P.L. 108–173, Approved December 8, 2003 (117 Stat. 2066)

Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

TITLE I—MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 105.  ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG DISCOUNT CARD AND TRANSITIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(c) [42 U.S.C. 1395w-141 note]  Rules for Implementation.—The following rules shall apply to the medicare prescription drug discount card and transitional assistance program under section 1860D-31 of the Social Security Act, as added by section 101(a):

(1)  In promulgating regulations pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(B) of such section 1860D-31—

(A)  section 1871(a)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395hh(a)(3)), as added by section 902(a)(1), shall not apply;

(B)  chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, shall not apply; and

(C)  sections 553(d) and 801(a)(3)(A) of title 5, United States Code, shall not apply.

(2)  Applicability. Section 1857(c)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-27(c)(5)) shall apply with respect to section 1860D-31 of such Act, as added by section 101(a), in the same manner as it applies to part C of title XVIII of such Act.

(3)  The administration of such program shall be made without regard to chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code.

(4) (A)  There shall be no judicial review of a determination not to endorse, or enter into a contract, with a prescription drug card sponsor under section 1860D-31 of the Social Security Act.

(B)  In the case of any order issued to enjoin any provision of section 1860D-31 of the Social Security Act (or of any provision of this section), such order shall not affect any other provision of such section (or of this section) and all such provisions shall be treated as severable.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 107.  STUDIES AND REPORTS.

(a) [42 U.S.C. 1395w-111 note]  Study Regarding Regional Variations in Prescription Drug Spending.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary shall conduct a study that examines variations in per capita spending for covered part D drugs under part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act among PDP regions and, with respect to such spending, the amount of such variation that is attributable to—

(A)  price variations (described in section 1860D-15(c)(2) of such Act); and

(B)  differences in per capita utilization that is not taken into account in the health status risk adjustment provided under section 1860D-15(c)(1) of such Act.

(2)  Report and recommendations.—Not later than January 1, 2009, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the study conducted under paragraph (1). Such report shall include—

(A)  information regarding the extent of geographic variation described in paragraph (1)(B);

(B)  an analysis of the impact on direct subsidies under section 1860D-15(a)(1) of the Social Security Act in different PDP regions if such subsidies were adjusted to take into account the variation described in subparagraph (A); and

(C)  recommendations regarding the appropriateness of applying an additional geographic adjustment factor under section 1860D-15(c)(2) that reflects some or all of the variation described in subparagraph (A).

(b)  Review and Report on Current Standards of Practice for Pharmacy Services Provided to Patients in Nursing Facilities.—

(A)  In general.—Not later than 12 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall conduct a thorough review of the current standards of practice for pharmacy services provided to patients in nursing facilities.

(B)  Specific matters reviewed.—In conducting the review under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall—

(i)  assess the current standards of practice, clinical services, and other service requirements generally used for pharmacy services in long-term care settings; and

(ii)  evaluate the impact of those standards with respect to patient safety, reduction of medication errors and quality of care.

(2)  Report.—

(A)  In general.—Not later than the date that is 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit a report to Congress on the study conducted under paragraph (1)(A).

(B)  Contents.—The report submitted under subparagraph (A) shall contain—

(i)  a description of the plans of the Secretary to implement the provisions of this Act in a manner consistent with applicable State and Federal laws designed to protect the safety and quality of care of nursing facility patients; and

(ii)  recommendations regarding necessary actions and appropriate reimbursement to ensure the provision of prescription drugs to medicare beneficiaries residing in nursing facilities in a manner consistent with existing patient safety and quality of care standards under applicable State and Federal laws.

SEC. 108. [42 U.S.C. 1395w-104 note]  GRANTS TO PHYSICIANS TO IMPLEMENT ELECTRONIC PRESCRIPTION DRUG PROGRAMS.

(a)  In General.—The Secretary is authorized to make grants to physicians for the purpose of assisting such physicians to implement electronic prescription drug programs that comply with the standards promulgated or modified under section 1860D-4(e) of the Social Security Act, as inserted by section 101(a).

(b)  Awarding of Grants.—

(1)  Application.—No grant may be made under this section except pursuant to a grant application that is submitted and approved in a time, manner, and form specified by the Secretary.

(2)  Considerations and preferences.—In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall—

(A)  give special consideration to physicians who serve a disproportionate number of medicare patients; and

(B)  give preference to physicians who serve a rural or underserved area.

(3)  Limitation on grants.—Only 1 grant may be awarded under this section with respect to any physician or group practice of physicians.

(c)  Terms and Conditions.—

(1)  In general.—Grants under this section shall be made under such terms and conditions as the Secretary specifies consistent with this section.

(2)  Use of grant funds.—Funds provided under grants under this section may be used for any of the following:

(A)  For purchasing, leasing, and installing computer software and hardware, including handheld computer technologies.

(B)  Making upgrades and other improvements to existing computer software and hardware to enable e-prescribing.

(C)  Providing education and training to eligible physician staff on the use of technology to implement the electronic transmission of prescription and patient information.

(3)  Provision of information.—As a condition for the awarding of a grant under this section, an applicant shall provide to the Secretary such information as the Secretary may require in order to—

(A)  evaluate the project for which the grant is made; and

(B)  ensure that funding provided under the grant is expended only for the purposes for which it is made.

(4)  Audit.—The Secretary shall conduct appropriate audits of grants under this section.

(5)  Matching requirement.—The applicant for a grant under this section shall agree, with respect to the costs to be incurred by the applicant in implementing an electronic prescription drug program, to make available (directly or through donations from public or private entities) non-Federal contributions toward such costs in an amount that is not less than 50 percent of such costs. Non-Federal contributions under the previous sentence may be in cash or in kind, fairly evaluated, including plant, equipment, or services. Amounts provided by the Federal Government, or services assisted or subsidized to any significant extent by the Federal Government, may not be included in determining the amount of such contributions.

(d)  Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2007 and such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

TITLE II—MEDICARE ADVANTAGE

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Subtitle D—Additional Reforms

SEC. 231.  SPECIALIZED MA PLANS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS INDIVIDUALS.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(e) [42 U.S.C. 1395w-21 note]  Report to Congress.—Not later than December 31, 2007, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report that assesses the impact of specialized MA plans for special needs individuals on the cost and quality of services provided to enrollees. Such report shall include an assessment of the costs and savings to the medicare program as a result of amendments made by subsections (a), (b), and (c).

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

TITLE IV—RURAL PROVISIONS

Subtitle A—Provisions Relating to Part A Only

SEC. 409. [42 U.S.C. 1395d note]  RURAL HOSPICE DEMONSTRATION.

(a)  In General.—The Secretary shall conduct a demonstration project for the delivery of hospice care to medicare beneficiaries in rural areas. Under the project medicare beneficiaries who are unable to receive hospice care in the facility for lack of an appropriate caregiver are provided such care in a facility of 20 or fewer beds which offers, within its walls, the full range of services provided by hospice programs under section 1861(dd) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(dd)).

(b)  Scope of Project.—The Secretary shall conduct the project under this section with respect to no more than 3 hospice programs over a period of not longer than 5 years each.

(c)  Compliance With Conditions.—Under the demonstration project—

(1)  the hospice program shall comply with otherwise applicable requirements, except that it shall not be required to offer services outside of the home or to meet the requirements of section 1861(dd)(2)(A)(iii) of the Social Security Act; and

(2)  payments for hospice care shall be made at the rates otherwise applicable to such care under title XVIII of such Act.

The Secretary may require the program to comply with such additional quality assurance standards for its provision of services in its facility as the Secretary deems appropriate.

(d)  Report.—Upon completion of the project, the Secretary shall submit a report to Congress on the project and shall include in the report recommendations regarding extension of such project to hospice programs serving rural areas.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 410A. [42 U.S.C. 1395ww note]  RURAL COMMUNITY HOSPITAL DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM.

(a)  Establishment of Rural Community Hospital (RCH) Demonstration Program.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary shall establish a demonstration program to test the feasibility and advisability of the establishment of rural community hospitals (as defined in subsection (f)(1)) to furnish covered inpatient hospital services (as defined in subsection (f)(2)) to medicare beneficiaries.

(2)  Demonstration areas.—The program shall be conducted in rural areas selected by the Secretary in States with low population densities, as determined by the Secretary.

(3)  Application.—Each rural community hospital that is located in a demonstration area selected under paragraph (2) that desires to participate in the demonstration program under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

4) Selection of hospitals.—The Secretary shall select from among rural community hospitals submitting applications under paragraph (3) not more than 15 of such hospitals to participate in the demonstration program under this section.

(5)  Duration.—The Secretary shall conduct the demonstration program under this section for a 5-year period (in this section referred to as the “initial 5-year period”) and, as provided in subsection (g), for the 1-year extension period.

(6)  Implementation.—The Secretary shall implement the demonstration program not later than January 1, 2005, but may not implement the program before October 1, 2004.

