Text: H.R.6597 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/26/2018)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 6597 Introduced in House (IH)]

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115th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 6597

 To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize a loan repayment 
program for mental health professionals to relieve workforce shortages, 
                        and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             July 26, 2018

 Mr. Katko (for himself and Mrs. Napolitano) introduced the following 
    bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize a loan repayment 
program for mental health professionals to relieve workforce shortages, 
                        and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Mental Health Professionals 
Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act of 2018''.

SEC. 2. LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM FOR MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS IN 
              SHORTAGE.

    Title VII of the Public Health Service Act is amended--
            (1) by redesignating part F (42 U.S.C. 295j et seq.) as 
        part G; and
            (2) by inserting after part E (42 U.S.C. 294n et seq.) the 
        following:

      ``PART F--MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS IN WORKFORCE SHORTAGE

``SEC. 781. LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM FOR MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS IN 
              WORKFORCE SHORTAGES.

    ``(a) In General.--The Secretary, acting through the Administrator 
of the Health Resources and Services Administration, shall carry out a 
program under which--
            ``(1) the Secretary enters into agreements with individuals 
        to make payments in accordance with subsection (b) on the 
        principal of and interest on any eligible loan; and
            ``(2) the individuals each agree to complete a period of 
        service in a mental health professional shortage area.
    ``(b) Payments.--For each year of obligated service by an 
individual pursuant to an agreement under subsection (a), the Secretary 
shall make a payment to such individual as follows:
            ``(1) Service in a shortage area.--The Secretary shall 
        pay--
                    ``(A) for each year of obligated service by an 
                individual pursuant to an agreement under subsection 
                (a), \1/6\ of the principal of and interest on each 
                eligible loan of the individual which is outstanding on 
                the date the individual began service pursuant to the 
                agreement; and
                    ``(B) for completion of the sixth and final year of 
                such service, the remainder of such principal and 
                interest.
            ``(2) Maximum amount.--The total amount of payments under 
        this section to any individual shall not exceed $250,000.
    ``(c) Eligible Loans.--The loans eligible for repayment under this 
section are each of the following:
            ``(1) Any loan for education in mental health or a related 
        field leading to a master's degree, leading to a doctoral 
        degree, or consisting of post-doctoral study.
            ``(2) Any Federal Direct Stafford Loan, Federal Direct PLUS 
        Loan, or Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, or Federal 
        Direct Consolidation Loan (as such terms are used in section 
        455 of the Higher Education Act of 1965).
            ``(3) Any Federal Perkins Loan under part E of title I of 
        the Higher Education Act of 1965.
            ``(4) Any other Federal loan as determined appropriate by 
        the Secretary.
    ``(d) Period of Service.--The period of service required by an 
agreement under subsection (a) shall consist of up to 6 years of full-
time employment, with no more than one year passing between any two 
years of covered employment, as a mental health professional in the 
United States in a mental health professional shortage area.
    ``(e) Ineligibility for Double Benefits.--No borrower may, for the 
same service, receive a reduction of loan obligations or a loan 
repayment under both--
            ``(1) this subsection; and
            ``(2) any Federally supported loan forgiveness program, 
        including under section 338B, 338I, or 846 of this Act, or 
        section 428J, 428L, 455(m), or 460 of the Higher Education Act 
        of 1965.
    ``(f) Breach.--
            ``(1) Liquidated damages formula.--The Secretary may 
        establish a liquidated damages formula to be used in the event 
        of a breach of an agreement entered into under subsection (a).
            ``(2) Limitation.--The failure by an individual to complete 
        the full period of service obligated pursuant to such an 
        agreement, taken alone, shall not constitute a breach of the 
        agreement, so long as the individual completed in good faith 
        the years of service for which payments were made to the 
        individual under this section.
    ``(g) Additional Criteria.--The Secretary--
            ``(1) may establish such criteria and rules to carry out 
        this section as the Secretary determines are needed and in 
        addition to the criteria and rules specified in this section; 
        and
            ``(2) shall give notice to the committees specified in 
        subsection (h) of any criteria and rules so established.
    ``(h) Report to Congress.--Not later than 5 years after the date of 
enactment of the Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan 
Repayment Act of 2018, and every other year thereafter, the Secretary 
shall prepare and 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 on--
            ``(1) the number and location of borrowers who have 
        qualified for loan repayments under this section; and
            ``(2) the impact of this section on the availability of 
        mental health services in mental health professional shortage 
        areas.
    ``(i) Definition.--In this section:
            ``(1) The term `mental health professional' means a full-
        time job (including a fellowship) where the primary intent and 
        function of the job is the direct treatment or recovery support 
        of patients with or in recovery from a mental health disorder, 
        such as a physician (MD or DO), psychiatric nurse, social 
        worker, mental health counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, 
        child and adolescent psychiatrist, or neurologist.
            ``(2) The term `mental health professional shortage area' 
        means--
                    ``(A) an area designated under section 332 with 
                respect to a shortage of mental health professionals; 
                or
                    ``(B) any facility, program, center, or clinic as 
                determined appropriate by the Secretary for purposes of 
                this section because of a shortage of mental health 
                professionals, including private physician practices 
                and other medical facilities designated under section 
                332(a) as having such a shortage.
    ``(j) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this section $25,000,000 for each of fiscal 
years 2019 through 2028.''.
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