Text: H.R.6474 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (04/10/2020)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 6474 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 6474

 To provide for the expansion of the Rural Health Care Program of the 
  Federal Communications Commission in response to COVID-19, and for 
                            other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             April 10, 2020

 Ms. Eshoo (for herself and Mr. Young) introduced the following bill; 
       which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To provide for the expansion of the Rural Health Care Program of the 
  Federal Communications Commission in response to COVID-19, 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 ``Healthcare Broadband Expansion 
During COVID-19 Act''.

SEC. 2. EXPANSION OF RURAL HEALTH CARE PROGRAM OF FCC IN RESPONSE TO 
              COVID-19.

    (a) Promulgation of Regulations Required.--Not later than 7 days 
after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall 
promulgate regulations modifying the requirements in subpart G of part 
54 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, in the following manner:
            (1) A health care provider not located in a rural area 
        shall be treated as a rural health care provider for the 
        purposes of the Healthcare Connect Fund Program.
            (2) The discount rate for an eligible expense through the 
        Healthcare Connect Fund Program (as described in section 
        54.611(a) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, or any 
        successor regulation) shall be increased to 85 percent in 
        funding years 2019, 2020, and 2021 for eligible equipment 
        purchased or eligible services rendered in such funding years 
        (including for eligible equipment, upfront payments, and multi-
        year commitments without limitation).
            (3) A temporary, mobile, or satellite health care delivery 
        site shall be treated as a health care provider or an eligible 
        site of a health care provider for purposes of determining 
        eligibility for the Healthcare Connect Fund Program or the 
        Telecommunications Program.
            (4) The waiver of the application window specified in 
        section 54.621(a) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or 
        any successor regulation), for funding year 2019.
            (5) The adoption and implementation of a rolling 
        application process to allow a health care provider to apply 
        for funding.
            (6) The following changes to certain bidding requirements:
                    (A) A waiver of any requirement under section 
                54.622 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any 
                successor regulation), for a health care provider 
                upgrading an existing supported service at a particular 
                location, effective as of the date of declaration of 
                the public health emergency pursuant to section 319 of 
                the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d) as a 
                result of confirmed cases of COVID-19, if the health 
                care provider maintains the same eligible service 
                provider to provide the upgraded service at such 
                location.
                    (B) Reduction of the 28-day waiting period 
                described in section 54.622(g) of title 47, Code of 
                Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation), to a 
                14-day waiting period.
                    (C) Modification of the requirements in section 
                54.622 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any 
                successor regulation), to--
                            (i) provide that bid evaluation criteria 
                        may give additional consideration to the speed 
                        with which an eligible service provider can 
                        initiate service; and
                            (ii) encourage applicants to consider bids 
                        from different providers to provide service to 
                        different locations of such applicants, if 
                        considering bids in this manner would expedite 
                        the overall timeline for initiating or 
                        expanding service to individual locations.
            (7) Issuance of a decision on each application for funding 
        not later than 60 days after the date on which the application 
        is filed.
            (8) Release of funding not later than 30 days after the 
        date on which an invoice is submitted with respect to an 
        application that is approved, applicable services have been 
        provided, and required invoices have been submitted as required 
        under program rules.
    (b) Additional Changes to Rural Health Care Program.--
            (1) Release of funding for outstanding funding requests.--
        The Commission shall release funding for all requests 
        (outstanding as of the date of the enactment of this Act) for 
        funding under the Rural Health Care Program not later than 30 
        days after the date of the enactment of this Act, except that 
        for funding requests subject to a review of the applicable 
        rural rate, the Commission shall release interim funding not 
        later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act 
        based on the most recent approved rural rate for a similar 
        service, subject to a true-up following the completion of such 
        review. This paragraph shall not be construed to require the 
        Commission to release funding for a request if the Commission 
        is, on the date of enactment of this Act, investigating 
        potential waste, fraud, or abuse allegations with respect to a 
        specific applicant or service provider to which such request 
        relates.
            (2) Delay of implementation schedule.--The Commission 
        shall--
                    (A) delay by one year the implementation of 
                sections 54.604 and 54.605 of title 47, Code of Federal 
                Regulations (or any successor regulation), as adopted 
                in the Report and Order in the matter of Promoting 