(b)  Payment.—

(1)  In general.—The amount of payment under the demonstration program for covered inpatient hospital services furnished in a rural community hospital, other than such services furnished in a psychiatric or rehabilitation unit of the hospital which is a distinct part, is—

(A)  for discharges occurring in the first cost reporting period beginning on or after the implementation of the demonstration program, the reasonable costs of providing such services; and

(B)  for discharges occurring in a subsequent cost reporting period under the demonstration program, the lesser of—

(i)  the reasonable costs of providing such services in the cost reporting period involved; or

(ii)  the target amount (as defined in paragraph (2)), applicable to the cost reporting period involved.

(2)  Target amount.—For purposes of paragraph (1)(B)(ii), the term “target amount” means, with respect to a rural community hospital for a particular 12-month cost reporting period—

(A)  in the case of the second such cost reporting period for which this subsection is in effect, the reasonable costs of providing such covered inpatient hospital services as determined under paragraph (1)(A), and

(B)  in the case of a later cost reporting period, the target amount for the preceding 12-month cost reporting period, increased by the applicable percentage increase (under clause (i) of section 1886(b)(3)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(b)(3)(B))) in the market basket percentage increase (as defined in clause (iii) of such section) for that particular cost reporting period.

(c) Funding.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary shall provide for the transfer from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under section 1817 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i) of such funds as are necessary for the costs of carrying out the demonstration program under this section.

(2)  Budget neutrality.—In conducting the demonstration program under this section, the Secretary shall ensure that the aggregate payments made by the Secretary do not exceed the amount which the Secretary would have paid if the demonstration program under this section was not implemented.

(d)  Waiver Authority.—The Secretary may waive such requirements of title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.) as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out the demonstration program under this section.

(e)  Report.—Not later than 6 months after the completion of the demonstration program under this section, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on such program, together with recommendations for such legislation and administrative action as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(f)  Definitions.—In this section:

(1)  Rural community hospital defined.—

(A)  In general.—The term “rural community hospital” means a hospital (as defined in section 1861(e) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(e)))

(i)  is located in a rural area (as defined in section 1886(d)(2)(D) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 395ww(d)(2)(D))) or treated as being so located pursuant to section 1886(d)(8)(E) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(8)(E));

(ii)  subject to subparagraph (B), has fewer than 51 acute care inpatient beds, as reported in its most recent cost report;

(iii)  makes available 24-hour emergency care services; and

(iv)  is not eligible for designation, or has not been designated, as a critical access hospital under section 1820.

(B)  Treatment of psychiatric and rehabilitation units.—For purposes of subparagraph (A)(ii), beds in a psychiatric or rehabilitation unit of the hospital which is a distinct part of the hospital shall not be counted.

(2)  Covered inpatient hospital services.—The term “covered inpatient hospital services” means inpatient hospital services, and includes extended care services furnished under an agreement under section 1883 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395tt).

(g)  One-Year Extension of Demonstration Program.—

(1)  In general.—Subject to the succeeding provisions of this subsection, the Secretary shall conduct the demonstration program under this section for an additional 1-year period (in this section referred to as the “1-year extension period”) that begins on the date immediately following the last day of the initial 5-year period under subsection (a)(5).

(2)  Expansion of demonstration states.—Notwithstanding subsection (a)(2), during the 1-year extension period, the Secretary shall expand the number of States with low population densities determined by the Secretary under such subsection to 20. In determining which States to include in such expansion, the Secretary shall use the same criteria and data that the Secretary used to determine the States under such subsection for purposes of the initial 5-year period.

(3)  Increase in maximum number of hospitals participating in the demonstration program.—Notwithstanding subsection (a)(4), during the 1-year extension period, not more than 30 rural community hospitals may participate in the demonstration program under this section.

(4)  No affect on hospitals in demonstration program on date of enactment.—In the case of a rural community hospital that is participating in the demonstration program under this section as of the last day of the initial 5-year period, the Secretary shall provide for the continued participation of such rural community hospital in the demonstration program during the 1-year extension period unless the rural community hospital makes an election, in such form and manner as the Secretary may specify, to discontinue such participation.

Subtitle B—Provisions Relating to Part B Only

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 416. [42 U.S.C. 1395l note]  TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CLINICAL DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORY TESTS FURNISHED TO HOSPITAL OUTPATIENTS IN CERTAIN RURAL AREAS.

(a)  In General.—Notwithstanding subsections (a), (b), and (h) of section 1833 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l) and section 1834(d)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m(d)(1)), in the case of a clinical diagnostic laboratory test covered under part B of title XVIII of such Act that is furnished during a cost reporting period described in subsection (b) by a hospital with fewer than 50 beds that is located in a qualified rural area (identified under paragraph (12)(B)(iii) of section 1834(l) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m(l)), as added by section 414(c)) as part of outpatient services of the hospital, the amount of payment for such test shall be 100 percent of the reasonable costs of the hospital in furnishing such test.

(b)  Application.—A cost reporting period described in this subsection is a cost reporting period beginning during the period beginning on July 1, 2004, and ending on June 30, 2008 or during the 1–year period beginning on July 1, 2010 .

(c)  Provision as Part of Outpatient Hospital Services.—For purposes of subsection (a), in determining whether clinical diagnostic laboratory services are furnished as part of outpatient services of a hospital, the Secretary shall apply the same rules that are used to determine whether clinical diagnostic laboratory services are furnished as an outpatient critical access hospital service under section 1834(g)(4) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m(g)(4)).

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Subtitle D—Other Provisions

SEC. 434. [42 U.S.C. 1395x note]  FRONTIER EXTENDED STAY CLINIC DEMONSTRATION PROJECT.

(a)  Authority To Conduct Demonstration Project.—The Secretary shall waive such provisions of the medicare program established under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.) as are necessary to conduct a demonstration project under which frontier extended stay clinics described in subsection (b) in isolated rural areas are treated as providers of items and services under the medicare program.

(b)  Clinics Described.—A frontier extended stay clinic is described in this subsection if the clinic—

(1)  is located in a community where the closest short-term acute care hospital or critical access hospital is at least 75 miles away from the community or is inaccessible by public road; and

(2)  is designed to address the needs of—

(A)  seriously or critically ill or injured patients who, due to adverse weather conditions or other reasons, cannot be transferred quickly to acute care referral centers; or

(B)  patients who need monitoring and observation for a limited period of time.

(c)  Specification of Codes.—The Secretary shall determine the appropriate life-safety codes for such clinics that treat patients for needs referred to in subsection (b)(2).

(d)  Funding.—

(1)  In general.—Subject to paragraph (2), there are authorized to be appropriated, in appropriate part from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund, such sums as are necessary to conduct the demonstration project under this section.

(2)  Budget neutral implementation.—In conducting the demonstration project under this section, the Secretary shall ensure that the aggregate payments made by the Secretary under the medicare program do not exceed the amount which the Secretary would have paid under the medicare program if the demonstration project under this section was not implemented.

(e)  Three-Year Period.—The Secretary shall conduct the demonstration under this section for a 3-year period.

(f)  Report.—Not later than the date that is 1 year after the date on which the demonstration project concludes, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the demonstration project, together with such recommendations for legislation or administrative action as the Secretary determines appropriate.

(g)  Definitions.—In this section, the terms “hospital” and “critical access hospital” have the meanings given such terms in subsections (e) and (mm), respectively.

TITLE V—PROVISIONS RELATING TO PART A

Subtitle A—Inpatient Hospital Services

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 507. [42 U.S.C. 1395nn note]  CLARIFICATIONS TO CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS TO MEDICARE LIMITS ON PHYSICIANS REFERRALS.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(b)  Application of Exception for Hospitals Under Development.—For purposes of section 1877(h)(7)(B)(i)(II) of the Social Security Act, as added by subsection (a)(1)(B), in determining whether a hospital is under development as of November 18, 2003, the Secretary shall consider—(2)

(1)  whether architectural plans have been completed, funding has been received, zoning requirements have been met, and necessary approvals from appropriate State agencies have been received; and

(2)  any other evidence the Secretary determines would indicate whether a hospital is under development as of such date.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 508. [42 U.S.C. 1395nn note]  ONE-TIME APPEALS PROCESS FOR HOSPITAL WAGE INDEX CLASSIFICATION.

(a)  Establishment of Process.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary shall establish not later than January 1, 2004, by instruction or otherwise a process under which a hospital may appeal the wage index classification otherwise applicable to the hospital and select another area within the State (or, at the discretion of the Secretary, within a contiguous State) to which to be reclassified.

(2)  Process requirements.—The process established under paragraph (1) shall be consistent with the following:

(A)  Such an appeal may be filed as soon as possible after the date of the enactment of this Act but shall be filed by not later than February 15, 2004.

(B)  Such an appeal shall be heard by the Medicare Geographic Reclassification Review Board.

(C)  There shall be no further administrative or judicial review of a decision of such Board.

(3)  Reclassification upon successful appeal.—If the Medicare Geographic Reclassification Review Board determines that the hospital is a qualifying hospital (as defined in subsection (c)), the hospital shall be reclassified to the area selected under paragraph (1). Such reclassification shall apply with respect to discharges occurring during the 3-year period beginning with April 1, 2004.

(4)  Inapplicability of certain provisions.—Except as the Secretary may provide, the provisions of paragraphs (8) and (10) of section 1886(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)) shall not apply to an appeal under this section.

