Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House without amendment (10/01/2002)

Health Care Safety Net Improvement Act - Title I: Consolidated Health Center Program Amendments - Amends the Public Health Service Act to make various amendments to the Consolidated Health Centers Program, including: (1) increasing the authorization of appropriations for health centers and extending such authorization through FY 2006; (2) changing the requirement for health centers to provide screening for breast and cervical cancer to a requirement to provide appropriate cancer screening; (3) considering behavioral and mental health and substance abuse services as "additional health services"; (4) authorizing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make grants to a new category of networks (practice management networks), to enable the centers to reduce costs, improve access to and the availability of health care services, enhance the quality and coordination of health care services, or improve the health status of communities; (5) adding homeless youth as eligible populations to be served under the Consolidated Health Centers Program; (6) requiring the Secretary to establish a program to provide technical and other assistance to health centers; (7) authorizing the Secretary to make grants to State professional licensing boards to reduce statutory and regulatory barriers to telemedicine; and (8) authorizing appropriations for the Consolidated Health Centers Program.

Title II: Rural Health - Subtitle A: Rural Health Care Services Outreach, Rural Health Network Development, and Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grant Programs - Revises provisions concerning the rural health outreach, network development, and telemedicine grant program to state that their purpose is to provide grants for expanded delivery of health care services in rural areas, for the planning and implementation of integrated health care networks in rural areas, and for the planning and implementation of small health care provider quality improvement activities.

States that the rural health care services outreach, rural health network development, and small health care provider quality improvement grant programs shall be administered by the Director of the Office of Rural Health Policy of the Health Resources and Services Administration, in consultation with State offices of rural health or other appropriate State government entities. Authorizes the Director to award rural health care services outreach grants, rural health network development grants, and small health care provider quality improvement grants to expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services, and enhance the delivery of health care, in rural areas. Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle B: Telehealth Grant Consolidation Act of 2001 - Requires the Secretary to establish telehealth network and resource centers grant programs. Establishes in the Health and Resources and Services Administration an Office for the Advancement of Telehealth to be headed by a Director and shall be administered by such Director, in consultation with the State offices of rural health, State offices concerning primary care, or other appropriate State government entities.

Authorizes the Director, in carrying out the telehealth network grant program, to award grants to eligible entities for projects to demonstrate how telehealth technologies can be used through telehealth networks in rural areas, frontier communities, and medically underserved areas, and for medically underserved populations, to: (1) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of health care services; (2) improve and expand the training of health care providers; and (3) expand and improve the quality of health information available to health care providers, and patients and their families, for decisionmaking. Sets forth provisions concerning the granting, receipt, and use of such grants and reporting requirements. Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle C: Mental Health Services Telehealth Program and Rural Emergency Medical Service Training and Equipment Assistance Program - Requires the Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, to award grants to eligible entities to enable such entities to provide for improved emergency medical services in rural areas. Requires entities receiving grants to meet a 25 percent matching requirement. Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth of the Health Resources and Services Administration, to award grants to eligible entities to establish demonstration projects for the provision of mental health services to special populations as delivered remotely by qualified mental health professionals using telehealth. Requires a report. Authorizes appropriations.

Title III: National Health Service Corps Program - (Sec. 301) Amends provisions concerning the National Health Service Corps to define the terms "behavioral and mental health professionals" and "graduate program of behavioral and mental health."

Authorizes the Secretary to carry out demonstration projects so that individuals who are obligated to a period of service under the Loan Repayment Program may receive waivers to satisfy the requirement for providing clinical service at a selected entity on a less than full-time basis.

(Sec. 302) Requires all federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics that meet cost sharing requirements to be automatically designated as having such a health professional shortage.

Includes in the list of populations that the Secretary may designate as a health manpower shortage area, seasonal agricultural workers and migratory agricultural workers and residents of public housing.

