain individuals ineligible for Medicaid due to status, and

(ii)

in clause (ii), by striking lawfully present in the United States, but and inserting who, and

(B)

by striking subsection (e).

(2)

Cost-sharing reductions

Section 1402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18071) is amended by striking subsection (e).

(3)

Basic health program eligibility

Section 1331(e)(1)(B) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18051(e)(1)(B)) is amended by striking lawfully present in the United States.

(4)

Restrictions on Federal payments

Section 1412 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18082) is amended by striking subsection (d).

(5)

Requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage

Section 5000A(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking paragraph (3) and by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (3).

(b)

Conforming amendments

(1)

Section 1411(a) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18081(a)) is amended by striking paragraph (1) and redesignating paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) as paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), respectively.

(2)

Section 1312(f) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18032(f)) is amended—

(A)

in the heading, by striking ; access limited to citizens and lawful residents; and

(B)

by striking paragraph (3).

403.

Study on the uninsured

(a)

In general

The Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the Secretary) shall—

(1)

conduct a study, in accordance with the standards under section 3101 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300kk), on the demographic characteristics of the population of individuals who do not have health insurance coverage or oral health coverage; and

(2)

predict, based on such study, the demographic characteristics of the population of individuals who would remain without health insurance coverage after the end of any annual open enrollment or any special enrollment period or upon enactment and implementation of any legislative changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that affect the number of persons eligible for coverage.

(b)

Reporting requirements

(1)

In general

Not later than 12 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Congress the results of the study under subsection (a)(1) and the prediction made under subsection (a)(2).

(2)

Reporting of demographic characteristics

The Secretary shall—

(A)

report the demographic characteristics under paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) on the basis of racial and ethnic group, and shall stratify the reporting on each racial and ethnic group by other demographic characteristics that can impact access to health insurance coverage, such as sexual orientation, gender identity, primary language, disability status, sex, socioeconomic status, age group, and citizenship and immigration status, in a manner consistent with title I of this Act; and

(B)

not use such report to engage in or anticipate any deportation or immigration related enforcement action by any entity, including the Department of Homeland Security.

404.

Medicaid in the territories

(a)

Elimination of general Medicaid funding limitations (cap) for territories

(1)

In general

Section 1108 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1308) is amended—

(A)

in subsection (f), in the matter before paragraph (1), by striking subsection (g) and inserting subsections (g) and (h);

(B)

in subsection (g)(2), in the matter before subparagraph (A), by inserting and subsection (h) after paragraphs (3) and (5); and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(h)

Sunset of Medicaid funding limitations for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa

Subsections (f) and (g) shall not apply to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa beginning with fiscal year 2019.

.

(2)

Conforming amendments

(A)

Section 1902(j) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a(j)) is amended by striking , the limitation in section 1108(f),.

(B)

Section 1903(u) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396b(u)) is amended by striking paragraph (4).

(C)

Section 1323(c)(1) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18043(c)(1)) is amended by striking 2019 and inserting 2018.

(3)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply beginning with fiscal year 2019.

(b)

Elimination of specific Federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) limitation for territories

Section 1905(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(b)) is amended, in clause (2), by inserting for fiscal years before fiscal year 2019 after American Samoa.

(c)

Application of Medicaid waiver authority to all of the territories

(1)

In general

Section 1902(j) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a(j)) is amended—

(A)

by striking American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands and inserting Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa;

(B)

by striking American Samoa or the Northern Mariana Islands and inserting Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa;

(C)

by inserting (1) after (j);

(D)

by inserting except as otherwise provided in this subsection, after Notwithstanding any other requirement of this title; and

(E)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

The Secretary may not waive under this subsection the requirement of subsection (a)(10)(A)(i)(IX) (relating to coverage of adults formerly under foster care) with respect to any territory.

.

(2)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply beginning October 1, 2018.

(d)

Permitting Medicaid DSH allotments for territories

Section 1923(f) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (6), by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(C)

Territories

(i)

Fiscal year 2019

For fiscal year 2019, the DSH allotment for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa shall bear the same ratio to $150,000,000 as the ratio of the number of individuals who are low-income or uninsured and residing in such respective territory (as estimated from time to time by the Secretary) bears to the sums of the number of such individuals residing in all of the territories.

(ii)

Subsequent fiscal year

For each subsequent fiscal year, the DSH allotment for each such territory is subject to an increase in accordance with paragraph (2).

; and

(2)

in paragraph (9), by inserting before the period at the end the following: , and includes, beginning with fiscal year 2019, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

405.

Extension of Medicare secondary payer

(a)

In general

Section 1862(b)(1)(C) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395y(b)(1)(C)) is amended—

(1)

in the last sentence, by inserting , and before January 1, 2019 after prior to such date); and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new sentence: Effective for items and services furnished on or after January 1, 2019 (with respect to periods beginning on or after the date that is 42 months prior to such date), clauses (i) and (ii) shall be applied by substituting 42-month for 12-month each place it appears in the first sentence..

(b)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act. For purposes of determining an individual’s status under section 1862(b)(1)(C) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395y(b)(1)(C)), as amended by subsection (a), an individual who is within the coordinating period as of the date of enactment of this Act shall have that period extended to the full 42 months described in the last sentence of such section, as added by the amendment made by subsection (a)(2).

406.

Border health grants

(a)

Eligible entity defined

In this section, the term eligible entity means a State, public institution of higher education, local government, Tribal government, nonprofit health organization, community health center, or community clinic receiving assistance under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 254b), that is located in the border area.

(b)

Authorization

From funds appropriated under subsection (f), the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the Secretary), acting through the United States members of the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, shall award grants to eligible entities to address priorities and recommendations to improve the health of border area residents that are established by—

(1)

the United States members of the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission;

(2)

the State border health offices; and

(3)

the Secretary.

(c)

Application

An eligible entity that desires a grant under subsection (b) shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(d)

Use of funds

An eligible entity that receives a grant under subsection (b) shall use the grant funds for—

(1)

programs relating to—

(A)

maternal and child health;

(B)

primary care and preventative health;

(C)

public health and public health infrastructure;

(D)

musculoskeletal health and obesity;

(E)

health education and promotion;

(F)

oral health;

(G)

mental and behavioral health;

(H)

substance abuse;

(I)

health conditions that have a high prevalence in the border area;

(J)

medical and health services research;

(K)

workforce training and development;

(L)

community health workers, patient navigators, and promotoras;

(M)

health care infrastructure problems in the border area (including planning and construction grants);

(N)

health disparities in the border area;

(O)

environmental health; and

(P)

outreach and enrollment services with respect to Federal programs (including programs authorized under titles XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 and 1397aa)); and

(2)

other programs determined appropriate by the Secretary.

(e)

Supplement, not supplant

Amounts provided to an eligible entity awarded a grant under subsection (b) shall be used to supplement and not supplant other funds available to the eligible entity to carry out the activities described in subsection (d).

(f)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, $200,000,000 for fiscal year 2019, and such sums as may be necessary for each succeeding fiscal year.

407.

Removing Medicare barrier to health care

(a)

Part A

Section 1818(a)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i–2(a)(3)) is amended by striking an alien and all that follows through under this section and inserting an individual who is lawfully present in the United States.

(b)

Part B

Section 1836(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395o(2)) is amended by striking an alien and all that follows through under this part and inserting an individual who is lawfully present in the United States.

408.

100 percent FMAP for medical assistance provided by urban Indian health centers

(a)

In general

The third sentence of section 1905(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396(b)) is amended by inserting or are received through a program operated by an urban Indian organization through a grant or contract under title V of such Act after (as defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act).

(b)

Effective date

The amendment made by this section shall apply to medical assistance provided on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

409.

100 percent FMAP for medical assistance provided to a Native Hawaiian through a federally qualified health center or a Native Hawaiian health care system under the Medicaid program

(a)

In general

The third sentence of section 1905(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(b)), as amended by section 418(a), is amended by inserting before the period the following: ; and, with respect to medical assistance provided to a Native Hawaiian (as defined in section 12(2) of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act) through a federally qualified health center or a Native Hawaiian health care system (as defined in section 12(6) of such Act), whether directly, by referral, or under contract or other arrangement between such federally qualified health center or Native Hawaiian health care system and another health care provider.

(b)

Effective date

The amendment made by this section shall apply to medical assistance provided on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

B

Expansion of Access

410.

Protecting sensitive locations

Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1357) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(i)
(1)

In this subsection:

(A)

The term appropriate committees of Congress means—

(i)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate;

(ii)

the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate;

(iii)

the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives; and

(iv)

the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

(B)

The term enforcement action

(i)

means an apprehension, arrest, interview, request for identification, search, or surveillance for the purposes of immigration enforcement; and

(ii)

includes an enforcement action at, or focused on, a sensitive location that is part of a joint case led by another law enforcement agency.

(C)

The term exigent circumstances means a situation involving—

(i)

the imminent risk of death, violence, or physical harm to any person or property, including a situation implicating terrorism or the national security of the United States;

(ii)

the immediate arrest or pursuit of a dangerous felon, terrorist suspect, or other individual presenting an imminent danger; or

(iii)

the imminent risk of destruction of evidence that is material to an ongoing criminal case.

(D)

The term prior approval means—

(i)

in the case of officers and agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, prior written approval to carry out an enforcement action involving a specific individual or individuals authorized by—

(I)

the Assistant Director of Operations, Homeland Security Investigations;

(II)

the Executive Associate Director of Homeland Security Investigations;

(III)

the Assistant Director for Field Operations, Enforcement and Removal Operations; or

(IV)

the Executive Associate Director for Field Operations, Enforcement and Removal Operations;

(ii)

in the case of officers and agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, prior written approval to carry out an enforcement action involving a specific individual or individuals authorized by—

(I)

a Chief Patrol Agent;

(II)

the Director of Field Operations;

(III)

the Director of Air and Marine Operations; or

(IV)

the Internal Affairs Special Agent in Charge; and

(iii)

in the case of other Federal, State, or local law enforcement officers, to carry out an enforcement action involving a specific individual or individuals authorized by—

(I)

the head of the Federal agency carrying out the enforcement action; or

(II)

the head of the State or local law enforcement agency carrying out the enforcement action.