(b)  Application of Reclassification.—In the case of an appeal decided in favor of a qualifying hospital under subsection (a), the wage index reclassification shall not affect the wage index computation for any area or for any other hospital and shall not be effected in a budget neutral manner. The provisions of this section shall not affect payment for discharges occurring after the end of the 3-year-period referred to in subsection (a).

(c)  Qualifying Hospital Defined.—For purposes of this section, the term “qualifying hospital” means a subsection (d) hospital (as defined in section 1886(d)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(1)(B)) that—

(1)  does not qualify for a change in wage index classification under paragraph (8) or (10) of section 1886(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)) on the basis of requirements relating to distance or commuting; and

(2)  meets such other criteria, such as quality, as the Secretary may specify by instruction or otherwise

The Secretary may modify the wage comparison guidelines promulgated under section 1886(d)(10)(D) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(10)(D)) in carrying out this section.

(d)  Wage Index Classification.—For purposes of this section, the term “wage index classification” means the geographic area in which it is classified for purposes of determining for a fiscal year the factor used to adjust the DRG prospective payment rate under section 1886(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)) for area differences in hospital wage levels that applies to such hospital under paragraph (3)(E) of such section.

(e)  Limitation on Expenditures.—The aggregate amount of additional expenditures resulting from the application of this section shall not exceed $900,000,000.

(f)  Transitional Extension.—Any reclassification of a county or other area made by Act of Congress for purposes of making payments under section 1886(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)) that expired on September 30, 2003, shall be deemed to be in effect during the period beginning on January 1, 2004, and ending on September 30, 2004.

(g)  Disregarding Hospital Reclassifications for Purposes of Group Reclassifications.—For purposes of the reclassification of a group of hospitals in a geographic area under section 1886(d) of the Social Security Act for purposes of discharges occurring beginning on October 1, 2007, and ending on the last date of the extension of reclassifications under section 106(a) of the Medicare Improvement and Extension Act of 2006 (division B of Public Law 109-432), a hospital reclassified under this section (including any such reclassification which is extended under section 106(a) of the Medicare Improvements and Extension Act of 2006) shall not be taken into account and shall not prevent the other hospitals in such area from continuing such a group for such purpose.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

TITLE VI—PROVISIONS RELATING TO PART B

Subtitle A—Provisions Relating to Physicians’ Services

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Subtitle C—Other Provisions

SEC. 623.  PAYMENT FOR RENAL DIALYSIS SERVICES.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(c) [42 U.S.C. 1395rr note]  Inspector General Studies on ESRD Drugs.—

(1)  In general.—The Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services shall conduct two studies with respect to drugs and biologicals (including erythropoietin) furnished to end-stage renal disease patients under the medicare program which are separately billed by end stage renal disease facilities. (2) .

(A)  Existing drugs.—The first study under paragraph (1) shall be conducted with respect to such drugs and biologicals for which a billing code exists prior to January 1, 2004.

(B)  New drugs.—The second study under paragraph (1) shall be conducted with respect to such drugs and biologicals for which a billing code does not exist prior to January 1, 2004.

(3)  Matters studied.—Under each study conducted under paragraph (1), the Inspector General shall—

(A)  determine the difference between the amount of payment made to end stage renal disease facilities under title XVIII of the Social Security Act for such drugs and biologicals and the acquisition costs of such facilities for such drugs and biologicals and which are separately billed by end stage renal disease facilities, and

(B)  estimate the rates of growth of expenditures for such drugs and biologicals billed by such facilities.

(4)  Reports.—

(A)  Existing esrd drugs.—Not later than April 1, 2004, the Inspector General shall report to the Secretary on the study described in paragraph (2)(A).

(B)  New esrd drugs.—Not later than April 1, 2006, the Inspector General shall report to the Secretary on the study described in paragraph (2)(B).

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(e) [42 U.S.C. 1395rr note]  Demonstration of Bundled Case-Mix Adjusted Payment System for ESRD Services.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary shall establish a demonstration project of the use of a fully case-mix adjusted payment system for end stage renal disease services under section 1881 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395rr) for patient characteristics identified in the report under subsection (f) that bundles into such payment rates amounts for—

(A)  drugs and biologicals (including erythropoietin) furnished to end stage renal disease patients under the medicare program which are separately billed by end stage renal disease facilities (as of the date of the enactment of this Act); and

(B)  clinical laboratory tests related to such drugs and biologicals.

(2)  Facilities included in the demonstration.—In conducting the demonstration under this subsection, the Secretary shall ensure the participation of a sufficient number of providers of dialysis services and renal dialysis facilities, but in no case to exceed 500. In selecting such providers and facilities, the Secretary shall ensure that the following types of providers are included in the demonstration:

(A)  Urban providers and facilities.

(B)  Rural providers and facilities.

(C)  Not-for-profit providers and facilities.

(D)  For-profit providers and facilities.

(E)  Independent providers and facilities.

(F)  Specialty providers and facilities, including pediatric providers and facilities and small providers and facilities.

(3)  Temporary add-on payment for dialysis services furnished under the demonstration.—

(A)  In general.—During the period of the demonstration project, the Secretary shall increase payment rates that would otherwise apply under section 1881(b) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395rr(b)) by 1.6 percent for dialysis services furnished in facilities in the demonstration site.

(B)  Rules of construction.—Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as—

(i)  as an annual update under section 1881(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395rr(b));

(ii)  as increasing the baseline for payments under such section; or

(iii)  requiring the budget neutral implementation of the demonstration project under this subsection.

(4)  3-year period.—The Secretary shall conduct the demonstration under this subsection for the 3-year period beginning on January 1, 2006.

(5)  Use of advisory board.—

(A)  In general.—In carrying out the demonstration under this subsection, the Secretary shall establish an advisory board comprised of representatives described in subparagraph (B) to provide advice and recommendations with respect to the establishment and operation of such demonstration.

(B)  Representatives.—Representatives referred to in subparagraph (A) include representatives of the following:

(i)  Patient organizations.

(ii)  Individuals with expertise in end stage renal dialysis services, such as clinicians, economists, and researchers.

(iii)  The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, established under section 1805 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395b-6).

(iv)  The National Institutes of Health.

(v)  Network organizations under section 1881(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395rr(c)).

(vi)  Medicare contractors to monitor quality of care.

(vii)  Providers of services and renal dialysis facilities furnishing end stage renal disease services.

(C)  Termination of advisory panel.—The advisory panel shall terminate on December 31, 2008.

(6)  Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated, in appropriate part from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund, $5,000,000 in fiscal year 2006 to conduct the demonstration under this subsection.

Subtitle D—Additional Demonstrations, Studies, and Other Provisions

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 648. [42 U.S.C. 1395b-8 note]  DEMONSTRATION PROJECT FOR CONSUMER-DIRECTED CHRONIC OUTPATIENT SERVICES.

(a)  Establishment.—

(1)  In general.—Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, the Secretary shall establish demonstration projects (in this section referred to as “demonstration projects”) under which the Secretary shall evaluate methods that improve the quality of care provided to individuals with chronic conditions and that reduce expenditures that would otherwise be made under the medicare program on behalf of such individuals for such chronic conditions, such methods to include permitting those beneficiaries to direct their own health care needs and services.

(2)  Individuals with chronic conditions defined.—In this section, the term “individuals with chronic conditions” means an individual entitled to benefits under part A of title XVIII of the Social Security Act, and enrolled under part B of such title, but who is not enrolled under part C of such title who is diagnosed as having one or more chronic conditions (as defined by the Secretary), such as diabetes.

(b)  Design of Projects.—

(1)  Evaluation before implementation of project.—

(A)  In general.—In establishing the demonstration projects under this section, the Secretary shall evaluate best practices employed by group health plans and practices under State plans for medical assistance under the medicaid program under title XIX of the Social Security Act, as well as best practices in the private sector or other areas, of methods that permit patients to self-direct the provision of personal care services. The Secretary shall evaluate such practices for a 1-year period and, based on such evaluation, shall design the demonstration project.

(B)  Requirement for estimate of budget neutral costs.—As part of the evaluation under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall evaluate the costs of furnishing care under the projects. The Secretary may not implement the demonstration projects under this section unless the Secretary determines that the costs of providing care to individuals with chronic conditions under the project will not exceed the costs, in the aggregate, of furnishing care to such individuals under title XVIII of the Social Security Act, that would otherwise be paid without regard to the demonstration projects for the period of the project.

(2)  Scope of services.—The Secretary shall determine the appropriate scope of personal care services that would apply under the demonstration projects.

(c)  Voluntary Participation.—Participation of providers of services and suppliers, and of individuals with chronic conditions, in the demonstration projects shall be voluntary.

(d)  Demonstration Projects Sites.—Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall conduct a demonstration project in at least one area that the Secretary determines has a population of individuals entitled to benefits under part A of title XVIII of the Social Security Act, and enrolled under part B of such title, with a rate of incidence of diabetes that significantly exceeds the national average rate of all areas.

(e)  Evaluation and Report.—

(1)  Evaluations.—The Secretary shall conduct evaluations of the clinical and cost effectiveness of the demonstration projects.