                Telehealth in Rural America (FCC 19-78) that was 
                adopted by the Commission on August 1, 2019; and
                    (B) delay application of the new definition of 
                ``similar services'' as described in paragraphs 14 to 
                20 of such Report and Order until the implementation of 
                such sections.
    (c) Effective Date of Regulations.--The regulations required under 
subsection (a) shall take effect on the date on which such regulations 
are promulgated.
    (d) Termination of Regulations.--Except to the extent that the 
Commission determines that some or all of the regulations promulgated 
under subsection (a) should remain in effect (excluding any regulation 
promulgated under paragraph (1) of such subsection), such regulations 
shall terminate on the later of--
            (1) the earlier of--
                    (A) the date that is 60 days after the termination 
                of the declaration, or any renewal thereof, of the 
                public health emergency pursuant to section 319 of the 
                Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d) as a result 
                of confirmed cases of COVID-19; and
                    (B) the date of the expiration of the appropriation 
                in subsection (f)(2); and
            (2) the date that is 9 months after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act.
    (e) Exemptions.--
            (1) Notice and comment rulemaking requirements.--Section 
        553 of title 5, United States Code, shall not apply to a 
        regulation promulgated under subsection (a) or a rulemaking to 
        promulgate such a regulation.
            (2) Paperwork reduction act requirements.--A collection of 
        information conducted or sponsored under the regulations 
        required by subsection (a), or under section 254 of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254) in connection with 
        universal service support provided under such regulations, 
        shall not constitute a collection of information for the 
        purposes of subchapter I of chapter 35 of title 44, United 
        States Code (commonly referred to as the Paperwork Reduction 
        Act).
    (f) Emergency Rural Health Care Connectivity Fund.--
            (1) Establishment.--There is established in the Treasury of 
        the United States a fund to be known as the Emergency Rural 
        Health Care Connectivity Fund.
            (2) Appropriation.--There is appropriated to the Emergency 
        Rural Health Care Connectivity Fund, out of any money in the 
        Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $2,000,000 for fiscal year 
        2020, to remain available through fiscal year 2022.
            (3) Use of funds.--Amounts in the Emergency Rural Health 
        Care Connectivity Fund shall be available to the Commission to 
        carry out the Rural Health Care Program, as modified by the 
        regulations promulgated under subsection (a).
            (4) Relationship to universal service contributions.--
        Support provided under the regulations required by paragraphs 
        (1) through (3) of subsection (a) shall be provided from 
        amounts made available under paragraph (3) of this subsection 
        and not from contributions under section 254(d) of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254(d)). Such support 
        shall be in addition to, and not in replacement of, funds 
        authorized by the Commission for the Rural Health Care Program 
        as of the date of the enactment of this Act from contributions 
        under section 254(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 
        U.S.C. 254(d)).
    (g) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal 
        Communications Commission.
            (2) Eligible equipment.--The term ``eligible equipment'' 
        means the equipment described in section 54.613 of title 47, 
        Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).
            (3) Eligible service provider.--The term ``eligible service 
        provider'' means a provider described in section 54.608 of 
        title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor 
        regulation).
            (4) Funding year.--The term ``funding year'' has the 
        meaning given such term in section 54.600(a) of title 47, Code 
        of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).
            (5) Health care provider.--The term ``health care 
        provider'' has the meaning given such term in section 54.600(b) 
        of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor 
        regulation).
            (6) Healthcare connect fund program.--The term ``Healthcare 
        Connect Fund Program'' has the meaning given such term in 
        section 54.602(b) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or 
        any successor regulation).
            (7) Multi-year commitments.--The term ``multi-year 
        commitments'' means the commitments described in section 
        54.620(c) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any 
        successor regulation).
            (8) Rural area.--The term ``rural area'' has the meaning 
        given such term in section 54.600(e) of title 47, Code of 
        Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).
            (9) Rural health care program.--The term ``Rural Health 
        Care Program'' means the program described in subpart G of part 
        54 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor 
        regulation).
            (10) Rural health care provider.--The term ``rural health 
        care provider'' has the meaning given such term in section 
        54.600(f) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations (or any 
        successor regulation).
            (11) Telecommunications program.--The term 
        ``Telecommunications Program'' has the meaning given such term 
        in section 54.602(a) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations 
        (or any successor regulation).
            (12) Upfront payments.--The term ``upfront payments'' means 
        the payments described in section 54.616 of title 47, Code of 
        Federal Regulations (or any successor regulation).
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