(E)

The term sensitive location includes all of the physical space located within 1,000 feet of—

(i)

any medical treatment or health care facility, including any hospital, doctor’s office, accredited health clinic, alcohol or drug treatment center, or emergent or urgent care facility;

(ii)

any public or private school, including any known and licensed day care facility, preschool, other early learning program facility, primary school, secondary school, postsecondary school (including colleges and universities), or other institution of learning (including vocational or trade schools);

(iii)

any scholastic or education-related activity or event, including field trips and interscholastic events;

(iv)

any school bus or school bus stop during periods when school children are present on the bus or at the stop;

(v)

any organization that—

(I)

assists children, pregnant women, victims of crime or abuse, or individuals with significant mental or physical disabilities; or

(II)

provides disaster or emergency social services and assistance;

(vi)

any church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship, including buildings rented for the purpose of religious services, retreats, counseling, workshops, instruction, and education;

(vii)

any Federal, State, or local courthouse, including the office of an individual’s legal counsel or representative, and a probation, parole, or supervised release office;

(viii)

the site of a funeral, wedding, or other religious ceremony or observance;

(ix)

any public demonstration, such as a march, rally, or parade;

(x)

any domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, supervised visitation center, family justice center, or victim services provider; or

(xi)

any other location specified by the Secretary of Homeland Security for purposes of this subsection.

(2)
(A)

An enforcement action may not take place at, or be focused on, a sensitive location unless—

(i)

the action involves exigent circumstances; and

(ii)

prior approval for the enforcement action was obtained from the appropriate official.

(B)

If an enforcement action is initiated pursuant to subparagraph (A) and the exigent circumstances permitting the enforcement action cease, the enforcement action shall be discontinued until such exigent circumstances reemerge.

(C)

If an enforcement action is carried out in violation of this subsection—

(i)

no information resulting from the enforcement action may be entered into the record or received into evidence in a removal proceeding resulting from the enforcement action; and

(ii)

the alien who is the subject of such removal proceeding may file a motion for the immediate termination of the removal proceeding.

(3)
(A)

This subsection shall apply to any enforcement action by officers or agents of the Department of Homeland Security, including—

(i)

officers or agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;

(ii)

officers or agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and

(iii)

any individual designated to perform immigration enforcement functions pursuant to subsection (g).

(B)

While carrying out an enforcement action at a sensitive location, officers and agents referred to in subparagraph (A) shall make every effort—

(i)

to limit the time spent at the sensitive location;

(ii)

to limit the enforcement action at the sensitive location to the person or persons for whom prior approval was obtained; and

(iii)

to conduct themselves discreetly.

(C)

If, while carrying out an enforcement action that is not initiated at or focused on a sensitive location, officers or agents are led to a sensitive location, and no exigent circumstance and prior approval with respect to the sensitive location exists, such officers or agents shall—

(i)

cease before taking any further enforcement action;

(ii)

conduct themselves in a discreet manner;

(iii)

maintain surveillance; and

(iv)

immediately consult their supervisor in order to determine whether such enforcement action should be discontinued.

(D)

The limitations under this paragraph shall not apply to the transportation of an individual apprehended at or near a land or sea border to a hospital or health care provider for the purpose of providing medical care to such individual.

(4)
(A)

Each official specified in subparagraph (B) shall ensure that the employees under his or her supervision receive annual training on compliance with—

(i)

the requirements under this subsection in enforcement actions at or focused on sensitive locations and enforcement actions that lead officers or agents to a sensitive location; and

(ii)

the requirements under section 239 of this Act and section 384 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1367).

(B)

The officials specified in this subparagraph are—

(i)

the Chief Counsel of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;

(ii)

the Field Office Directors of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;

(iii)

each Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;

(iv)

each Chief Patrol Agent of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;

(v)

the Director of Field Operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;

(vi)

the Director of Air and Marine Operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;

(vii)

the Internal Affairs Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and

(viii)

the chief law enforcement officer of each State or local law enforcement agency that enters into a written agreement with the Department of Homeland Security pursuant to subsection (g).

(5)

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall modify the Notice to Appear form (I–862)—

(A)

to provide the subjects of an enforcement action with information, written in plain language, summarizing the restrictions against enforcement actions at sensitive locations set forth in this subsection and the remedies available to the alien if such action violates such restrictions;

(B)

so that the information described in subparagraph (A) is accessible to individuals with limited-English proficiency; and

(C)

so that subjects of an enforcement action are not permitted to verify that the officers or agents that carried out such action complied with the restrictions set forth in this subsection.

(6)
(A)

The Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection shall each submit an annual report to the appropriate committees of Congress that includes the information set forth in subparagraph (B) with respect to the respective agency.

(B)

Each report submitted under subparagraph (A) shall include, with respect to the submitting agency during the reporting period—

(i)

the number of enforcement actions that were carried out at, or focused on, a sensitive location;

(ii)

the number of enforcement actions in which officers or agents were subsequently led to a sensitive location; and

(iii)

for each enforcement action described in clause (i) or (ii)—

(I)

the date on which it occurred;

(II)

the specific site, city, county, and State in which it occurred;

(III)

the components of the agency involved in the enforcement action;

(IV)

a description of the enforcement action, including the nature of the criminal activity of its intended target;

(V)

the number of individuals, if any, arrested or taken into custody;

(VI)

the number of collateral arrests, if any, and the reasons for each such arrest;

(VII)

a certification whether the location administrator was contacted before, during, or after the enforcement action; and

(VIII)

the percentage of all of the staff members and supervisors reporting to the officials listed in paragraph (4)(B) who completed the training required under paragraph (4)(A).

(7)

Nothing in the subsection may be construed—

(A)

to affect the authority of Federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies—

(i)

to enforce generally applicable Federal or State criminal laws unrelated to immigration; or

(ii)

to protect residents from imminent threats to public safety; or

(B)

to limit or override the protections provided in—

(i)

section 239; or

(ii)

section 384 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1367).

.

411.

Grants for racial and ethnic approaches to community health

(a)

Purpose

It is the purpose of this section to provide for the awarding of grants to assist communities in mobilizing and organizing resources in support of effective and sustainable programs that will reduce or eliminate disparities in health and health care experienced by racial and ethnic minority individuals.

(b)

Authority To Award Grants

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, shall award grants to eligible entities to assist in designing, implementing, and evaluating culturally and linguistically appropriate, science-based, and community-driven sustainable strategies to eliminate racial and ethnic health and health care disparities.

(c)

Eligible Entities

To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, an entity shall—

(1)

represent a coalition—

(A)

whose principal purpose is to develop and implement interventions to reduce or eliminate a health or health care disparity in a targeted racial or ethnic minority group in the community served by the coalition; and

(B)

that includes—

(i)

members selected from among—

(I)

public health departments;

(II)

community-based organizations;

(III)

university and research organizations;

(IV)

American Indian Tribal organizations, national American Indian organizations, Indian Health Service, or organizations serving Alaska Natives; and

(V)

interested public or private health care providers or organizations as deemed appropriate by the Secretary; and

(ii)

at least 1 member from a community-based organization that represents the targeted racial or ethnic minority group; and

(2)

submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, which shall include—

(A)

a description of the targeted racial or ethnic populations in the community to be served under the grant;

(B)

a description of at least 1 health disparity that exists in the racial or ethnic targeted populations, including health issues such as infant mortality, breast and cervical cancer screening and management, musculoskeletal diseases and obesity, prostate cancer screening and management, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, child and adult immunization levels, oral disease, or other health priority areas as designated by the Secretary; and

(C)

a demonstration of a proven record of accomplishment of the coalition members in serving and working with the targeted community.

(d)

Sustainability

The Secretary shall give priority to an eligible entity under this section if the entity agrees that, with respect to the costs to be incurred by the entity in carrying out the activities for which the grant was awarded, the entity (and each of the participating partners in the coalition represented by the entity) will maintain its expenditures of non-Federal funds for such activities at a level that is not less than the level of such expenditures during the fiscal year immediately preceding the first fiscal year for which the grant is awarded.

(e)

Nonduplication

Funds provided through this grant program should supplement, not supplant, existing Federal funding, and the funds should not be used to duplicate the activities of the other health disparity grant programs in this Act.

(f)

Technical Assistance

The Secretary may, either directly or by grant or contract, provide any entity that receives a grant under this section with technical and other nonfinancial assistance necessary to meet the requirements of this section.

(g)

Dissemination

The Secretary shall encourage and enable grantees to share best practices, evaluation results, and reports with communities not affiliated with grantees using the Internet, conferences, and other pertinent information regarding the projects funded by this section, including the outreach efforts of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparity Elimination and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(h)

Administrative Burdens

The Secretary shall make every effort to minimize duplicative or unnecessary administrative burdens on grantees.

(i)

Definition

In this section, the term Secretary means the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(j)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

412.

Critical access hospital improvements

(a)

Elimination of isolation test for cost-Based ambulance reimbursement

(1)

In general

Section 1834(l)(8) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m(l)(8)) is amended—

(A)

in subparagraph (B)—

(i)

by striking owned and; and

(ii)

by inserting (including when such services are provided by the entity under an arrangement with the hospital) after hospital; and

(B)

by striking the comma at the end of subparagraph (B) and all that follows and inserting a period.

(2)

Effective date

The amendments made by this subsection shall apply to services furnished on or after January 1, 2015.

(b)

Provision of a more flexible alternative to the CAH designation 25 inpatient bed limit requirement

(1)

In general

Section 1820(c)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i–4(c)(2)) is amended—

(A)

in subparagraph (B)(iii), by striking provides not more than and inserting subject to subparagraph (F), provides not more than; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(F)

Alternative to 25 inpatient bed limit requirement

(i)

In general

A State may elect to treat a facility, with respect to the designation of the facility for a cost-reporting period, as satisfying the requirement of subparagraph (B)(iii) relating to a maximum number of acute care inpatient beds if the facility elects, in accordance with a method specified by the Secretary and before the beginning of the cost reporting period, to meet the requirement under clause (ii).

(ii)

Alternate requirement

The requirement under this clause, with respect to a facility and a cost-reporting period, is that the total number of inpatient bed days described in subparagraph (B)(iii) during such period will not exceed 7,300. For purposes of this subparagraph, an individual who is an inpatient in a bed in the facility for a single day shall be counted as one inpatient bed day.

(iii)

Withdrawal of election

The option described in clause (i) shall not apply to a facility for a cost-reporting period if the facility (for any two consecutive cost-reporting periods during the previous 5 cost-reporting periods) was treated under such option and had a total number of inpatient bed days for each of such two cost-reporting periods that exceeded the number specified in such clause.

.

(2)

Effective date

The amendments made by paragraph (1) shall apply to cost-reporting periods beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

413.

Establishment of Rural Community Hospital (RCH) Program

(a)

In general

Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x), as amended by section 205(b)(1), is amended by adding at the end of the following new subsection:

(jjj)

Rural Community Hospital; Rural Community Hospital Services

(1)

The term rural community hospital means a hospital (as defined in subsection (e)) that—

(A)

is located in a rural area (as defined in section 1886(d)(2)(D)) or treated as being so located pursuant to section 1886(d)(8)(E);

(B)

subject to paragraph (2), has less than 51 acute care inpatient beds, as reported in its most recent cost report;

(C)

makes available 24-hour emergency care services;

(D)

subject to paragraph (3), has a provider agreement in effect with the Secretary and is open to the public as of January 1, 2010; and

(E)

applies to the Secretary for such designation.