(2)  Reports.—Not later than 2 years after the commencement of the demonstration projects, and biannually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the evaluation, and shall include in the report the following:

(A)  An analysis of the patient outcomes and costs of furnishing care to the individuals with chronic conditions participating in the projects as compared to such outcomes and costs to other individuals for the same health conditions.

(B)  Evaluation of patient satisfaction under the demonstration projects.

(C)  Such recommendations regarding the extension, expansion, or termination of the projects as the Secretary determines appropriate.

(f)  Waiver Authority.—The Secretary shall waive compliance with the requirements of title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.) to such extent and for such period as the Secretary determines is necessary to conduct demonstration projects.

(g)  Authorization of Appropriations.—

(1)  Payments for the costs of carrying out the demonstration project under this section shall be made from the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund under section 1841 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395t).

(2)  There are authorized to be appropriated from such Trust Fund such sums as may be necessary for the Secretary to enter into contracts with appropriate organizations for the design, implementation, and evaluation of the demonstration project.

(3)  In no case may expenditures under this section exceed the aggregate expenditures that would otherwise have been made for the provision of personal care services.

SEC. 649. [42 U.S.C. 1395b-1 note]  MEDICARE CARE MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE DEMONSTRATION.

(a)  Establishment.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary shall establish a pay-for-performance demonstration program with physicians to meet the needs of eligible beneficiaries through the adoption and use of health information technology and evidence-based outcomes measures for—

(A)  promoting continuity of care;

(B)  helping stabilize medical conditions;

(C)  preventing or minimizing acute exacerbations of chronic conditions; and

(D)  reducing adverse health outcomes, such as adverse drug interactions related to polypharmacy.

(2)  Sites.—The Secretary shall designate no more than 4 sites at which to conduct the demonstration program under this section, of which—

(A)  two shall be in an urban area;

(B)  one shall be in a rural area; and

(C)  one shall be in a State with a medical school with a Department of Geriatrics that manages rural outreach sites and is capable of managing patients with multiple chronic conditions, one of which is dementia.

(3)  Duration.—The Secretary shall conduct the demonstration program under this section for a 3-year period.

(4)  Consultation.—In carrying out the demonstration program under this section, the Secretary shall consult with private sector and non-profit groups that are undertaking similar efforts to improve quality and reduce avoidable hospitalizations for chronically ill patients.

(b)  Participation.—

(1)  In general.—A physician who provides care for a minimum number of eligible beneficiaries (as specified by the Secretary) may participate in the demonstration program under this section if such physician agrees, to phase-in over the course of the 3-year demonstration period and with the assistance provided under subsection (d)(2)—

(A)  the use of health information technology to manage the clinical care of eligible beneficiaries consistent with paragraph (3); and

(B)  the electronic reporting of clinical quality and outcomes measures in accordance with requirements established by the Secretary under the demonstration program.

(2)  Special rule.—In the case of the sites referred to in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of subsection (a)(2), a physician who provides care for a minimum number of beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions, including dementia (as specified by the Secretary), may participate in the program under this section if such physician agrees to the requirements in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1).

(3)  Practice standards.—Each physician participating in the demonstration program under this section must demonstrate the ability—

(A)  to assess each eligible beneficiary for conditions other than chronic conditions, such as impaired cognitive ability and co-morbidities, for the purposes of developing care management requirements;

(B)  to serve as the primary contact of eligible beneficiaries in accessing items and services for which payment may be made under the medicare program;

(C)  to establish and maintain health care information system for such beneficiaries;

(D)  to promote continuity of care across providers and settings;

(E)  to use evidence-based guidelines and meet such clinical quality and outcome measures as the Secretary shall require;

(F)  to promote self-care through the provision of patient education and support for patients or, where appropriate, family caregivers;

(G)  when appropriate, to refer such beneficiaries to community service organizations; and

(H)  to meet such other complex care management requirements as the Secretary may specify.

The guidelines and measures required under subparagraph (E) shall be designed to take into account beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions.

(c)  Payment Methodology.—Under the demonstration program under this section the Secretary shall pay a per beneficiary amount to each participating physician who meets or exceeds specific performance standards established by the Secretary with respect to the clinical quality and outcome measures reported under subsection (b)(1)(B). Such amount may vary based on different levels of performance or improvement.

(d)  Administration.—

(1)  Use of quality improvement organizations.—The Secretary shall contract with quality improvement organizations or such other entities as the Secretary deems appropriate to enroll physicians and evaluate their performance under the demonstration program under this section.

(2)  Technical assistance.—The Secretary shall require in such contracts that the contractor be responsible for technical assistance and education as needed to physicians enrolled in the demonstration program under this section for the purpose of aiding their adoption of health information technology, meeting practice standards, and implementing required clinical and outcomes measures.

(e)  Funding.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary shall provide for the transfer from the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund established under section 1841 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395t) of such funds as are necessary for the costs of carrying out the demonstration program under this section.

(2)  Budget neutrality.—In conducting the demonstration program under this section, the Secretary shall ensure that the aggregate payments made by the Secretary do not exceed the amount which the Secretary estimates would have been paid if the demonstration program under this section was not implemented.

(f)  Waiver Authority.—The Secretary may waive such requirements of titles XI and XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1301 et seq. and 1395 et seq.) as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out the demonstration program under this section.

(g)  Report.—Not later than 12 months after the date of completion of the demonstration program under this section, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on such program, together with recommendations for such legislation and administrative action as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(h)  Definitions.—In this section:

(1)  Eligible beneficiary.—The term “eligible beneficiary” means any individual who—

(A)  is entitled to benefits under part A and enrolled for benefits under part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act and is not enrolled in a plan under part C of such title; and

(B)  has one or more chronic medical conditions specified by the Secretary (one of which may be cognitive impairment).

(2)  Health information technology.—The term “health information technology” means email communication, clinical alerts and reminders, and other information technology that meets such functionality, interoperability, and other standards as prescribed by the Secretary.

SEC. 651. [42 U.S.C. 1395x note]  DEMONSTRATION OF COVERAGE OF CHIROPRACTIC SERVICES UNDER MEDICARE.

(a)  Definitions.—In this section:

(1)  Chiropractic services.—The term “chiropractic services” has the meaning given that term by the Secretary for purposes of the demonstration projects, but shall include, at a minimum—

(A)  care for neuromusculoskeletal conditions typical among eligible beneficiaries; and

(B)  diagnostic and other services that a chiropractor is legally authorized to perform by the State or jurisdiction in which such treatment is provided.

(2)  Demonstration project.—The term “demonstration project” means a demonstration project established by the Secretary under subsection (b)(1).

(3)  Eligible beneficiary.—The term “eligible beneficiary” means an individual who is enrolled under part B of the medicare program.

(4)  Medicare program.—The term “medicare program” means the health benefits program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.).

(b)  Demonstration of Coverage of Chiropractic Services Under Medicare.—

(1)  Establishment.—The Secretary shall establish demonstration projects in accordance with the provisions of this section for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility and advisability of covering chiropractic services under the medicare program (in addition to the coverage provided for services consisting of treatment by means of manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation described in section 1861(r)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(r)(5))).

(2)  No physician approval required.—In establishing the demonstration projects, the Secretary shall ensure that an eligible beneficiary who participates in a demonstration project, including an eligible beneficiary who is enrolled for coverage under a Medicare+Choice plan (or, on and after January 1, 2006, under a Medicare Advantage plan), is not required to receive approval from a physician or other health care provider in order to receive a chiropractic service under a demonstration project.

(3)  Consultation.—In establishing the demonstration projects, the Secretary shall consult with chiropractors, organizations representing chiropractors, eligible beneficiaries, and organizations representing eligible beneficiaries.

(4)  Participation.—Any eligible beneficiary may participate in the demonstration projects on a voluntary basis.

(c)  Conduct of Demonstration Projects.—

(1)  Demonstration sites.—

(A)  Selection of demonstration sites.—The Secretary shall conduct demonstration projects at 4 demonstration sites.

(B)  Geographic diversity.—Of the sites described in subparagraph (A)—

(i)  two shall be in rural areas; and

(ii)  two shall be in urban areas.

(C)  Sites located in hpsas.—At least 1 site described in clause (i) of subparagraph (B) and at least 1 site described in clause (ii) of such subparagraph shall be located in an area that is designated under section 332(a)(1)(A) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 254e(a)(1)(A)) as a health professional shortage area.

(2)  Implementation; duration.—

(A)  Implementation.—The Secretary shall not implement the demonstration projects before October 1, 2004.

(B)  Duration.—The Secretary shall complete the demonstration projects by the date that is 2 years after the date on which the first demonstration project is implemented.

(d)  Evaluation and Report.—

(1)  Evaluation.—The Secretary shall conduct an evaluation of the demonstration projects—

(A)  to determine whether eligible beneficiaries who use chiropractic services use a lesser overall amount of items and services for which payment is made under the medicare program than eligible beneficiaries who do not use such services;

(B)  to determine the cost of providing payment for chiropractic services under the medicare program;

(C)  to determine the satisfaction of eligible beneficiaries participating in the demonstration projects and the quality of care received by such beneficiaries; and

(D)  to evaluate such other matters as the Secretary determines is appropriate.

