Text: S.3988 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (06/17/2020)

[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 3988 Introduced in Senate (IS)]


  2d Session
                                S. 3988

   To amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to telehealth 
                  enhancements for emergency response.



                             June 17, 2020

   Mr. Cassidy (for himself, Ms. Smith, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Sullivan) 
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the 
          Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


                                 A BILL

   To amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to telehealth 
                  enhancements for emergency response.

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


    This Act may be cited as the ``Enhancing Preparedness through 
Telehealth Act''.


    Subsection (e) of section 319D of the Public Health Service Act (42 
U.S.C. 247d-4) is amended to read as follows:
    ``(e) Telehealth Enhancements for Emergency Response.--
            ``(1) Evaluation.--The Secretary, in consultation with the 
        Federal Communications Commission and other relevant Federal 
        agencies, shall, every 5 years--
                    ``(A) conduct an inventory of telehealth 
                initiatives in existence on the date of enactment of 
                the Enhancing Preparedness through Telehealth Act, 
                including the--
                            ``(i) specific location of networks and 
                        health information technology infrastructure 
                        that support such initiatives;
                            ``(ii) medical, technological, and 
                        communications capabilities of such 
                            ``(iii) functionality of such initiatives; 
                            ``(iv) capacity and ability of such 
                        initiatives to handle increased volume during 
                        the response to a public health emergency;
                    ``(B) identify methods to expand and interconnect 
                the State and regional health information networks 
                funded by the Secretary, the State and regional 
                broadband networks funded by the Federal Communications 
                Commission, including such networks supported by the 
                rural health care support mechanism pilot program, and 
                other telehealth networks;
                    ``(C) evaluate ways to prepare for, monitor, 
                respond rapidly to, or manage the events of, a public 
                health emergency through the enhanced use of telehealth 
                technologies, including--
                            ``(i) mechanisms for payment or 
                        reimbursement for use of such technologies and 
                        personnel during public health emergencies;
                            ``(ii) the use of telehealth technologies 
                        and services by health care providers in recent 
                        public health emergencies;
                            ``(iii) ways in which States used 
                        telehealth technologies and services in State 
                        responses to public health emergencies; and
                            ``(iv) infrastructure and resource needs to 
                        ensure providers have the necessary tools, 
                        training, and technical assistance to provide 
                        telehealth services;
                    ``(D) identify methods for reducing legal barriers 
                that deter health care professionals from providing 
                telehealth services, such as by utilizing State 
                emergency health care professional credentialing 
                verification systems, encouraging States to establish 
                and implement mechanisms to improve interstate medical 
                licensure cooperation, facilitating the exchange of 
                information among States regarding investigations and 
                adverse actions, and encouraging States to waive the 
                application of licensing requirements during a public 
                health emergency;
                    ``(E) evaluate ways to integrate the practice of 
                telehealth within the National Disaster Medical System 
                or any recent actions taken related to such 
                    ``(F) promote greater coordination among existing 
                Federal interagency telehealth and health information 
                technology initiatives; and
                    ``(G) make recommendations related to updates on 
                the use of telehealth in public health emergencies in 
                Federal and State public health preparedness plans and 
                any actions taken to implement such recommendations.
            ``(2) Report.--
                    ``(A) In general.--
                            ``(i) Initial report.--Not later than 1 
                        year after the date of enactment of the 
                        Enhancing Preparedness through Telehealth Act, 
                        the Secretary shall prepare and submit a report 
                        to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, 
                        and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on 
                        Energy and Commerce of the House of 
                        Representatives regarding the findings and 
                        recommendations pursuant to paragraph (1).
                            ``(ii) Subsequent reports.--The Secretary 
                        shall submit updated reports described in 
                        clause (i) to the committees described in such 
                        clause not later than January 1, 2023, and 
                        every 5 years thereafter.
                    ``(B) Considerations.--In preparing the reports 
                under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall take into 
                consideration potential barriers to the adoption of 
                telehealth by patients and providers during a public 
                health emergency, including--
                            ``(i) provider reimbursement;
                            ``(ii) insurance coverage;
                            ``(iii) provider licensure;
                            ``(iv) accessibility of telehealth and 
                        remote technologies; and
                            ``(v) concerns around violating relevant 
                        privacy, security, and patient safety 

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