(2)

For purposes of paragraph (1)(B), beds in a psychiatric or rehabilitation unit of the hospital which is a distinct part of the hospital shall not be counted.

(3)

Paragraph (1)(D) shall not be construed to prohibit any of the following from qualifying as a rural community hospital:

(A)

A replacement facility (as defined by the Secretary in regulations in effect on January 1, 2012) with the same service area (as defined by the Secretary in regulations in effect on such date).

(B)

A facility obtaining a new provider number pursuant to a change of ownership.

(C)

A facility which has a binding written agreement with an outside, unrelated party for the construction, reconstruction, lease, rental, or financing of a building as of January 1, 2012.

(4)

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting a critical access hospital from qualifying as a rural community hospital if the critical access hospital meets the conditions otherwise applicable to hospitals under subsection (e) and section 1866.

(5)

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting a rural community hospital participating in the demonstration program under section 410A of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (Public Law 108–173; 117 Stat. 2313) from qualifying as a rural community hospital if the rural community hospital meets the conditions otherwise applicable to hospitals under subsection (e) and section 1866.

.

(b)

Payment

(1)

Inpatient hospital services

Section 1814 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395f) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(m)

Payment for Inpatient Services Furnished in Rural Community Hospitals

The amount of payment under this part for inpatient hospital services furnished in a rural community hospital, other than such services furnished in a psychiatric or rehabilitation unit of the hospital which is a distinct part, is, at the election of the hospital in the application referred to in section 1861(jjj)(1)(E)—

(1)

101 percent of the reasonable costs of providing such services, without regard to the amount of the customary or other charge, or

(2)

the amount of payment provided for under the prospective payment system for inpatient hospital services under section 1886(d).

.

(2)

Outpatient services

Section 1834 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(p)

Payment for outpatient services furnished in rural community hospitals

The amount of payment under this part for outpatient services furnished in a rural community hospital is, at the election of the hospital in the application referred to in section 1861(jjj)(1)(E)—

(1)

101 percent of the reasonable costs of providing such services, without regard to the amount of the customary or other charge and any limitation under section 1861(v)(1)(U), or

(2)

the amount of payment provided for under the prospective payment system for covered OPD services under section 1833(t).

.

(3)

Exemption from 30-percent reduction in reimbursement for bad debt

Section 1861(v)(1)(T) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(v)(1)(T)) is amended by inserting (other than for a rural community hospital) after In determining such reasonable costs for hospitals.

(c)

Beneficiary cost-Sharing for outpatient services

Section 1834(p) of such Act (as added by subsection (b)(2)) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively;

(2)

by inserting (1) after (p); and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

The amounts of beneficiary cost-sharing for outpatient services furnished in a rural community hospital under this part shall be as follows:

(A)

For items and services that would have been paid under section 1833(t) if provided by a hospital, the amount of cost-sharing determined under paragraph (8) of such section.

(B)

For items and services that would have been paid under section 1833(h) if furnished by a provider or supplier, no cost-sharing shall apply.

(C)

For all other items and services, the amount of cost-sharing that would apply to the item or service under the methodology that would be used to determine payment for such item or service if provided by a physician, provider, or supplier, as the case may be.

.

(d)

Conforming amendments

(1)

Part A payment

Section 1814(b) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395f(b)) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by inserting other than inpatient hospital services furnished by a rural community hospital, after critical access hospital services,.

(2)

Part B payment

Section 1833(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(a)), as amended by section 205(b)(3), is amended—

(A)

in paragraph (2), in the matter before subparagraph (A), by striking and (I) and inserting (I), and (K);

(B)

by striking and at the end of paragraph (9);

(C)

by striking the period at the end of paragraph (10) and inserting ; and; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(11)

in the case of outpatient services furnished by a rural community hospital, the amounts described in section 1834(p).

.

(3)

Technical amendments

(A)

Consultation with State agencies

Section 1863 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395z) is amended by striking and (dd)(2) and inserting (dd)(2), (mm)(1), and (jjj)(1).

(B)

Provider agreements

Section 1866(a)(2)(A) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395cc(a)(2)(A)) is amended by inserting section 1834(p)(2), after section 1833(b),.

(e)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply to items and services furnished on or after October 1, 2016.

414.

Medicare remote monitoring pilot projects

(a)

Pilot projects

(1)

In general

Not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the Secretary) shall conduct pilot projects under title XVIII of the Social Security Act for the purpose of providing incentives to home health agencies to utilize home monitoring and communications technologies that—

(A)

enhance health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries; and

(B)

reduce expenditures under such title.

(2)

Site requirements

(A)

Urban and Rural

The Secretary shall conduct the pilot projects under this section in both urban and rural areas.

(B)

Site in a small State

The Secretary shall conduct at least 3 of the pilot projects in a State with a population of less than 1,000,000.

(3)

Definition of home health agency

In this section, the term home health agency has the meaning given that term in section 1861(o) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(o)).

(b)

Medicare beneficiaries within the scope of projects

The Secretary shall specify the criteria for identifying those Medicare beneficiaries who shall be considered within the scope of the pilot projects under this section for purposes of the application of subsection (c) and for the assessment of the effectiveness of the home health agency in achieving the objectives of this section. Such criteria may provide for the inclusion in the projects of Medicare beneficiaries who begin receiving home health services under title XVIII of the Social Security Act after the date of the implementation of the projects.

(c)

Incentives

(1)

Performance targets

The Secretary shall establish for each home health agency participating in a pilot project under this section a performance target using one of the following methodologies, as determined appropriate by the Secretary:

(A)

Adjusted historical performance target

The Secretary shall establish for the agency—

(i)

a base expenditure amount equal to the average total payments made to the agency under parts A and B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act for Medicare beneficiaries determined to be within the scope of the pilot project in a base period determined by the Secretary; and

(ii)

an annual per capita expenditure target for such beneficiaries, reflecting the base expenditure amount adjusted for risk and adjusted growth rates.

(B)

Comparative performance target

The Secretary shall establish for the agency a comparative performance target equal to the average total payments under such parts A and B during the pilot project for comparable individuals in the same geographic area that are not determined to be within the scope of the pilot project.

(2)

Incentive

Subject to paragraph (3), the Secretary shall pay to each participating home care agency an incentive payment for each year under the pilot project equal to a portion of the Medicare savings realized for such year relative to the performance target under paragraph (1).

(3)

Limitation on expenditures

The Secretary shall limit incentive payments under this section in order to ensure that the aggregate expenditures under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (including incentive payments under this subsection) do not exceed the amount that the Secretary estimates would have been expended if the pilot projects under this section had not been implemented.

(d)

Waiver authority

The Secretary may waive such provisions of titles XI and XVIII of the Social Security Act as the Secretary determines to be appropriate for the conduct of the pilot projects under this section.

(e)

Report to Congress

Not later than 5 years after the date that the first pilot project under this section is implemented, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the pilot projects. Such report shall contain a detailed description of issues related to the expansion of the projects under subsection (f) and recommendations for such legislation and administrative actions as the Secretary considers appropriate.

(f)

Expansion

If the Secretary determines that any of the pilot projects under this section enhance health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries and reduce expenditures under title XVIII of the Social Security Act, the Secretary may initiate comparable projects in additional areas.

(g)

Incentive payments have no effect on other Medicare payments to agencies

An incentive payment under this section—

(1)

shall be in addition to the payments that a home health agency would otherwise receive under title XVIII of the Social Security Act for the provision of home health services; and

(2)

shall have no effect on the amount of such payments.

415.

Rural health quality advisory commission and demonstration projects

(a)

Rural Health Quality Advisory Commission

(1)

Establishment

Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the Secretary) shall establish a commission to be known as the Rural Health Quality Advisory Commission (in this section referred to as the Commission).

(2)

Duties of commission

(A)

National plan

The Commission shall develop, coordinate, and facilitate implementation of a national plan for rural health quality improvement. The national plan shall—

(i)

identify objectives for rural health quality improvement;

(ii)

identify strategies to eliminate known gaps in rural health system capacity and improve rural health quality; and

(iii)

provide for Federal programs to identify opportunities for strengthening and aligning policies and programs to improve rural health quality.

(B)

Demonstration projects

The Commission shall design demonstration projects to test alternative models for rural health quality improvement, including with respect to both personal and population health.

(C)

Monitoring

The Commission shall monitor progress toward the objectives identified pursuant to paragraph (1)(A).

(3)

Membership

(A)

Number

The Commission shall be composed of 11 members appointed by the Secretary.

(B)

Selection

The Secretary shall select the members of the Commission from among individuals with significant rural health care and health care quality expertise, including expertise in clinical health care, health care quality research, population or public health, or purchaser organizations.

(4)

Contracting authority

Subject to the availability of funds, the Commission may enter into contracts and make other arrangements, as may be necessary to carry out the duties described in paragraph (2).

(5)

Staff

Upon the request of the Commission, the Secretary may detail, on a reimbursable basis, any of the personnel of the Office of Rural Health Policy of the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to the Commission to assist in carrying out this subsection.

(6)

Reports to congress

Not later than 1 year after the establishment of the Commission, and annually thereafter, the Commission shall submit a report to the Congress on rural health quality. Each such report shall include the following:

(A)

An inventory of relevant programs and recommendations for improved coordination and integration of policy and programs.

(B)

An assessment of achievement of the objectives identified in the national plan developed under paragraph (2) and recommendations for realizing such objectives.

(C)

Recommendations on Federal legislation, regulations, or administrative policies to enhance rural health quality and outcomes.

(b)

Rural Health Quality Demonstration Projects

(1)

In general

Not later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary, in consultation with the Rural Health Quality Advisory Commission, the Office of Rural Health Policy of the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, shall make grants to eligible entities for 5 demonstration projects to implement and evaluate methods for improving the quality of health care in rural communities. Each such demonstration project shall include—

(A)

alternative community models that—

(i)

will achieve greater integration of personal and population health services; and

(ii)

address safety, effectiveness, patient- or community-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, and equity (the 6 aims identified by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in its report entitled Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century released on March 1, 2001);

(B)

innovative approaches to the financing and delivery of health services to achieve rural health quality goals; and

(C)

development of quality improvement support structures to assist rural health systems and professionals (such as workforce support structures, quality monitoring and reporting, clinical care protocols, and information technology applications).

(2)

Eligible entities

In this subsection, the term eligible entity means a consortium that—

(A)

shall include—

(i)

at least one health care provider or health care delivery system located in a rural area; and

(ii)

at least one organization representing multiple community stakeholders; and

(B)

may include other partners such as rural research centers.

(3)

Consultation

In developing the program for awarding grants under this subsection, the Secretary shall consult with the Administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, rural health care providers, rural health care researchers, and private and nonprofit groups (including national associations) which are undertaking similar efforts.