(2)  Report.—Not later than the date that is 1 year after the date on which the demonstration projects conclude, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the evaluation conducted under paragraph (1) together with such recommendations for legislation or administrative action as the Secretary determines is appropriate.

(e)  Waiver of Medicare Requirements.—The Secretary shall waive compliance with such requirements of the medicare program to the extent and for the period the Secretary finds necessary to conduct the demonstration projects.

(f)  Funding.—

(1)  Demonstration projects.—

(A) In general.—Subject to subparagraph (B) and paragraph (2), the Secretary shall provide for the transfer from the Federal Supplementary Insurance Trust Fund under section 1841 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395t) of such funds as are necessary for the costs of carrying out the demonstration projects under this section.

(B)  Limitation.—In conducting the demonstration projects under this section, the Secretary shall ensure that the aggregate payments made by the Secretary under the medicare program do not exceed the amount which the Secretary would have paid under the medicare program if the demonstration projects under this section were not implemented.

(2)  Evaluation and report.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary for the purpose of developing and submitting the report to Congress under subsection (d).

TITLE VII—PROVISIONS RELATING TO PARTS A AND B

Subtitle A—Home Health Services

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 702. [42 U.S.C. 1395x note]  DEMONSTRATION PROJECT TO CLARIFY THE DEFINITION OF HOMEBOUND.

(a)  Demonstration Project.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall conduct a 2-year demonstration project under part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act under which medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions described in subsection (b) are deemed to be homebound for purposes of receiving home health services under the medicare program.

(b)  Medicare Beneficiary Described.—For purposes of subsection (a), a medicare beneficiary is eligible to be deemed to be homebound, without regard to the purpose, frequency, or duration of absences from the home, if—

(1)  the beneficiary has been certified by one physician as an individual who has a permanent and severe, disabling condition that is not expected to improve;

(2)  the beneficiary is dependent upon assistance from another individual with at least 3 out of the 5 activities of daily living for the rest of the beneficiary’s life;

(3)  the beneficiary requires skilled nursing services for the rest of the beneficiary’s life and the skilled nursing is more than medication management;

(4)  an attendant is required to visit the beneficiary on a daily basis to monitor and treat the beneficiary’s medical condition or to assist the beneficiary with activities of daily living;

(5)  the beneficiary requires technological assistance or the assistance of another person to leave the home; and

(6)  the beneficiary does not regularly work in a paid position full-time or part-time outside the home.

(c)  Demonstration Project Sites.—The demonstration project established under this section shall be conducted in 3 States selected by the Secretary to represent the Northeast, Midwest, and Western regions of the United States.

(d)  Limitation on Number of Participants.—The aggregate number of such beneficiaries that may participate in the project may not exceed 15,000.

(e)  Data.—The Secretary shall collect such data on the demonstration project with respect to the provision of home health services to medicare beneficiaries that relates to quality of care, patient outcomes, and additional costs, if any, to the medicare program.

(f)  Report to Congress.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the completion of the demonstration project under this section, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the project using the data collected under subsection (e). The report shall include the following:

(1)  An examination of whether the provision of home health services to medicare beneficiaries under the project has had any of the following effects:

(A)  Has adversely affected the provision of home health services under the medicare program.

(B)  Has directly caused an increase of expenditures under the medicare program for the provision of such services that is directly attributable to such clarification.

(2)  The specific data evidencing the amount of any increase in expenditures that is directly attributable to the demonstration project (expressed both in absolute dollar terms and as a percentage) above expenditures that would otherwise have been incurred for home health services under the medicare program.

(3)  Specific recommendations to exempt permanently and severely disabled homebound beneficiaries from restrictions on the length, frequency, and purpose of their absences from the home to qualify for home health services without incurring additional costs to the medicare program.

(g)  Waiver Authority.—The Secretary shall waive compliance with the requirements of title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.) to such extent and for such period as the Secretary determines is necessary to conduct demonstration projects.

(h)  Construction.—Nothing in this section shall be construed as waiving any applicable civil monetary penalty, criminal penalty, or other remedy available to the Secretary under title XI or title XVIII of the Social Security Act for acts prohibited under such titles, including penalties for false certifications for purposes of receipt of items or services under the medicare program.

(i)  Authorization of Appropriations.—Payments for the costs of carrying out the demonstration project under this section shall be made from the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund under section 1841 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395t).

(j)  Definitions.—In this section:

(1)  Medicare beneficiary.—The term “medicare beneficiary” means an individual who is enrolled under part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act.

(2)  Home health services.—The term “home health services” has the meaning given such term in section 1861(m) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(m)).

(3)  Activities of daily living defined.—The term “activities of daily living” means eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, and dressing.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Subtitle B—Graduate Medical Education

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 712. [42 U.S.C. 1395ww note]  EXCEPTION TO INITIAL RESIDENCY PERIOD FOR GERIATRIC RESIDENCY OR FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS.

(a)  Clarification of Congressional Intent.—Congress intended section 1886(h)(5)(F)(ii) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(h)(5)(F)(ii)), as added by section 9202 of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-272), to provide an exception to the initial residency period for geriatric residency or fellowship programs such that, where a particular approved geriatric training program requires a resident to complete 2 years of training to initially become board eligible in the geriatric specialty, the 2 years spent in the geriatric training program are treated as part of the resident’s initial residency period, but are not counted against any limitation on the initial residency period.

(b)  Interim Final Regulatory Authority and Effective Date.—The Secretary shall promulgate interim final regulations consistent with the congressional intent expressed in this section after notice and pending opportunity for public comment to be effective for cost reporting periods beginning on or after October 1, 2003.

Subtitle C—Chronic Care Improvement

SEC. 721.  VOLUNTARY CHRONIC CARE IMPROVEMENT UNDER TRADITIONAL FEE-FOR-SERVICE.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(b) [42 U.S.C. 1395b-8 note]  Reports.—The Secretary shall submit to Congress reports on the operation of section 1807 of the Social Security Act, as added by subsection (a), as follows:

(1)  Not later than 2 years after the date of the implementation of such section, the Secretary shall submit to Congress an interim report on the scope of implementation of the programs under subsection (b) of such section, the design of the programs, and preliminary cost and quality findings with respect to those programs based on the following measures of the programs:

(A)  Quality improvement measures, such as adherence to evidence-based guidelines and rehospitalization rates.

(B)  Beneficiary and provider satisfaction.

(C)  Health outcomes.

(D)  Financial outcomes.

(2)  Not later than 3 years and 6 months after the date of the implementation of such section the Secretary shall submit to Congress an update to the report required under paragraph (1) on the results of such programs.

(3)  The Secretary shall submit to Congress 2 additional biennial reports on the chronic care improvement programs conducted under such section. The first such report shall be submitted not later than 2 years after the report is submitted under paragraph (2). Each such report shall include information on—

(A)  the scope of implementation (in terms of both regions and chronic conditions) of the chronic care improvement programs;

(B)  the design of the programs; and

(C)  the improvements in health outcomes and financial efficiencies that result from such implementation.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Subtitle D—Other Provisions

SEC. 733. [42 U.S.C. 1395l note]  PAYMENT FOR PANCREATIC ISLET CELL INVESTIGATIONAL TRANSPLANTS FOR MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES IN CLINICAL TRIALS.

(a)  Clinical Trial.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary, acting through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders, shall conduct a clinical investigation of pancreatic islet cell transplantation which includes medicare beneficiaries.

(2)  Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as may be necessary to conduct the clinical investigation under paragraph (1).

(b)  Medicare Payment.—Not earlier than October 1, 2004, the Secretary shall pay for the routine costs as well as transplantation and appropriate related items and services (as described in subsection (c)) in the case of medicare beneficiaries who are participating in a clinical trial described in subsection (a) as if such transplantation were covered under title XVIII of such Act and as would be paid under part A or part B of such title for such beneficiary.

(c)  Scope of Payment.—For purposes of subsection (b):

(1)  The term “routine costs” means reasonable and necessary routine patient care costs (as defined in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Coverage Issues Manual, section 30-1), including immunosuppressive drugs and other followup care.

(2)  The term “transplantation and appropriate related items and services” means items and services related to the acquisition and delivery of the pancreatic islet cell transplantation, notwithstanding any national noncoverage determination contained in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Coverage Issues Manual.

(3)  The term “medicare beneficiary” means an individual who is entitled to benefits under part A of title XVIII of the Social Security Act, or enrolled under part B of such title, or both.

(d)  Construction.—The provisions of this section shall not be construed—

(1)  to permit payment for partial pancreatic tissue or islet cell transplantation under title XVIII of the Social Security Act other than payment as described in subsection (b); or

(2)  as authorizing or requiring coverage or payment conveying—

(A)  benefits under part A of such title to a beneficiary not entitled to such part A; or

(B)  benefits under part B of such title to a beneficiary not enrolled in such part B.

SEC. 734. [42 U.S.C. 1395i note]  RESTORATION OF MEDICARE TRUST FUNDS.