Requires the Secretary, in consultation with organizations representing individuals in the dental field and organizations representing publicly funded health care providers, to develop and implement a plan to increase the level of participation by dentists and dental hygienists in the Scholarship Program and the Loan Repayment Program.

Directs the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report on the appropriateness of the criteria established by the Secretary for the designation of health professional shortage areas and on whether the deeming of federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics as such areas is appropriate and necessary.

(Sec. 303) Authorizes the Secretary to assign Corps members to any public or private entity. (Currently, Corps members are assigned to only public and non-profit private entities.)

Requires (currently, permits) the Secretary to provide technical assistance to entities that are located in health professional shortage areas and desire to apply for the assignment of a Corps member.

(Sec. 304) Repeals requirements that the Secretary consider only certain factors for determining priority assignments of Corps personnel to health professional shortage areas with the greatest shortages.

Requires the Secretary to publish a proposed list of health professional shortage areas and entities that would receive priority for the assignment of Corps members.

(Sec. 305) Revises provisions concerning charges for services by entities using Corps members, including prohibiting entities to which a Corps member is assigned from denying health services to individuals or discriminating in the provision of services because of inability to pay, or because payment for services would be made under Medicare, Medicaid, or SCHIP.

(Sec. 306) Makes ineligible to receive SCHIP funds (in addition to Medicare and Medicaid funds) any hospital refusing admitting privileges to a Corps member.

(Sec. 307) Substitutes the term ``health professional shortage areas'' for the term ``health manpower shortage areas."

(Sec. 308) Authorizes appropriations for the National Health Service Corps Program.

(Sec. 309) Includes behavioral and mental health professionals as eligible participants under the Corps Scholarship Program.

Requires a Corps scholarship individual to agree, if pursuing a degree in medicine or osteopathic medicine, to complete a residency in a specialty that the Secretary determines is consistent with the needs of the Corps.

(Sec. 310) Includes behavioral and mental health professionals as eligible participants under the Corps Loan Repayment Program.

(Sec. 311) Revises provisions that specify dates when obligated service must begin for Scholarship recipients.

Repeals the provision that allowed Corps personnel to fulfill their period of obligation by working as researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

(Sec. 312) Revises requirements concerning: (1) individuals fulfilling their Service obligation through private practice; and (2) breach of scholarship or loan repayment contract.

(Sec. 314) Authorizes appropriations for the Scholarship program.

(Sec. 315) Authorizes appropriations for the grants program to States for loan repayments.

(Sec. 316) Directs the Secretary to establish a demonstration project to provide for the participation of chiropractic doctors and pharmacists in the Corps loan repayment program.

Title IV: Additional Provisions - (Sec. 401) Authorizes the Secretary to make up to 35 grants to eligible entities for demonstration projects to improve services for uninsured and underinsured individuals. Defines "eligible entity" as a public or private entity such as: (1) a federally qualified health center; (2) certain hospitals; (3) a public health department; and (4) certain consortia of providers and, as appropriate, related agencies or entities that provide a broad range of coordinated health care services. Specifies elements grant applications shall contain.

Sets forth provisions concerning priorities in awarding grants, use of funds, grantee requirements, reporting requirements, and authorizing appropriations.

(Sec. 402) Authorizes the Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, to award grants to States for the purpose of helping States develop and implement innovative programs to address the dental workforce needs of designated dental health professional shortage areas in a manner that is appropriate to the States' individual needs.

Sets forth provisions concerning permitted use of funds by a State receiving a grant, grant applications, matching requirements, reporting requirements, and authorizing appropriations.

(Sec. 403) Directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the problems experienced by farmworkers and their families under Medicaid and SCHIP. Specifies problems the study shall examine, as well as possible solutions. Directs the Secretary to submit a report to the President and Congress on the study.

(Sec. 404) Requires that private entities that are not nonprofit entities must be the only provider of quality health services in the geographic area involved to be selected for certain grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements under this Act.