(4)

Expedited waivers

The Secretary shall expedite the processing of any waiver that—

(A)

is authorized under title XVIII or XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.); and

(B)

is necessary to carry out a demonstration project under this subsection.

(5)

Demonstration project sites

The Secretary shall ensure that the 5 demonstration projects funded under this subsection are conducted at a variety of sites representing the diversity of rural communities in the Nation.

(6)

Duration

Each demonstration project under this subsection shall be for a period of 4 years.

(7)

Independent evaluation

The Secretary shall enter into an arrangement with an entity that has experience working directly with rural health systems for the conduct of an independent evaluation of the program carried out under this subsection.

(8)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the conclusion of all of the demonstration projects funded under this subsection, the Secretary shall submit a report to the Congress on the results of such projects. The report shall include—

(A)

an evaluation of patient access to care, patient outcomes, and an analysis of the cost effectiveness of each such project; and

(B)

recommendations on Federal legislation, regulations, or administrative policies to enhance rural health quality and outcomes.

(c)

Appropriation

(1)

In general

Out of funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this section $30,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

(2)

Availability

(A)

In general

Funds appropriated under paragraph (1) shall remain available for expenditure through fiscal year 2023.

(B)

Report

For purposes of carrying out subsection (b)(8), funds appropriated under paragraph (1) shall remain available for expenditure through fiscal year 2024.

(3)

Reservation

Of the amount appropriated under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall reserve—

(A)

$5,000,000 to carry out subsection (a); and

(B)

$25,000,000 to carry out subsection (b), of which—

(i)

2 percent shall be for the provision of technical assistance to grant recipients; and

(ii)

5 percent shall be for independent evaluation under subsection (b)(7).

416.

Rural health care services

Section 330A of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 254c) is amended to read as follows:

330A.

Rural health care services outreach, rural health network development, Delta rural disparities and health systems development, and small rural health care provider quality improvement grant programs

(a)

Purpose

The purpose of this section is to provide for grants—

(1)

under subsection (b), to promote rural health care services outreach;

(2)

under subsection (c), to provide for the planning and implementation of integrated health care networks in rural areas;

(3)

under subsection (d), to assist rural communities in the Delta Region to reduce health disparities and to promote and enhance health system development; and

(4)

under subsection (e), to provide for the planning and implementation of small rural health care provider quality improvement activities.

(b)

Rural health care services outreach grants

(1)

Grants

The Director of the Office of Rural Health Policy of the Health Resources and Services Administration may award grants to eligible entities to promote rural health care services outreach by expanding the delivery of health care services to include new and enhanced services in rural areas. The Director may award the grants for periods of not more than 3 years.

(2)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection for a project, an entity—

(A)

shall be a rural public or rural nonprofit private entity, a facility that qualifies as a rural health clinic under title XVIII of the Social Security Act, a public or nonprofit entity existing exclusively to provide services to migrant and seasonal farm workers in rural areas, or a Tribal government whose grant-funded activities will be conducted within federally recognized Tribal areas;

(B)

shall represent a consortium composed of members—

(i)

that include 3 or more independently owned health care entities; and

(ii)

that may be nonprofit or for-profit entities; and

(C)

shall not previously have received a grant under this subsection for the same or a similar project, unless the entity is proposing to expand the scope of the project or the area that will be served through the project.

(3)

Applications

To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an eligible entity shall prepare and submit to the Director an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Director may require, including—

(A)

a description of the project that the eligible entity will carry out using the funds provided under the grant;

(B)

a description of the manner in which the project funded under the grant will meet the health care needs of rural populations in the local community or region to be served;

(C)

a plan for quantifying how health care needs will be met through identification of the target population and benchmarks of service delivery or health status, such as—

(i)

quantifiable measurements of health status improvement for projects focusing on health promotion; or

(ii)

benchmarks of increased access to primary care, including tracking factors such as the number and type of primary care visits, identification of a medical home, or other general measures of such access;

(D)

a description of how the local community or region to be served will be involved in the development and ongoing operations of the project;

(E)

a plan for sustaining the project after Federal support for the project has ended;

(F)

a description of how the project will be evaluated;

(G)

the administrative capacity to submit annual performance data electronically as specified by the Director; and

(H)

other such information as the Director determines to be appropriate.

(c)

Rural health network development grants

(1)

Grants

(A)

In general

The Director may award rural health network development grants to eligible entities to promote, through planning and implementation, the development of integrated health care networks that have combined the functions of the entities participating in the networks in order to—

(i)

achieve efficiencies and economies of scale;

(ii)

expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of the health care delivery system through development of organizational efficiencies;

(iii)

implement health information technology to achieve efficiencies, reduce medical errors, and improve quality;

(iv)

coordinate care and manage chronic illness; and

(v)

strengthen the rural health care system as a whole in such a manner as to show a quantifiable return on investment to the participants in the network.

(B)

Grant periods

The Director may award such a rural health network development grant—

(i)

for a period of 3 years for implementation activities; or

(ii)

for a period of 1 year for planning activities to assist in the initial development of an integrated health care network, if the proposed participants in the network do not have a history of collaborative efforts and a 3-year grant would be inappropriate.

(2)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an entity—

(A)

shall be a rural public or rural nonprofit private entity, a facility that qualifies as a rural health clinic under title XVIII of the Social Security Act, a public or nonprofit entity existing exclusively to provide services to migrant and seasonal farm workers in rural areas, or a Tribal government whose grant-funded activities will be conducted within federally recognized Tribal areas;

(B)

shall represent a network composed of participants—

(i)

that include 3 or more independently owned health care entities; and

(ii)

that may be nonprofit or for-profit entities; and

(C)

shall not previously have received a grant under this subsection (other than a 1-year grant for planning activities) for the same or a similar project.

(3)

Applications

To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an eligible entity, in consultation with the appropriate State office of rural health or another appropriate State entity, shall prepare and submit to the Director an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Director may require, including—

(A)

a description of the project that the eligible entity will carry out using the funds provided under the grant;

(B)

an explanation of the reasons why Federal assistance is required to carry out the project;

(C)

a description of—

(i)

the history of collaborative activities carried out by the participants in the network;

(ii)

the degree to which the participants are ready to integrate their functions; and

(iii)

how the local community or region to be served will benefit from and be involved in the activities carried out by the network;

(D)

a description of how the local community or region to be served will experience increased access to quality health care services across the continuum of care as a result of the integration activities carried out by the network, including a description of—

(i)

return on investment for the community and the network members; and

(ii)

other quantifiable performance measures that show the benefit of the network activities;

(E)

a plan for sustaining the project after Federal support for the project has ended;

(F)

a description of how the project will be evaluated;

(G)

the administrative capacity to submit annual performance data electronically as specified by the Director; and

(H)

other such information as the Director determines to be appropriate.

(d)

Delta rural disparities and health systems development grants

(1)

Grants

The Director may award grants to eligible entities to support reduction of health disparities, improve access to health care, and enhance rural health system development in the Delta Region.

(2)

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an entity shall be a rural public or rural nonprofit private entity, a facility that qualifies as a rural health clinic under title XVIII of the Social Security Act, a public or nonprofit entity existing exclusively to provide services to migrant and seasonal farm workers in rural areas, or a Tribal government whose grant-funded activities will be conducted within federally recognized Tribal areas.

(3)

Applications

To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an eligible entity shall prepare and submit to the Director an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Director may require, including—

(A)

a description of the project that the eligible entity will carry out using the funds provided under the grant;

(B)

an explanation of the reasons why Federal assistance is required to carry out the project;

(C)

a description of the manner in which the project funded under the grant will meet the health care needs of the Delta Region;

(D)

a description of how the local community or region to be served will experience increased access to quality health care services as a result of the activities carried out by the entity;

(E)

a description of how health disparities will be reduced or the health system will be improved;

(F)

a plan for sustaining the project after Federal support for the project has ended;

(G)

a description of how the project will be evaluated including process and outcome measures related to the quality of care provided or how the health care system improves its performance;

(H)

a description of how the grantee will develop an advisory group made up of representatives of the communities to be served to provide guidance to the grantee to best meet community need; and

(I)

other such information as the Director determines to be appropriate.

(e)

Small rural health care provider quality improvement grants

(1)

Grants

The Director may award grants to provide for the planning and implementation of small rural health care provider quality improvement activities. The Director may award the grants for periods of 1 to 3 years.

(2)

Eligibility

To be eligible for a grant under this subsection, an entity—

(A)

shall be—

(i)

a rural public or rural nonprofit private health care provider or provider of health care services, such as a rural health clinic; or

(ii)

another rural provider or network of small rural providers identified by the Director as a key source of local care; and

(B)

shall not previously have received a grant under this subsection for the same or a similar project.

(3)

Preference

In awarding grants under this subsection, the Director shall give preference to facilities that qualify as rural health clinics under title XVIII of the Social Security Act.

(4)

Applications

To be eligible to receive a grant under this subsection, an eligible entity shall prepare and submit to the Director an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Director may require, including—

(A)

a description of the project that the eligible entity will carry out using the funds provided under the grant;

(B)

an explanation of the reasons why Federal assistance is required to carry out the project;

(C)

a description of the manner in which the project funded under the grant will assure continuous quality improvement in the provision of services by the entity;

(D)

a description of how the local community or region to be served will experience increased access to quality health care services as a result of the activities carried out by the entity;

(E)

a plan for sustaining the project after Federal support for the project has ended;

(F)

a description of how the project will be evaluated including process and outcome measures related to the quality of care provided; and

(G)

other such information as the Director determines to be appropriate.

(f)

General requirements

(1)

Prohibited uses of funds

An entity that receives a grant under this section may not use funds provided through the grant—

(A)

to build or acquire real property; or

(B)

for construction.

(2)

Coordination with other agencies

The Director shall coordinate activities carried out under grant programs described in this section, to the extent practicable, with Federal and State agencies and nonprofit organizations that are operating similar grant programs, to maximize the effect of public dollars in funding meritorious proposals.

(g)

Report

Not later than September 30, 2020, the Secretary shall prepare and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the progress and accomplishments of the grant programs described in subsections (b), (c), (d), and (e).

(h)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

The term Delta Region has the meaning given to the term region in section 382A of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 2009aa).

(2)

The term Director means the Director of the Office of Rural Health Policy of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

(i)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $40,000,000 for fiscal year 2019, and such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2023.

.

417.

Community health center collaborative access expansion

Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 254b) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(s)

Miscellaneous Provisions

(1)

Rule of construction with respect to rural health clinics

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a community health center from contracting with a federally certified rural health clinic (as defined by section 1861(aa)(2) of the Social Security Act) for the delivery of primary health care and other mental, dental, and physical health services that are available at the rural health clinic to individuals who would otherwise be eligible for free or reduced cost care if that individual were able to obtain that care at the community health center. Such services may be limited in scope to those primary health care and other mental, dental, and physical health services available in that rural health clinic.