(a)  Definitions.—In this section:

(1)  Clerical error.—The term “clerical error” means a failure that occurs on or after April 15, 2001, to have transferred the correct amount from the general fund of the Treasury to a Trust Fund.

(2)  Trust fund.—The term “Trust Fund” means the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund established under section 1817 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i) and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund established under section 1841 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395t).

(b)  Correction of Trust Fund Holdings.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall take the actions described in paragraph (2) with respect to the Trust Fund with the goal being that, after such actions are taken, the holdings of the Trust Fund will replicate, to the extent practicable in the judgment of the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary, the holdings that would have been held by the Trust Fund if the clerical error involved had not occurred.

(2)  Obligations issued and redeemed.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall—

(A)  issue to the Trust Fund obligations under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, that bear issue dates, interest rates, and maturity dates that are the same as those for the obligations that—

(i)  would have been issued to the Trust Fund if the clerical error involved had not occurred; or

(ii)  were issued to the Trust Fund and were redeemed by reason of the clerical error involved; and

(B)  redeem from the Trust Fund obligations that would have been redeemed from the Trust Fund if the clerical error involved had not occurred.

(c)  Appropriation.—There is appropriated to the Trust Fund, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, an amount determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary, to be equal to the interest income lost by the Trust Fund through the date on which the appropriation is being made as a result of the clerical error involved.

(d)  Congressional Notice.—In the case of a clerical error that occurs after April 15, 2001, the Secretary of the Treasury, before taking action to correct the error under this section, shall notify the appropriate committees of Congress concerning such error and the actions to be taken under this section in response to such error.

(e)  Deadline.—With respect to the clerical error that occurred on April 15, 2001, not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act—

(1)  the Secretary of the Treasury shall take the actions under subsection (b)(1); and

(2)  the appropriation under subsection (c) shall be made.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

TITLE VIII—COST CONTAINMENT

Subtitle A—Cost Containment

SEC. 801. [42 U.S.C. 1395i note]  INCLUSION IN ANNUAL REPORT OF MEDICARE TRUSTEES OF INFORMATION ON STATUS OF MEDICARE TRUST FUNDS.

(a)  Determinations of Excess General Revenue Medicare Funding.—

(1)  In general.—The Board of Trustees of each medicare trust fund shall include in the annual reports submitted under subsection (b)(2) of sections 1817 and 1841 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i and 1395t)—

(A)  the information described in subsection (b); and

(B)  a determination as to whether there is projected to be excess general revenue medicare funding (as defined in subsection (c)) for the fiscal year in which the report is submitted or for any of the succeeding 6 fiscal years.

(2)  Medicare funding warning.—For purposes of section 1105(h) of title 31, United States Code, and this subtitle, an affirmative determination under paragraph (1)(B) in 2 consecutive annual reports shall be treated as a medicare funding warning in the year in which the second such report is made.

(3)  7-fiscal-year reporting period.—For purposes of this subtitle, the term “7-fiscal-year reporting period” means, with respect to a year in which an annual report described in paragraph (1) is made, the period of 7 consecutive fiscal years beginning with the fiscal year in which the report is submitted.

(b)  Information.—The information described in this subsection for an annual report in a year is as follows:

(1)  Projections of growth of general revenue spending.—A statement of the general revenue medicare funding as a percentage of the total medicare outlays for each of the following:

(A)  Each fiscal year within the 7-fiscal-year reporting period.

(B)  Previous fiscal years and as of 10, 50, and 75 years after such year.

(2)  Comparison with other growth trends.—A comparison of the trend of such percentages with the annual growth rate in the following:

(A)  The gross domestic product.

(B)  Private health costs.

(C)  National health expenditures.

(D)  Other appropriate measures.

(3)  Part d spending.—Expenditures, including trends in expenditures, under part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act, as added by section 101.

(4)  Combined medicare trust fund analysis.—A financial analysis of the combined medicare trust funds if general revenue medicare funding were limited to the percentage specified in subsection (c)(1)(B) of total medicare outlays.

(c)  Definitions.—For purposes of this section:

(1)  Excess general revenue medicare funding.—The term “excess general revenue medicare funding” means, with respect to a fiscal year, that—

(A)  general revenue medicare funding (as defined in paragraph (2)), expressed as a percentage of total medicare outlays (as defined in paragraph (4)) for the fiscal year; exceeds

(B)  45 percent.

(2)  General revenue medicare funding.—The term “general revenue medicare funding” means for a year—

(A)  the total medicare outlays (as defined in paragraph (4)) for the year; minus

(B)  the dedicated medicare financing sources (as defined in paragraph (3)) for the year.

(3)  Dedicated medicare financing sources.—The term “dedicated medicare financing sources” means the following:

(A)  Hospital insurance tax.—Amounts appropriated to the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under the third sentence of section 1817(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i(a)) and amounts transferred to such Trust Fund under section 7(c)(2) of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 (45 U.S.C. 231f(c)(2)).

(B)  Taxation of certain oasdi benefits.—Amounts appropriated to the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under section 121(e)(1)(B) of the Social Security Amendments of 1983 (Public Law 98-21), as inserted by section 13215(c) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-66).

(C)  State transfers.—The State share of amounts paid to the Federal Government by a State under section 1843 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395v) or pursuant to section 1935(c) of such Act.

(D)  Premiums.—The following premiums:

(i)  Part a.—Premiums paid by non-Federal sources under sections 1818 and section 1818A (42 U.S.C. 1395i-2 and 1395i-2a) of such Act.

(ii)  Part b.—Premiums paid by non-Federal sources under section 1839 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395r), including any adjustments in premiums under such section.

(iii)  Part d.—Monthly beneficiary premiums paid under part D of title XVIII of such Act, as added by section 101, and MA monthly prescription drug beneficiary premiums paid under part C of such title insofar as they are attributable to basic prescription drug coverage.

Premiums under clauses (ii) and (iii) shall be determined without regard to any reduction in such premiums attributable to a beneficiary rebate under section 1854(b)(1)(C) of such title, as amended by section 222(b)(1), and premiums under clause (iii) are deemed to include any amounts paid under section 1860D-13(b) of such title, as added by section 101.

(E)  Gifts.—Amounts received by the medicare trust funds under section 201(i) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401(i)).

(4)  Total medicare outlays.—The term “total medicare outlays” means total outlays from the medicare trust funds and shall—

(A)  include payments made to plans under part C of title XVIII of the Social Security Act that are attributable to any rebates under section 1854(b)(1)(C) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-24(b)(1)(C)), as amended by section 222(b)(1);

(B)  include administrative expenditures made in carrying out title XVIII of such Act and Federal outlays under section 1935(b) of such Act, as added by section 103(a)(2); and

(C)  offset outlays by the amount of fraud and abuse collections insofar as they are applied or deposited into a medicare trust fund.

(5)  Medicare trust fund.—The term “medicare trust fund” means—

(A)  the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund established under section 1817 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i); and

(B)  the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund established under section 1841 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395t), including the Medicare Prescription Drug Account under such Trust Fund.

(e)  Notice of Medicare Funding Warning.—Whenever any report described in subsection (a) contains a determination that for any fiscal year within the 7-fiscal-year reporting period there will be excess general revenue medicare funding, Congress and the President should address the matter under existing rules and procedures.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

TITLE IX—ADMINISTRATIVE IMPROVEMENTS, REGULATORY REDUCTION, AND CONTRACTING REFORM

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Subtitle B—Contracting Reform

SEC. 911.  INCREASED FLEXIBILITY IN MEDICARE ADMINISTRATION.

(a) [42 U.S.C. 1395kk-1]  Consideration and flexibility in medicare administration.—

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(2) [42 U.S.C. 1395kk-1 note]  Consideration of incorporation of current law standards.—In developing contract performance requirements under section 1874A(b) of the Social Security Act, as inserted by paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consider inclusion of the performance standards described in sections 1816(f)(2) of such Act (relating to timely processing of reconsiderations and applications for exemptions) and section 1842(b)(2)(B) of such Act (relating to timely review of determinations and fair hearing requests), as such sections were in effect before the date of the enactment of this Act.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(d) [42 U.S.C. 1395kk-1 note]  Effective Date; Transition Rule.—

(1)  Effective date.—

(A)  In general.—Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the amendments made by this section shall take effect on October 1, 2005, and the Secretary is authorized to take such steps before such date as may be necessary to implement such amendments on a timely basis.

(B)  Construction for current contracts.—Such amendments shall not apply to contracts in effect before the date specified under subparagraph (A) that continue to retain the terms and conditions in effect on such date (except as otherwise provided under this Act, other than under this section) until such date as the contract is let out for competitive bidding under such amendments.

(C)  Deadline for competitive bidding.—The Secretary shall provide for the letting by competitive bidding of all contracts for functions of medicare administrative contractors for annual contract periods that begin on or after October 1, 2011.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(3)  Authorizing continuation of mip functions under current contracts and agreements and under transition contracts.—Notwithstanding the amendments made by this section, the provisions contained in the exception in section 1893(d)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ddd(d)(2)) shall continue to apply during the period that begins on the date of the enactment of this Act and ends on October 1, 2011, and any reference in such provisions to an agreement or contract shall be deemed to include a contract under section 1874A of such Act, as inserted by subsection (a)(1), that continues the activities referred to in such provisions.

