Text: H.R.4352 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 114-286 (12/16/2016)

 
[114th Congress Public Law 286]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 130 STAT. 1459]]

Public Law 114-286
114th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program 
establishing a patient self-scheduling appointment system, and for other 
            purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 16, 2016 -  [H.R. 4352]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Faster Care for 
Veterans Act of 2016.>> 
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 38 USC 1701 note.>>  SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Faster Care for Veterans Act of 
2016''.
SEC. 2. PILOT PROGRAM ESTABLISHING A PATIENT SELF-SCHEDULING 
                    APPOINTMENT SYSTEM.

    (a) <<NOTE: Deadline. Website. Mobile application.>>  Pilot 
Program.--Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of 
this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall commence a pilot 
program under which veterans use an Internet website or mobile 
application to schedule and confirm medical appointments at medical 
facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    (b) Selection of Locations.--The Secretary shall select not less 
than three Veterans Integrated Services Networks in which to carry out 
the pilot program under subsection (a).
    (c) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  Contracts.--
            (1) Authority.--The Secretary shall seek to enter into a 
        contract using competitive procedures with one or more 
        contractors to provide the scheduling capability described in 
        subsection (a).
            (2) Notice of competition.--Not later than 60 days after the 
        date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue a 
        request for proposals for the contract described in paragraph 
        (1). Such request shall be full and open to any contractor that 
        has an existing commercially available, off-the-shelf online 
        patient self-scheduling system that includes the capabilities 
        specified in section 3(a).
            (3) Selection.--Not later than 120 days after the date of 
        the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall award a contract 
        to one or more contractors pursuant to the request for proposals 
        under paragraph (2).

    (d) Duration of Pilot Program.--
            (1) In general.--Except as provided by paragraph (2), the 
        Secretary shall carry out the pilot program under subsection (a) 
        for an 18-month period.
            (2) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  Extension.--The Secretary may 
        extend the duration of the pilot program under subsection (a), 
        and may expand the selection of Veterans Integrated Services 
        Networks under

[[Page 130 STAT. 1460]]

        subsection (b), if the Secretary determines that the pilot 
        program is reducing the wait times of veterans seeking medical 
        care and ensuring that more available appointment times are 
        filled.

    (e) Mobile Application Defined.--In this section, the term ``mobile 
application'' means a software program that runs on the operating system 
of a cellular telephone, tablet computer, or similar portable computing 
device that transmits data over a wireless connection.
SEC. 3. CAPABILITIES OF PATIENT SELF-SCHEDULING APPOINTMENT 
                    SYSTEM.

    (a) Minimum Capabilities.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
ensure that the patient self-scheduling appointment system used in the 
pilot program under section 2, and any other patient self-scheduling 
appointment system developed or used by the Department of Veterans 
Affairs, includes, at a minimum, the following capabilities:
            (1) Capability to schedule, modify, and cancel appointments 
        for primary care, specialty care, and mental health.
            (2) Capability to support appointments for the provision of 
        health care regardless of whether such care is provided in 
        person or through telehealth services.
            (3) Capability to view appointment availability in real 
        time.
            (4) Capability to make available, in real time, appointments 
        that were previously filled but later cancelled by other 
        patients.
            (5) Capability to provide prompts or reminders to veterans 
        to schedule follow-up appointments.
            (6) Capability to be used 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
            (7) Capability to integrate with the Veterans Health 
        Information Systems and Technology Architecture of the 
        Department, or such successor information technology system.

    (b) Independent Validation and Verification.--
            (1) Independent entity.--
                    (A) <<NOTE: Contracts.>>  The Secretary shall seek 
                to enter into an agreement with an appropriate non-
                governmental, not-for-profit entity with expertise in 
                health information technology to independently validate 
                and verify that the patient self-scheduling appointment 
                system used in the pilot program under section 2, and 
                any other patient self-scheduling appointment system 
                developed or used by the Department of Veterans Affairs, 
                includes the capabilities specified in subsection (a).
                    (B) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  Each independent 
                validation and verification conducted under subparagraph 
                (A) shall be completed as follows:
                          (i) With respect to the validation and 
                      verification of the patient self-scheduling 
                      appointment system used in the pilot program under 
                      section 2, by not later than 60 days after the 
                      date on which such pilot program commences.
                          (ii) With respect to any other patient self-
                      scheduling appointment system developed or used by 
                      the Department of Veterans Affairs, by not later 
                      than 60 days after the date on which such system 
                      is deployed, regardless of whether such deployment 
                      is on a limited

[[Page 130 STAT. 1461]]

                      basis, but not including any deployments for 
                      testing purposes.
            (2) GAO evaluation.--
                    (A) The Comptroller General of the United States 
                shall evaluate each validation and verification 
                conducted under paragraph (1).
                    (B) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Not later than 30 days 
                after the date on which the Comptroller General 
                completes an evaluation under paragraph (1), the 
                Comptroller General shall submit to the appropriate 
                congressional committees a report on such evaluation.
                    (C) <<NOTE: Definition.>>  In this paragraph, the 
                term ``appropriate congressional committees'' means--
                          (i) the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the 
                      House of Representatives and the Senate; and
                          (ii) the Committees on Appropriations of the 
                      House of Representatives and the Senate.

    (c) Certification.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Capabilities included.--Not later 
        than December 31, 2017, the Secretary shall certify to the 
        Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives 
        and the Senate that the patient self-scheduling appointment 
        system used in the pilot program under section 2, and any other 
        patient self-scheduling appointment system developed or used by 
        the Department of Veterans Affairs as of the date of the 
        certification, includes the capabilities specified in subsection 
        (a).
            (2) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  New systems.--If the Secretary 
        develops or begins using a new patient self-scheduling 
        appointment system that is not covered by a certification made 
        under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall certify to such 
        committees that such new system includes the capabilities 
        specified in subsection (a) by not later than 30 days after the 
        date on which the Secretary determines to replace the previous 
        patient self-scheduling appointment system.
            (3) Effect of capabilities not included.--If the Secretary 
        does not make a timely certification under paragraph (1) or 
        paragraph (2), the Secretary shall replace any patient self-
        scheduling appointment system developed by the Secretary that is 
        in use with a commercially available, off-the-shelf online 
        patient self-scheduling system that includes the capabilities 
        specified in subsection (a).

[[Page 130 STAT. 1462]]

SEC. 4. PROHIBITION ON NEW APPROPRIATIONS.

    No additional funds are authorized to carry out the requirements of 
this Act. Such requirements shall be carried out using amounts otherwise 
authorized.

    Approved December 16, 2016.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 4352:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 162 (2016):
            Dec. 6, considered and passed House.
            Dec. 9, considered and passed Senate.

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