(2)

Enabling services

To the extent possible, enabling services such as transportation and language assistance (including translation and interpretation) shall be provided by rural health clinics described in paragraph (1).

(3)

Assurances

In order for a rural health clinic to receive funds under this section through a contract with a community health center for the delivery of primary health care and other services described in paragraph (1), such rural health clinic shall establish policies to ensure—

(A)

nondiscrimination based upon the ability of a patient to pay;

(B)

the establishment of a sliding fee scale for low-income patients; and

(C)

any such services should be subject to full reimbursement according to the Prospective Payment System scale.

.

418.

Facilitating the provision of telehealth services across State lines

(a)

In general

For purposes of expediting the provision of telehealth services, for which payment is made under the Medicare Program, across State lines, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, in consultation with representatives of States, physicians, health care practitioners, and patient advocates, encourage and facilitate the adoption of provisions allowing for multistate practitioner practice across State lines.

(b)

Definitions

In subsection (a):

(1)

Telehealth service

The term telehealth service has the meaning given that term in subparagraph (F) of section 1834(m)(4) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m(m)(4)).

(2)

Physician, practitioner

The terms physician and practitioner have the meaning given those terms in subparagraphs (D) and (E), respectively, of such section.

(3)

Medicare program

The term Medicare Program means the program of health insurance administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.).

419.

Scoring of preventive health savings

Section 202 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C. 602) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(h)

Scoring of preventive health savings

(1)

Determination by the Director

Upon a request by the chairman or ranking minority member of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate, or by the chairman or ranking minority member of the Committee on the Budget of the House of Representatives, the Director shall determine if a proposed measure would result in reductions in budget outlays in budgetary outyears through the use of preventive health and preventive health services.

(2)

Projections

If the Director determines that a measure would result in substantial reductions in budget outlays as described in paragraph (1), the Director—

(A)

shall include, in any projection prepared by the Director, a description and estimate of the reductions in budget outlays in the budgetary outyears and a description of the basis for such conclusions; and

(B)

may prepare a budget projection that includes some or all of the budgetary outyears, notwithstanding the time periods for projections described in subsection (e) and sections 308, 402, and 424.

(3)

Definitions

As used in this subsection—

(A)

the term preventive health means an action that focuses on the health of the public, individuals, and defined populations in order to protect, promote, and maintain health, wellness, and functional ability, and prevent disease, disability, and premature death that is demonstrated by credible and publicly available epidemiological projection models, incorporating clinical trials or observational studies in humans, to avoid future health care costs; and

(B)

the term budgetary outyears means the 2 consecutive 10-year periods beginning with the first fiscal year that is 10 years after the budget year provided for in the most recently agreed to concurrent resolution on the budget.

.

420.

Sense of Congress on Maintenance of Effort Provisions Regarding Children’s Health

It is the sense of the Congress that—

(1)

the maintenance of effort provisions added to sections 1902 and 2105(d) of the Social Security Act by sections 2001(b) and 2101(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were written to maintain the eligibility standards for the Medicaid program under title XIX of the Social Security Act and Children’s Health Insurance Program under title XXI of such Act until the American Health Benefit Exchanges in the States are fully operational;

(2)

it is imperative that the maintenance of effort provisions are enforced to the strict standard intended by the Congress through September 30, 2022;

(3)

waiving the maintenance of effort provisions should not be permitted, except in the case of a request for a waiver that meets the explicit nonapplication requirements;

(4)

the maintenance of effort provisions ensure the continued success of the Medicaid program and Children’s Health Insurance Program and were written deliberately to specifically protect vulnerable and disabled individuals, children, and senior citizens, many of whom are also members of communities of color; and

(5)

the maintenance of effort provisions must be strictly enforced and proposals to weaken the maintenance of effort provisions must not be considered.

421.

Repeal of requirement for documentation evidencing citizenship or nationality under the Medicaid program

(a)

Repeal

Subsections (i)(22) and (x) of section 1903 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396b) are each repealed.

(b)

Conforming amendments

(1)

Section 1902 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a) is amended—

(A)

by amending paragraph (46) of subsection (a) to read as follows:

(46)

provide that information is requested and exchanged for purposes of income and eligibility verification in accordance with a State system which meets the requirements of section 1137 of this Act;

;

(B)

in subsection (e)(13)(A)(i)—

(i)

in the matter preceding subclause (I), by striking sections 1902(a)(46)(B) and 1137(d) and inserting section 1137(d); and

(ii)

in subclause (IV), by striking 1902(a)(46)(B) or; and

(C)

by striking subsection (ee).

(2)

Section 1903 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396b) is amended—

(A)

in subsection (i), by redesignating paragraphs (23) through (26) as paragraphs (22) through (25), respectively; and

(B)

by redesignating subsections (y) and (z) as subsections (x) and (y), respectively.

(3)

Subsection (c) of section 6036 of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 1396b note) is repealed.

(c)

Effective date

The repeals and amendments made by this section shall take effect as if included in the enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

422.

Protection of the HHS Offices of Minority Health

(a)

In general

Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111–148), the Offices of Minority Health established within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, are offices that, regardless of change in the structure of the Department of Health and Human Services, shall report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(b)

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of the Congress that any effort to eliminate or consolidate such Offices of Minority Health undermines the progress achieved so far.

423.

Office of Minority Health in Veterans Health Administration of Department of Veterans Affairs

(a)

Establishment and functions

Subchapter I of chapter 73 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

7310.

Office of Minority Health

(a)

Establishment

There is established in the Department within the Office of the Under Secretary for Health an office to be known as the Office of Minority Health (in this section referred to as the Office).

(b)

Head

The Director of the Office of Minority Health shall be the head of the Office. The Director of the Office of Minority Health shall be appointed by the Under Secretary of Health from among individuals qualified to perform the duties of the position.

(c)

Functions

The functions of the Office are as follows:

(1)

To establish short-range and long-range goals and objectives and coordinate all other activities within the Veterans Health Administration that relate to disease prevention, health promotion, health care services delivery, and health care research concerning veterans who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group.

(2)

To support research, demonstrations, and evaluations to test new and innovative models for the discharge of activities described in paragraph (1).

(3)

To increase knowledge and understanding of health risk factors for veterans who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group.

(4)

To develop mechanisms that support better health care information dissemination, education, prevention, and services delivery to veterans from disadvantaged backgrounds, including veterans who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group.

(5)

To enter into contracts or agreements with appropriate public and nonprofit private entities to develop and carry out programs to provide bilingual or interpretive services to assist veterans who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group and who lack proficiency in speaking the English language in accessing and receiving health care services through the Veterans Health Administration.

(6)

To carry out programs to improve access to health care services through the Veterans Health Administration for veterans with limited proficiency in speaking the English language, including the development and evaluation of demonstration and pilot projects for that purpose.

(7)

To advise the Under Secretary of Health on matters relating to the development, implementation, and evaluation of health professions education in decreasing disparities in health care outcomes between veterans who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group and other veterans, including cultural competency as a method of eliminating such health disparities.

(8)

To perform such other functions and duties as the Secretary or the Under Secretary for Health considers appropriate.

(d)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

The term racial or ethnic minority group means any of the following:

(A)

American Indians (including Alaska Natives, Eskimos, and Aleuts).

(B)

Asian Americans.

(C)

Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

(D)

Blacks.

(E)

Hispanics.

(2)

The term Hispanic means individuals whose origin is Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or any other Spanish-speaking country.

.

(b)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 7309A the following new item:

7310. Office of Minority Health.

.

424.

Indian defined in PPACA

(a)

Definition of Indian

Section 1304 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18024) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(f)

Indian

(1)

In general

In this title, the term Indian means any individual—

(A)

described in paragraph (13) or (28) of section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1603);

(B)

who is eligible for health services provided by the Indian Health Service under section 809 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1679);

(C)

who is of Indian descent and belongs to the Indian community served by the local facilities and program of the Indian Health Service; or

(D)

who is described in paragraph (2).

(2)

Included individuals

The following individuals shall be considered to be an Indian:

(A)

A member of a federally recognized Indian Tribe.

(B)

A resident of an urban center who meets 1 or more of the following 4 criteria:

(i)

Membership in a Tribe, band, or other organized group of Indians, including those Tribes, bands, or groups terminated since 1940 and those recognized as of the date of enactment of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018 or later by the State in which they reside, or being a descendant, in the first or second degree, of any such member.

(ii)

Is an Eskimo or Aleut or other Alaska Native.

(iii)

Is considered by the Secretary of the Interior to be an Indian for any purpose.

(iv)

Is determined to be an Indian under regulations promulgated by the Secretary.

(C)

An individual who is considered by the Secretary of the Interior to be an Indian for any purpose.

(D)

An individual who is considered by the Secretary to be an Indian for purposes of eligibility for Indian health care services, including as a California Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, or other Alaska Native.

.

(b)

Conforming amendments

(1)

Affordable choices health benefit plans

Section 1311(c)(6)(D) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18031(c)(6)(D)) is amended by striking section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and inserting section 1304(f).

(2)

Reduced cost-sharing for individuals enrolling in qualified health plans

Section 1402(d) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18071(d)) is amended—

(A)

in paragraph (1), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking section 4(d) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(d)) and inserting section 1304(f); and

(B)

in paragraph (2), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking (as so defined) and inserting (as defined in section 1304(f)).

(3)

Exemption from penalty for not maintaining minimum essential coverage

Section 5000A(e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

(3)

Indians

Any applicable individual who is an Indian (as defined in section 1304(f) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

.

425.

Study of DSH payments to ensure hospital access for low-income patients

(a)

In general

Not later than January 1, 2019, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study on how certain amendments made by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111–148) to titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act affect the timely access to health care services for low-income patients. Such study shall—

(1)

evaluate and examine whether States electing to make medical assistance available under section 1902(a)(10)(A)(i)(VIII) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)(10)(A)(i)(VIII)) (including States making such an election through a waiver of the State plan) to individuals described in such section mitigates the need for payments to disproportionate share hospitals under section 1886(d)(5)(F) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(5)(F)) and section 1923 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1396r–4), including the impact of such States electing to make medical assistance available to such individuals on—

(A)

the number of individuals in the United States who are without health insurance and the distribution of such individuals in relation to areas primarily served by disproportionate share hospitals; and

(B)

the low-income utilization rate of such hospitals and the resulting fiscal sustainability of such hospitals;

(2)

evaluate the appropriate level and distribution of such payments among disproportionate hospitals for purposes of—

(A)

sufficiently accounting for the level of uncompensated care provided by such hospitals to low-income patients; and

(B)

providing timely access to health services for individuals in medically underserved areas; and

(3)

assess, with respect to disproportionate hospitals—

(A)

the role played by such hospitals in providing critical access to emergency, inpatient, and outpatient health services, as well as the location of such hospitals in relation to medically underserved areas; and

(B)

the extent to which such hospitals satisfy the requirements established for charitable hospital organizations under section 501(r) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 with respect to community health needs assessments, financial assistance policy requirements, limitations on charges, and billing and collection requirements.