(e) [42 U.S.C. 1395kk-1 note]  References.—On and after the effective date provided under subsection (d)(1), any reference to a fiscal intermediary or carrier under title XI or XVIII of the Social Security Act (or any regulation, manual instruction, interpretative rule, statement of policy, or guideline issued to carry out such titles) shall be deemed a reference to a medicare administrative contractor (as provided under section 1874A of the Social Security Act).

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(g) [42 U.S.C. 1395kk-1 note]  Reports on Implementation.—

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(2)  Status of implementation.—The Secretary shall submit a report to Congress not later than October 1, 2008, that describes the status of implementation of such amendments and that includes a description of the following:

(A)  The number of contracts that have been competitively bid as of such date.

(B)  The distribution of functions among contracts and contractors.

(C)  A timeline for complete transition to full competition.

(D)  A detailed description of how the Secretary has modified oversight and management of medicare contractors to adapt to full competition.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Subtitle C—Education and Outreach

SEC. 921.  PROVIDER EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(c)  *  *  *

(3) [42 U.S.C. 1395kk-1 note]  Application to fiscal intermediaries and carriers.—The provisions of section 1874A(g) of the Social Security Act, as added by paragraph (1), shall apply to each fiscal intermediary under section 1816 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395h) and each carrier under section 1842 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395u) in the same manner as they apply to medicare administrative contractors under such provisions.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 922. [42 U.S.C. 1395zz note]  SMALL PROVIDER TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM.

(a)  Establishment.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary shall establish a demonstration program (in this section referred to as the “demonstration program”) under which technical assistance described in paragraph (2) is made available, upon request and on a voluntary basis, to small providers of services or suppliers in order to improve compliance with the applicable requirements of the programs under medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (including provisions of title XI of such Act insofar as they relate to such title and are not administered by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services).

(2)  Forms of technical assistance.—The technical assistance described in this paragraph is—

(A)  evaluation and recommendations regarding billing and related systems; and

(B)  information and assistance regarding policies and procedures under the medicare program, including coding and reimbursement.

(3)  Small providers of services or suppliers.—In this section, the term “small providers of services or suppliers” means—

(A)  a provider of services with fewer than 25 full-time-equivalent employees; or

(B)  a supplier with fewer than 10 full-time-equivalent employees.

(b)  Qualification of Contractors.—In conducting the demonstration program, the Secretary shall enter into contracts with qualified organizations (such as peer review organizations or entities described in section 1889(g)(2) of the Social Security Act, as inserted by section 921(f)(1)) with appropriate expertise with billing systems of the full range of providers of services and suppliers to provide the technical assistance. In awarding such contracts, the Secretary shall consider any prior investigations of the entity’s work by the Inspector General of Department of Health and Human Services or the Comptroller General of the United States.

(c)  Description of Technical Assistance.—The technical assistance provided under the demonstration program shall include a direct and in-person examination of billing systems and internal controls of small providers of services or suppliers to determine program compliance and to suggest more efficient or effective means of achieving such compliance.

(d)  GAO Evaluation.—Not later than 2 years after the date the demonstration program is first implemented, the Comptroller General, in consultation with the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, shall conduct an evaluation of the demonstration program. The evaluation shall include a determination of whether claims error rates are reduced for small providers of services or suppliers who participated in the program and the extent of improper payments made as a result of the demonstration program. The Comptroller General shall submit a report to the Secretary and the Congress on such evaluation and shall include in such report recommendations regarding the continuation or extension of the demonstration program.

(e)  Financial Participation by Providers.—The provision of technical assistance to a small provider of services or supplier under the demonstration program is conditioned upon the small provider of services or supplier paying an amount estimated (and disclosed in advance of a provider’s or supplier’s participation in the program) to be equal to 25 percent of the cost of the technical assistance.

(f)  Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated, from amounts not otherwise appropriated in the Treasury, such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 925. [42 U.S.C. 1395b-7 note]  INCLUSION OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IN NOTICES TO BENEFICIARIES ABOUT SKILLED NURSING FACILITY BENEFITS.

(a)  In General.—The Secretary shall provide that in medicare beneficiary notices provided (under section 1806(a) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395b-7(a)) with respect to the provision of post-hospital extended care services under part A of title XVIII of the Social Security Act, there shall be included information on the number of days of coverage of such services remaining under such part for the medicare beneficiary and spell of illness involved.

(b)  Effective Date.—Subsection (a) shall apply to notices provided during calendar quarters beginning more than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 926. [42 U.S.C. 1395x note]  INFORMATION ON MEDICARE-CERTIFIED SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES IN HOSPITAL DISCHARGE PLANS.

(a)  Availability of Data.—The Secretary shall publicly provide information that enables hospital discharge planners, medicare beneficiaries, and the public to identify skilled nursing facilities that are participating in the medicare program.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(2)  Effective date.—The amendments made by paragraph (1) shall apply to discharge plans made on or after such date as the Secretary shall specify, but not later than 6 months after the date the Secretary provides for availability of information under subsection (a).

Subtitle D—Appeals and Recovery

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 938.  PRIOR DETERMINATION PROCESS FOR CERTAIN ITEMS AND SERVICES; ADVANCE BENEFICIARY NOTICES.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(b) [42 U.S.C. 1395ff note]  Effective Date; Sunset; Transition.—

(1)  Effective date.—The Secretary shall establish the prior determination process under the amendment made by subsection (a) in such a manner as to provide for the acceptance of requests for determinations under such process filed not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2)  Sunset.—Such prior determination process shall not apply to requests filed after the end of the 5-year period beginning on the first date on which requests for determinations under such process are accepted.

(3)  Transition.—During the period in which the amendment made by subsection (a) has become effective but contracts are not provided under section 1874A of the Social Security Act with medicare administrative contractors, any reference in section 1869(g) of such Act (as added by such amendment) to such a contractor is deemed a reference to a fiscal intermediary or carrier with an agreement under section 1816, or contract under section 1842, respectively, of such Act.

(4)  Limitation on application to sgr.—For purposes of applying section 1848(f)(2)(D) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-4(f)(2)(D)), the amendment made by subsection (a) shall not be considered to be a change in law or regulation.

(c) [42 U.S.C. 1395pp note]  Provisions Relating to Advance Beneficiary Notices; Report on Prior Determination Process.—

(1)  Data collection.—The Secretary shall establish a process for the collection of information on the instances in which an advance beneficiary notice (as defined in paragraph (5)) has been provided and on instances in which a beneficiary indicates on such a notice that the beneficiary does not intend to seek to have the item or service that is the subject of the notice furnished.

(2)  Outreach and education.—The Secretary shall establish a program of outreach and education for beneficiaries and providers of services and other persons on the appropriate use of advance beneficiary notices and coverage policies under the medicare program.

(3)  GAO report on use of advance beneficiary notices.—Not later than 18 months after the date on which section 1869(h) of the Social Security Act (as added by subsection (a)) takes effect, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the use of advance beneficiary notices under title XVIII of such Act. Such report shall include information concerning the providers of services and other persons that have provided such notices and the response of beneficiaries to such notices.

(4)  GAO report on use of prior determination process.—Not later than 36 months after the date on which section 1869(h) of the Social Security Act (as added by subsection (a)) takes effect, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the use of the prior determination process under such section. Such report shall include—

(A)  information concerning—

(i)  the number and types of procedures for which a prior determination has been sought;

(ii)  determinations made under the process;

(iii)  the percentage of beneficiaries prevailing;

(iv)  in those cases in which the beneficiaries do not prevail, the reasons why such beneficiaries did not prevail; and

(v)  changes in receipt of services resulting from the application of such process;

(B)  an evaluation of whether the process was useful for physicians (and other suppliers) and beneficiaries, whether it was timely, and whether the amount of information required was burdensome to physicians and beneficiaries; and

(C)  recommendations for improvements or continuation of such process.

(5)  Advance beneficiary notice defined.—In this subsection, the term “advance beneficiary notice” means a written notice provided under section 1879(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395pp(a)) to an individual entitled to benefits under part A or enrolled under part B of title XVIII of such Act before items or services are furnished under such part in cases where a provider of services or other person that would furnish the item or service believes that payment will not be made for some or all of such items or services under such title.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Subtitle E—Miscellaneous Provisions

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 943. [42 U.S.C. 1395y note]  TREATMENT OF HOSPITALS FOR CERTAIN SERVICES UNDER MEDICARE SECONDARY PAYOR (MSP) PROVISIONS.

(a)  In General.—The Secretary shall not require a hospital (including a critical access hospital) to ask questions (or obtain information) relating to the application of section 1862(b) of the Social Security Act (relating to medicare secondary payor provisions) in the case of reference laboratory services described in subsection (b), if the Secretary does not impose such requirement in the case of such services furnished by an independent laboratory.