(b)

Reports

(1)

Report to Congress

Not later than 180 days after the date on which the study under subsection (a) is completed, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate a report that contains—

(A)

the results of the study;

(B)

recommendations to Congress for any legislative changes to the payments to disproportionate share hospitals under section 1886(d)(5)(F) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(5)(F)) and section 1923 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1396r–4) that are needed to ensure access to health services for low-income patients that—

(i)

are based on the number of individuals without health insurance, the amount of uncompensated care provided by such hospitals, and the impact of reduced payments levels on low-income communities; and

(ii)

takes into account any reports submitted by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to Congressional committees regarding the costs incurred by charitable hospital organizations for charity care, bad debt, nonreimbursed expenses for services provided to individuals under the Medicare Program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act and the Medicaid Program under title XIX of such Act, and any community benefit activities provided by such organizations.

(2)

Report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services

Not later than 180 days after the date on which the study under subsection (a) is completed, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Secretary of Health and Human Services a report that contains—

(A)

the results of the study; and

(B)

any recommendations for purposes of assisting in the development of the methodology for the adjustment of payments to disproportionate share hospitals, as required under section 1886(r) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(r)) and the reduction of such payments section 1923(f)(7) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1396r–4(f)(7)), taking into account the reports referred to in paragraph (1)(B)(ii).

426.

Assistant Secretary of the Indian Health Service

(a)

References

Any reference in a law, regulation, document, paper, or other record of the United States to the Director of the Indian Health Service shall be deemed to be a reference to the Assistant Secretary of the Indian Health Service.

(b)

Executive Schedule

Section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, is amended in the matter relating to the Assistant Secretaries of Health and Human Services by striking (6) and inserting (7), 1 of whom shall be the Assistant Secretary of the Indian Health Service.

(c)

Conforming amendment

Section 5316 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by striking Director, Indian Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services..

427.

Reauthorization of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act

(a)

Native Hawaiian health care systems

Section 6(h)(1) of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act (42 U.S.C. 11705(h)(1)) is amended by striking may be necessary for fiscal years 1993 through 2019 and inserting are necessary.

(b)

Administrative grant for papa ola lokahi

Section 7(b) of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act (42 U.S.C. 11706(b)) is amended by striking may be necessary for fiscal years 1993 through 2019 and inserting are necessary.

(c)

Native Hawaiian health scholarships

Section 10(c) of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act (42 U.S.C. 11709(c)) is amended by striking may be necessary for fiscal years 1993 through 2019 and inserting are necessary.

428.

Availability of non-English language speaking providers

(a)

In general

Section 1311(c)(1)(B) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18031(c)(1)(B)) is amended by inserting before the semicolon the following: and, with respect to such providers, a provider’s ability to provide care in a language other than English either through the provider speaking such language or by the provider having a trained medical interpreter, as defined in subsection (b) of this section, who speaks such language available during office hours.

(b)

Qualified interpreter for an individual with limited-English proficiency, defined

The term Qualified interpreter for an individual with limited-English proficiency means an interpreter who via a remote interpreting service or an on-site appearance—

(1)

adheres to generally accepted interpreter ethics principles, including client confidentiality;

(2)

has demonstrated proficiency in speaking and understanding both spoken English and at least one other spoken language; and

(3)

is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressly, to and from such language(s) and English, using any necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology and phraseology.

(c)

Effective date

The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply for plan years beginning more than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

429.

Access to essential community providers

(a)

Essential community providers

Section 1311(c)(1)(C) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18031(c)(1)(C)) is amended—

(1)

by inserting (i) after (C); and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new clauses:

(ii)

not later than 2018, increase the percentage of essential community providers included in its network by 10 percent annually (based on the level in the plan for 2016) until 90 percent of all federally qualified health centers and 75 percent of all other essential community providers in the contract service area are in-network; and

(iii)

include one of each type of essential community provider in network in each county in their service area, where available;

.

(b)

Reporting requirements

Section 1311(e)(3) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18031(e)(3)(A)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(E)

Data on essential community providers

The Secretary shall require qualified health plans to submit annually to the Secretary data on the percentage of essential community providers, by county, that contract with each qualified health plan offered in that county and the percentage of essential community providers, by type, that contract with each qualified health plan offered in that county. Data so submitted shall be made available to the general public

.

(c)

Essential Community Provider provisions applied under Medicare and Medicaid

(1)

Medicare

Section 1852(d)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.1395w–22(d)(1)) is amended—

(A)

by striking and at the end of subparagraph (D);

(B)

by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (E) and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(F)

the plan meets the requirements of clauses (ii) and (iii) of section 1311(c)(1)(C) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (relating to inclusion in networks of essential community providers).

.

(2)

Medicaid

Section 1932(b)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396u–2(b)(5)) is amended—

(A)

by striking and at the end of subparagraph (A);

(B)

by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(C)

the plan meets the requirements of clauses (ii) and (iii) of section 1311(c)(1)(C) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (relating to inclusion in networks of essential community providers) with respect to services offered in the service area involved.

.

430.

Provider network adequacy in communities of color

(a)

In general

Section 1311(c)(1)(B) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18031(c)(1)(B)) is amended—

(1)

by inserting (i) after (B); and

(2)

by adding at the end the following the following new clauses:

(ii)

meet such network adequacy standards as the Secretary may establish with regard to—

(I)

appointment wait time;

(II)

travel time and distance to health care provider facilities and providers by public and private transit;

(III)

hours of operation to accommodate individuals who cannot come to provider appointments during standard business hours; and

(IV)

other network adequacy standards to ensure that care through these plans is accessible to diverse communities, including those who are limited-English proficient; and

(iii)

provide coverage for services for enrollees through out-of-network providers at no additional cost to the enrollees in cases where in-network providers are unable to comply with the standards established under clause subclause (III) or (IV) of clause (ii) for such services and the out-of-network providers can deliver such services in compliance with such standards.

(b)

Effective date

The amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply to plan years beginning more than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

.

431.

Improving access to dental care

(a)

Reports to congress

(1)

GAO report on dental therapist programs

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the Alaska Dental Health Aide Therapists Program and the Dental Therapist and Advanced Dental Therapist programs in Minnesota, to assess dental therapists’ effectiveness in—

(A)

improving access to timely dental care among communities of color;

(B)

providing high quality care; and

(C)

providing culturally competent care.

(2)

GAO report of expanding scope of certain practices

The GAO shall also report on state variations in use of dental hygienists and assess the effectiveness of expanding the scope of practice for hygienists in—

(A)

improving access to timely dental care among communities of color;

(B)

providing high quality care; and

(C)

providing culturally competent care.

(3)

HRSA report on dental shortage areas

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources Service Administration, shall submit to Congress a report which details geographic dental access shortages and the preparedness of dental providers to offer culturally and linguistically appropriate, affordable, accessible, and timely services.

(b)

Expansion of dental health aid therapists in Tribal communities

Section 119(d) of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act ( U.S.C. 1616l(d)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (2), by striking Subject to and all that follows and inserting Subject to paragraph (3), in establishing a national program under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall not reduce the amounts provided for the Community Health Aide Program described in subsections (a) and (b).;

(2)

by striking paragraph (3); and

(3)

by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (3).

(c)

Coverage of dental services under the Medicare program

(1)

Coverage

Section 1861(s)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(s)(2)) is amended—

(A)

in subparagraph (EE), by striking and after the semicolon at the end;

(B)

in subparagraph (FF), by adding and after the semicolon at the end; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(GG)

oral health services (as defined in subsection (kkk);

.

(2)

Oral health services defined

Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x), as amended by sections 205(b) and 433(a), is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(kkk)

Oral Health Services

(1)

The term oral health services means services (as defined by the Secretary) that are necessary to prevent disease and promote oral health, restore oral structures to health and function, and treat emergency conditions.

(2)

For purposes of paragraph (1), such term shall include mobile and portable oral health services (as defined by the Secretary) that—

(A)

are provided for the purpose of overcoming mobility, transportation, and access barriers for individuals; and

(B)

satisfy the standards and certification requirements established under section 1902(a)(82)(B) for the State in which the services are provided.

.

(3)

Payment and coinsurance

Section 1833(a)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(a)(1)) is amended—

(A)

by striking and before (Z); and

(B)

by inserting before the semicolon at the end the following: , and (AA) with respect to oral health services (as defined in section 1861(kkk)), the amount paid shall be (i) in the case of such services that are preventive, 100 percent of the lesser of the actual charge for the services or the amount determined under the payment basis determined under section 1848, and (ii) in the case of all other such services, 80 percent of the lesser of the actual charge for the services or the amount determined under the payment basis determined under section 1848.

(4)

Payment under physician fee schedule

Section 1848(j)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–4(j)(3)) is amended by inserting (2)(GG), after risk assessment),.

(5)

Dentures

Section 1861(s)(8) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(s)(8)) is amended—

(A)

by striking (other than dental) and inserting (including dentures); and

(B)

by striking internal body.

(6)

Repeal of ground for exclusion

Section 1862(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395y) is amended by striking paragraph (12).

(7)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply to services furnished on or after January 1, 2019.

(d)

Coverage of dental services under the Medicaid program

(1)

In general

Section 1905 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d) is amended—

(A)

in subsection (a)(10), by striking dental services and inserting oral health services (as defined in subsection (ee)(1)); and

(B)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(ee)
(1)

Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), for purposes of this title, the term oral health services means services (as defined by the Secretary) that are necessary to prevent disease and promote oral health, restore oral structures to health and function, and treat emergency conditions. These services shall include, in the case of pregnant or postpartum women, such services as are necessary to address oral health conditions that exist or are exacerbated by pregnancy or childbirth or which, if left untreated, could adversely affect fetal or child development.

(2)

For purposes of paragraph (1), such term shall include—

(A)

dentures; and

(B)

mobile and portable oral health services (as defined by the Secretary) that—

(i)

are provided for the purpose of overcoming mobility, transportation, and access barriers for individuals; and

(ii)

satisfy the standards and certification requirements established under section 1902(a)(82)(C) for the State in which the services are provided.

(3)

For purposes of paragraph (1), such term shall not apply to dental care or services provided to individuals under the age of 21 under subsection (r)(3).

.

(2)

Conforming amendments

(A)

State plan requirements

Section 1902(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)) is amended—

(i)

in paragraph (10)(A), in the matter preceding clause (i), by inserting (10), after (5),;

(ii)

in paragraph (80), by striking and at the end;

(iii)

in paragraph (81), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(iv)

by inserting after paragraph (81) the following:

(82)

provide for—

(A)

informing, in writing, all individuals who have been determined to be eligible for medical assistance of the availability of oral health services (as defined in section 1905(ee));

(B)

conducting targeted outreach to pregnant women who have been determined to be eligible for medical assistance about the availability of medical assistance for such dental services and the importance of receiving dental care while pregnant; and

(C)

establishing and maintaining standards for and certification of mobile and portable oral health services (as described in subsections (r)(3)(C) and (ee)(2)(B) of section 1905).

.

(B)

Definition of medical assistance

Section 1905(a)(12) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(a)(12)) is amended by striking , dentures,.

(3)

Mobile and portable oral health services under EPSDT

Section 1905(r)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(r)(3)) is amended—

(A)

in subparagraph (A)(ii), by striking ; and and inserting a semicolon;

(B)

in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(C)

which shall include mobile and portable oral health services (as defined by the Secretary) that—

(i)

are provided for the purpose of overcoming mobility, transportation, or access barriers for children; and

(ii)

satisfy the standards and certification requirements established under section 1902(a)(82)(C) for the State in which the services are provided.

.

(e)

Oral health services as an essential health benefit

Section 1302(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18022(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

in subparagraph (J), by striking oral and; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(K)

Oral health services for children and adults.

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(6)

Oral health services

For purposes of paragraph (1)(K), the term oral health services means services (as defined by the Secretary), that are necessary to prevent disease and promote oral health, restore oral structures to health and function, and treat emergency conditions.

.

(f)

Demonstration program on training and employment of alternative dental health care providers for dental health care services for veterans in rural and other underserved communities

(1)

Demonstration program authorized

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may carry out a demonstration program to establish programs to train and employ alternative dental health care providers in order to increase access to dental health care services for veterans who are entitled to such services from the Department of Veterans Affairs and reside in rural and other underserved communities.

(2)

Telehealth

For purposes of alternative dental health care providers and other dental care providers who are licensed to provide clinical care, dental services provided under the demonstration program under this section may be administered by such providers through telehealth-enabled collaboration and supervision when appropriate and feasible.

(3)

Alternative dental health care providers defined

In this section, the term alternative dental health care providers has the meaning given that term in section 340G–1(a)(2) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 256g–1(a)(2)).

(4)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the demonstration program under this subsection.

(g)

Demonstration program on training and employment of alternative dental health care providers for dental health care services for members of the armed forces and dependents lacking ready access to such services

(1)

Demonstration program authorized

The Secretary of Defense may carry out a demonstration program to establish programs to train and employ alternative dental health care providers in order to increase access to dental health care services for members of the Armed Forces and their dependents who lack ready access to such services, including the following:

(A)

Members and dependents who reside in rural areas or areas otherwise underserved by dental health care providers.

(B)

Members of the National Guard and Reserves in active status who are potentially deployable.

(2)

Telehealth

For purposes of alternative dental health care providers and other dental care providers who are licensed to provide clinical care, dental services provided under the demonstration program under this section may be administered by such providers through telehealth-enabled collaboration and supervision when appropriate and feasible.

(3)

Alternative dental health care providers defined

In this section, the term alternative dental health care providers has the meaning given that term in section 340G–1(a)(2) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 256g–1(a)(2)).

(4)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the demonstration program under this subsection.

(h)

Demonstration program on training and employment of alternative dental health care providers for dental health care services for prisoners within the custody of the bureau of prisons

(1)

Demonstration program authorized

The Attorney General, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, may carry out a demonstration program to establish programs to train and employ alternative dental health care providers in order to increase access to dental health services for prisoners within the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.

(2)

Telehealth

For purposes of alternative dental health care providers and any other dental care providers who are licensed to provide clinical care, dental services provided under the demonstration program under this section may be administered by such providers through telehealth-enabled collaboration and supervision when deemed appropriate and feasible.

(3)

Alternative dental health care providers defined

In this section, the term alternative dental health care providers has the meaning given that term in section 340G–1(a)(2) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 256g–1(a)(2)).

(4)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the demonstration program under this subsection.

(i)

Demonstration program on training and employment of alternative dental health care providers for dental health care services under the indian health service

(1)

Demonstration program authorized

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Indian Health Service, may carry out a demonstration program to establish programs to train and employ alternative dental health care providers in order to help eliminate oral health disparities and increase access to dental services through health programs operated by the Indian Health Service, Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations (as those terms are defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1603)).

(2)

Telehealth

For purposes of alternative dental health care providers and any other dental care providers who are licensed to provide clinical care, dental services provided under the demonstration program under this section may be administered by such providers through telehealth-enabled collaboration and supervision when deemed appropriate and feasible.

(3)

Alternative dental health care providers defined

In this section, the term alternative dental health care providers has the meaning given that term in section 340G–1(a)(2) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 256g–1(a)(2)).

(4)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the demonstration program under this subsection.

C

Advancing Health Equity Through Payment and Delivery Reform

441.

Sense of Congress

It is the Sense of Congress that the sustainability of the U.S. health care system hinges on restructuring how health care is paid for, shifting away from paying for the volume of services provided to the value the services provide. High value care is care that provides higher quality care more efficiently, achieving greater health improvement and better health outcomes at lower cost (per patient and overall). A high value health care system must deliver timely, accessible, well-coordinated, high quality, culturally centered, and language appropriate care to everyone. Therefore, eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity must be central to efforts to achieve a high value health care system. This will require tailored interventions and targeted investments to address inequities in health and health care to make sure that health care delivery and payment efforts are responsive to and inclusive of the needs of communities of color and other communities experiencing disparities. New models of value-based payment and care delivery should consider the holistic needs of the patient population, including social determinants of health and behavioral health needs.

442.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services quality payment program

(a)

In general

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Quality Payment Program, developed through implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, should explicitly integrate achieving health equity across all measures and activities, including the Merit-based Payment Incentive System and Alternative Payment Models. In addition, CMS should identify limited-English proficient (LEP) persons as a specific underserved group within the program and give high weight to providing language services for non-English speakers. Clinicians can demonstrate performance in this category by developing language assistance plans, providing oral interpretation services, and providing translated documents for the population served or eligible to be served.

(b)

Stratified data

CMS should include an explicit reference that data stratification and reporting is one way of working to achieve health equity. CMS should require that in reporting this measure, clinicians should stratify clinical quality measures by disparity variables, including race, ethnicity, preferred language, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, psychological and behavioral status. Clinicians can use existing demographic data collection fields in CEHRT to do this. Stratified data can help clinicians identify and distinguish efforts to improve quality from efforts to reduce disparities, which may not correlate without dedicated work. All participating entities in the Quality Payment Program should adopt 2015 Certified Electronic Health Records Technology as a condition of participating in the program.

(c)

Quality improvement activities

Further, CMS, upon yearly review of the Quality Payment Program, should add quality improvement activities that implement the Culturally and Linguistically Accessible Standards (CLAS) standards as Improvement Activities.

443.

Development and testing of disparity reducing delivery and payment models

(a)

In general

The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (CMMI) will establish a dedicated fund to identify, pilot, evaluate and scale delivery and payment models that target health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities, including models that support high-value non-medical services that address socially-determined barriers to health including: English proficiency, health literacy, case management, transportation and enrollment assistance which will help to reduce disparities and impact the overall cost of care.

(b)

Pilot programs

Pilot and demonstration programs that include partnerships with entities including community based organizations or other non-profit entities to help address socially determined barriers to health and health care will be given priority.

(c)

Alternatives

Require all CMMI funded alternative delivery and payment models to include measures to assess and track their impact on health disparities, using existing measures such as, but not limited to, the National Quality Forum Healthcare Disparities and Cultural Competency Measures, and stratified by race, ethnicity, English proficiency, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability status.

444.

Supporting safety net and community-based providers to compete in value-based payment systems

(a)

In general

All proposed pay for performance and alternative payment models, developed and tested by CMMI, or any other HHS agency should be assessed for potential impact on safety net, community based, and critical access providers, including federally qualified health centers.

(b)

New models

The rollout of new payment models should include training and additional up front resources for community based and safety net providers to enable them to participate in them.

D

Health Empowerment Zones

451.

Short title

This subtitle may be cited as the Health Empowerment Zone Act of 2018.

452.

Findings

The Congress finds the following:

(1)

Numerous studies and reports, including the 2015 National Healthcare Disparities Report of the Administration on Healthcare Research and Quality and the 2002 Unequal Treatment Report of the Institute of Medicine, document the extensiveness to which health disparities exist across the country.

(2)

These studies have found that, on average, racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately afflicted with chronic and acute conditions—such as cancer, diabetes, musculoskeletal disease, obesity, and hypertension—and suffer worse health outcomes, worse health status, and higher mortality rates than their White counterparts.

(3)

Several recent studies also show that health disparities are a function of not only access to health care, but also the social determinants of health—including the environment, the physical structure of communities, nutrition and food options, educational attainment and health literacy, employment, race, ethnicity, immigration status, geography, and language preference—that directly and indirectly affect the health, health care, and wellness of individuals and communities.

(4)

Integrally involving and fully supporting the communities most affected by health inequities in the assessment, planning, launch, and evaluation of health disparity elimination efforts are among the leading recommendations made to adequately address and ultimately reduce health disparities.

(5)

Recommendations also include supporting the efforts of community stakeholders from a broad cross section—including, but not limited to local businesses, local departments of commerce, education, labor, urban planning, and transportation, and community-based and other nonprofit organizations, including national and regional intermediaries with demonstrated capacity to serve low-income urban communities—to find areas of common ground around health disparity elimination and collaborate to improve the overall health and wellness of a community and its residents.

453.

Designation of health empowerment zones

(a)

In general

At the request of an eligible community partnership, the Secretary may designate an eligible area as a health empowerment zone.

(b)

Eligibility criteria

(1)

Eligible community partnership

A community partnership is eligible to submit a request under this section if the partnership—

(A)

demonstrates widespread public support from key individuals and entities in the eligible area, including members of the target community, State and local governments, nonprofit organizations including national and regional intermediaries with demonstrated capacity to serve low-income urban communities, and community and industry leaders, for designation of the eligible area as a health empowerment zone; and

(B)

includes representatives of—

(i)

a broad cross section of stakeholders and residents from communities in the eligible area experiencing disproportionate disparities in health status and health care; and

(ii)

organizations, facilities, and institutions that have a history of working within and serving such communities.

(2)

Eligible area

An area is eligible to be designated as a health empowerment zone under this section if one or more communities in the area experience disproportionate disparities in health status and health care. In determining whether a community experiences such disparities, the Secretary shall consider the data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services focusing on the following areas:

(A)

Access to affordable, high-quality health services.

(B)

The prevalence of disproportionate rates of certain illnesses or diseases including the following:

(i)

Arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic back conditions, and other musculoskeletal diseases.

(ii)

Cancer.

(iii)

Chronic kidney disease.

(iv)

Diabetes.

(v)

Injury (intentional and unintentional).

(vi)

Violence (intimate and nonintimate).

(vii)

Maternal and paternal illnesses and diseases.

(viii)

Infant mortality.

(ix)

Mental illness and other disabilities.

(x)

Substance abuse treatment and prevention, including underage drinking.

(xi)

Nutrition, obesity, and overweight conditions.

(xii)

Heart disease.

(xiii)

Hypertension.

(xiv)

Cerebrovascular disease or stroke.

(xv)

Tuberculosis.

(xvi)

HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

(xvii)

Viral hepatitis.

(xviii)

Asthma.

(xix)

Tooth decay and other oral health issues.

(C)

Within the target community, the historical and persistent presence of conditions that have been found to contribute to health disparities including any such conditions respecting the following:

(i)

Poverty.

(ii)

Educational status and the quality of community schools.

(iii)

Income.

(iv)

Access to high-quality affordable health care.

(v)

Work and work environment.

(vi)

Environmental conditions in the community, including with respect to clean water, clean air, and the presence or absence of pollutants.

(vii)

Language and English proficiency.

(viii)

Access to affordable healthy food.

(ix)

Access to ethnically and culturally diverse health and human service providers and practitioners.

(x)

Access to culturally and linguistically competent health and human services and health and human service providers.

(xi)

Health-supporting infrastructure.

(xii)

Health insurance that is adequate and affordable.

(xiii)

Race, racism, and bigotry (conscious and unconscious).

(xiv)

Sexual orientation.

(xv)

Health literacy.

(xvi)

Place of residence (such as urban areas, rural areas, and Tribal reservations).

(xvii)

Stress.

(c)

Procedure

(1)

Request

A request under subsection (a) shall—

(A)

describe the bounds of the area to be designated as a health empowerment zone and the process used to select those bounds;

(B)

demonstrate that the partnership submitting the request is an eligible community partnership described in subsection (b)(1);

(C)

demonstrate that the area is an eligible area described in subsection (b)(2);

(D)

include a comprehensive assessment of disparities in health status and health care experience by one or more communities in the area;

(E)

set forth—

(i)

a vision and a set of values for the area; and

(ii)

a comprehensive and holistic set of goals to be achieved in the area through designation as a health empowerment zone; and

(F)

include a strategic plan and an action plan for achieving the goals described in subparagraph (E)(ii).

(2)

Approval

Not later than 60 days after the receipt of a request for designation of an area as a health empowerment zone under this section, the Secretary shall approve or disapprove the request.

(d)

Minimum number

The Secretary—

(1)

shall designate not more than 110 health empowerment zones under this section; and

(2)

shall designate at least one health empowerment zone in each of the several States, the District of Columbia, and each territory or possession of the United States.

454.

Assistance to those seeking designation

At the request of any organization or entity seeking to submit a request under section 453(a), the Secretary shall provide technical assistance, and may award a grant, to assist such organization or entity—

(1)

to form an eligible community partnership described in section 453(b)(1);

(2)

to complete a health assessment, including an assessment of health disparities under section 453(c)(1)(D); or

(3)

to prepare and submit a request, including a strategic plan, in accordance with section 453.

455.

Benefits of designation

(a)

Priority

In awarding any competitive grant, a Federal official shall give priority to any applicant that—

(1)

meets the eligibility criteria for the grant;

(2)

proposes to use the grant for activities in a health empowerment zone; and

(3)

demonstrates that such activities will directly and significantly further the goals of the strategic plan approved for such zone under section 453.

(b)

Grants for initial implementation of strategic plan

(1)

In general

Upon designating an eligible area as a health empowerment zone at the request of an eligible community partnership, the Secretary shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, make a grant to the community partnership for implementation of the strategic plan for such zone.

(2)

Grant period

A grant under paragraph (1) for a health empowerment zone shall be for a period of 2 years and may be renewed, except that the total period of grants under paragraph (1) for such zone may not exceed 10 years.

(3)

Limitation

In awarding grants under this subsection, the Secretary shall not give less priority to an applicant or reduce the amount of a grant because the Secretary rendered technical assistance or made a grant to the same applicant under section 454.

(4)

Reporting

The Secretary shall establish metrics for measuring the progress of grantees under this subsection and, based on such metrics, require each such grantee to report to the Secretary not less than every 6 months on the progress in implementing the strategic plan for the health empowerment zone.

456.

Definition

In this subtitle, the term Secretary means the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, and in cooperation with the Director of the Office of Community Services and the Director of the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities.

457.

Authorization of appropriations

To carry out this subtitle, there is authorized to be appropriated $100,000,000 for fiscal year 2019.

E

At-Risk community coverage

461.

Medicaid coverage for citizens of Freely Associated States

(a)

In general

Section 402(b)(2) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1612(b)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(G)

Medicaid exception for citizens of Freely Associated States

With respect to eligibility for benefits for the designated Federal program defined in paragraph (3)(C) (relating to the Medicaid program), section 401(a) and paragraph (1) shall not apply to any individual who lawfully resides in 1 of the 50 States or the District of Columbia in accordance with the Compacts of Free Association between the Government of the United States and the Governments of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau and shall not apply, at the option of the Governor of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa as communicated to the Secretary of Health and Human Services in writing, to any individual who lawfully resides in the respective territory in accordance with such Compacts.

.

(b)

Exception to 5-Year limited eligibility

Section 403(d) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1613(d)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking or at the end;

(2)

in paragraph (2), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; or; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(3)

an individual described in section 402(b)(2)(G), but only with respect to the designated Federal program defined in section 402(b)(3)(C).

.

(c)

Definition of qualified alien

Section 431(b) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1641(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (6), by striking ; or at the end and inserting a comma;

(2)

in paragraph (7), by striking the period at the end and inserting , or; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(8)

an individual who lawfully resides in the United States in accordance with a Compact of Free Association referred to in section 402(b)(2)(G), but only with respect to the designated Federal program defined in section 402(b)(3)(C) (relating to the Medicaid program).

.

(d)

Conforming amendments

Section 1108 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1308) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (f), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking subsection (g) and inserting subsections (g) and (h); and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(h)

Expenditures for medical assistance provided to an individual described in section 431(b)(8) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 shall not be taken into account for purposes of applying payment limits under subsections (f) and (g).

.

(e)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply to benefits for items and services furnished on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

462.

At-risk youth Medicaid protection

(a)

In general

Section 1902 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)—

(A)

by striking and at the end of paragraph (82);

(B)

by striking the period at the end of paragraph (83) and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by inserting after paragraph (83) the following new paragraph:

(84)

provide that—

(A)

the State shall not terminate eligibility for medical assistance under a State plan for an individual who is an eligible juvenile (as defined in subsection (nn)(2)) because the juvenile is an inmate of a public institution (as defined in subsection (nn)(3)), but may suspend coverage during the period the juvenile is such an inmate;

(B)

the State shall restore coverage for such medical assistance to such an individual upon the individual’s release from any such public institution, without requiring a new application from the individual, unless (and until such date as) there is a determination that the individual no longer meets the eligibility requirements for such medical assistance; and

(C)

the State shall process any application for medical assistance submitted by, or on behalf of, a juvenile who is an inmate of a public institution notwithstanding that the juvenile is such an inmate.

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(nn)

Juvenile; eligible juvenile; public institution

For purposes of subsection (a)(84) and this subsection:

(1)

Juvenile

The term juvenile means an individual who is—

(A)

under 21 years of age; or

(B)

is described in subsection (a)(10)(A)(i)(IX).

(2)

Eligible juvenile

The term eligible juvenile means a juvenile who is an inmate of a public institution and was eligible for medical assistance under the State plan immediately before becoming an inmate of such a public institution or who becomes eligible for such medical assistance while an inmate of a public institution.

(3)

Inmate of a public institution

The term inmate of a public institution has the meaning given such term for purposes of applying the subdivision (A) following paragraph (29) of section 1905(a), taking into account the exception in such subdivision for a patient of a medical institution.

.

(b)

No change in exclusion from medical assistance for inmates of public institutions

Nothing in this section shall be construed as changing the exclusion from medical assistance under the subdivision (A) following paragraph (29) of section 1905(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(a)), including any applicable restrictions on a State submitting claims for Federal financial participation under title XIX of such Act for such assistance.

(c)

No change in continuity of eligibility before adjudication or sentencing

Nothing in this section shall be construed to mandate, encourage, or suggest that a State suspend or terminate coverage for individuals before they have been adjudicated or sentenced.

(d)

Effective date

(1)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), the amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply to eligibility of juveniles who become inmates of public institutions on or after the date that is 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2)

Rule for changes requiring state legislation

In the case of a State plan for medical assistance under title XIX of the Social Security Act which the Secretary of Health and Human Services determines requires State legislation (other than legislation appropriating funds) in order for the plan to meet the additional requirements imposed by the amendments made by subsection (a), the State plan shall not be regarded as failing to comply with the requirements of such title solely on the basis of its failure to meet these additional requirements before the first day of the first calendar quarter beginning after the close of the first regular session of the State legislature that begins after the date of the enactment of this Act. For purposes of the previous sentence, in the case of a State that has a 2-year legislative session, each year of such session shall be deemed to be a separate regular session of the State legislature.

V

IMPROVING HEALTH OUTCOMES FOR WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND FAMILIES

A

In General

501.

Grants to promote health for underserved communities

Part Q of title III of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 280g et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

399Z–3.

Grants to promote health for underserved communities

(a)

Grants Authorized

The Secretary, in collaboration with the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration and other Federal officials determined appropriate by the Secretary, is authorized to award grants to eligible entities—

(1)

to promote health for underserved communities, with preference given to projects that benefit racial and ethnic minority women, racial and ethnic minority children, adolescents, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning communities; and

(2)

to strengthen health outreach initiatives in medically underserved communities, including linguistically isolated populations.

(b)

Use of Funds

Grants awarded pursuant to subsection (a) may be used to support the activities of community health workers, including such activities—

(1)

to educate and provide outreach regarding enrollment in health insurance including the State Children’s Health Insurance Program under title XXI of the Social Security Act, Medicare under title XVIII of such Act, and Medicaid under title XIX of such Act;

(2)

to educate and provide outreach in a community setting regarding health problems prevalent among underserved communities, and especially among racial and ethnic minority women, racial and ethnic minority children, adolescents, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning communities;

(3)

to educate and provide experiential learning opportunities and target risk factors and healthy behaviors that impede or contribute to achieving positive health outcomes, including—

(A)

healthy nutrition;

(B)

physical activity;

(C)

overweight or obesity;

(D)

tobacco use;

(E)

alcohol and substance use;

(F)

injury and violence;