(b)  Reference Laboratory Services Described.—Reference laboratory services described in this subsection are clinical laboratory diagnostic tests (or the interpretation of such tests, or both) furnished without a face-to-face encounter between the individual entitled to benefits under part A or enrolled under part B, or both, and the hospital involved and in which the hospital submits a claim only for such test or interpretation.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 945. [42 U.S.C. 1395dd note]  EMERGENCY MEDICAL TREATMENT AND LABOR ACT (EMTALA) TECHNICAL ADVISORY GROUP.

(a)  Establishment.—The Secretary shall establish a Technical Advisory Group (in this section referred to as the “Advisory Group”) to review issues related to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and its implementation. In this section, the term “EMTALA” refers to the provisions of section 1867 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395dd).

(b)  Membership.—The Advisory Group shall be composed of 19 members, including the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services and of which—

(1)  4 shall be representatives of hospitals, including at least one public hospital, that have experience with the application of EMTALA and at least 2 of which have not been cited for EMTALA violations;

(2)  7 shall be practicing physicians drawn from the fields of emergency medicine, cardiology or cardiothoracic surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, pediatrics or a pediatric subspecialty, obstetrics-gynecology, and psychiatry, with not more than one physician from any particular field;

(3)  2 shall represent patients;

(4)  2 shall be staff involved in EMTALA investigations from different regional offices of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; and

(5)  1 shall be from a State survey office involved in EMTALA investigations and 1 shall be from a peer review organization, both of whom shall be from areas other than the regions represented under paragraph (4).

In selecting members described in paragraphs (1) through (3), the Secretary shall consider qualified individuals nominated by organizations representing providers and patients.

(c)  General Responsibilities.—The Advisory Group—

(1)  shall review EMTALA regulations;

(2)  may provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary with respect to those regulations and their application to hospitals and physicians;

(3)  shall solicit comments and recommendations from hospitals, physicians, and the public regarding the implementation of such regulations; and

(4)  may disseminate information on the application of such regulations to hospitals, physicians, and the public.

(d)  Administrative Matters.—

(1)  Chairperson.—The members of the Advisory Group shall elect a member to serve as chairperson of the Advisory Group for the life of the Advisory Group.

(2)  Meetings.—The Advisory Group shall first meet at the direction of the Secretary. The Advisory Group shall then meet twice per year and at such other times as the Advisory Group may provide.

(e)  Termination.—The Advisory Group shall terminate 30 months after the date of its first meeting.

(f)  Waiver of Administrative Limitation.—The Secretary shall establish the Advisory Group notwithstanding any limitation that may apply to the number of advisory committees that may be established (within the Department of Health and Human Services or otherwise).

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 951. [42 U.S.C. 1395ww note]  FURNISHING HOSPITALS WITH INFORMATION TO COMPUTE DSH FORMULA.

Beginning not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall arrange to furnish to subsection (d) hospitals (as defined in section 1886(d)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(1)(B)) the data necessary for such hospitals to compute the number of patient days used in computing the disproportionate patient percentage under such section for that hospital for the current cost reporting year. Such data shall also be furnished to other hospitals which would qualify for additional payments under part A of title XVIII of the Social Security Act on the basis of such data.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 953.  OTHER PROVISIONS.

(a) [None Assigned]  GAO Reports on the Physician Compensation.—

(1)  Sustainable growth rate and updates.—Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the appropriateness of the updates in the conversion factor under subsection (d)(3) of section 1848 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-4), including the appropriateness of the sustainable growth rate formula under subsection (f) of such section for 2002 and succeeding years. Such report shall examine the stability and predictability of such updates and rate and alternatives for the use of such rate in the updates.

(2) [42 U.S.C. 1395w-4 note]  Physician compensation generally.—Not later than 12 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit to Congress a report on all aspects of physician compensation for services furnished under title XVIII of the Social Security Act, and how those aspects interact and the effect on appropriate compensation for physician services. Such report shall review alternatives for the physician fee schedule under section 1848 of such title (42 U.S.C. 1395w-4).

(b) [42 U.S.C. 1395y note]  Annual Publication of List of National Coverage Determinations.—The Secretary shall provide, in an appropriate annual publication available to the public, a list of national coverage determinations made under title XVIII of the Social Security Act in the previous year and information on how to get more information with respect to such determinations.

(c) [None Assigned]  GAO Report on Flexibility in Applying Home Health Conditions of Participation to Patients Who Are Not Medicare Beneficiaries.—Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress a report on the implications if there were flexibility in the application of the medicare conditions of participation for home health agencies with respect to groups or types of patients who are not medicare beneficiaries. The report shall include an analysis of the potential impact of such flexible application on clinical operations and the recipients of such services and an analysis of methods for monitoring the quality of care provided to such recipients.

(d) [42 U.S.C. 1395d note]  OIG Report on Notices Relating to Use of Hospital Lifetime Reserve Days.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services shall submit a report to Congress on—

(1)  the extent to which hospitals provide notice to medicare beneficiaries in accordance with applicable requirements before they use the 60 lifetime reserve days described in section 1812(a)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395d(a)(1)); and

(2)  the appropriateness and feasibility of hospitals providing a notice to such beneficiaries before they completely exhaust such lifetime reserve days.

TITLE X—MEDICAID AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Subtitle A—Medicaid Provisions

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

Subtitle B—Miscellaneous Provisions

SEC. 1011. [42 U.S.C. 1395dd note]  FEDERAL REIMBURSEMENT OF EMERGENCY HEALTH SERVICES FURNISHED TO UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.

(a)  Total Amount Available for Allotment.—

(1)  In general.—Out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated to the Secretary $250,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2005 through 2008 for the purpose of making allotments under this section for payments to eligible providers in States described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (b).

(2)  Availability.—Funds appropriated under paragraph (1) shall remain available until expended.

(b)  State Allotments.—

(1)  Based on percentage of undocumented aliens.—

(A)  In general.—Out of the amount appropriated under subsection (a) for a fiscal year, the Secretary shall use $167,000,000 of such amount to make allotments for such fiscal year in accordance with subparagraph (B).

(B)  Formula.—The amount of the allotment for payments to eligible providers in each State for a fiscal year shall be equal to the product of—

(i)  the total amount available for allotments under this paragraph for the fiscal year; and

(ii)  the percentage of undocumented aliens residing in the State as compared to the total number of such aliens residing in all States, as determined by the Statistics Division of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as of January 2003, based on the 2000 decennial census.

(2)  Based on number of undocumented alien apprehension states.—

(A)  In general.—Out of the amount appropriated under subsection (a) for a fiscal year, the Secretary shall use $83,000,000 of such amount to make allotments, in addition to amounts allotted under paragraph (1), for such fiscal year for each of the 6 States with the highest number of undocumented alien apprehensions for such fiscal year.

(B)  Determination of allotments.—The amount of the allotment for each State described in subparagraph (A) for a fiscal year shall be equal to the product of—

(i)  the total amount available for allotments under this paragraph for the fiscal year; and

(ii)  the percentage of undocumented alien apprehensions in the State in that fiscal year as compared to the total of such apprehensions for all such States for the preceding fiscal year.

(C)  Data.—For purposes of this paragraph, the highest number of undocumented alien apprehensions for a fiscal year shall be based on the apprehension rates for the 4-consecutive-quarter period ending before the beginning of the fiscal year for which information is available for undocumented aliens in such States, as reported by the Department of Homeland Security.

(c)  Use of Funds.—

(1)  Authority to make payments.—From the allotments made for a State under subsection (b) for a fiscal year, the Secretary shall pay the amount (subject to the total amount available from such allotments) determined under paragraph (2) directly to eligible providers located in the State for the provision of eligible services to aliens described in paragraph (5) to the extent that the eligible provider was not otherwise reimbursed (through insurance or otherwise) for such services during that fiscal year.

(2)  Determination of payment amounts.—

(A)  In general.—Subject to subparagraph (B), the payment amount determined under this paragraph shall be an amount determined by the Secretary that is equal to the lesser of—

(i)  the amount that the provider demonstrates was incurred for the provision of such services; or

(ii)  amounts determined under a methodology established by the Secretary for purposes of this subsection.

(B)  Pro-rata reduction.—If the amount of funds allotted to a State under subsection (b) for a fiscal year is insufficient to ensure that each eligible provider in that State receives the amount of payment calculated under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall reduce that amount of payment with respect to each eligible provider to ensure that the entire amount allotted to the State for that fiscal year is paid to such eligible providers.

(3)  Methodology.—In establishing a methodology under paragraph (2)(A)(ii), the Secretary—

(A)  may establish different methodologies for types of eligible providers;

(B)  may base payments for hospital services on estimated hospital charges, adjusted to estimated cost, through the application of hospital-specific cost-to-charge ratios;

(C)  shall provide for the election by a hospital to receive either payments to the hospital for—

(i)  hospital and physician services; or

(ii)  hospital services and for a portion of the on-call payments made by the hospital to physicians; and

(D)  shall make quarterly payments under this section to eligible providers.

If a hospital makes the election under subparagraph (C)(i), the hospital shall pass on payments for services of a physician to the physician and may not charge any administrative or other fee with respect to such payments.

(4)  Limitation on use of funds.—Payments made to eligible providers in a State from allotments made under subsection (b) for a fiscal year may only be used for costs incurred in providing eligible services to aliens described in paragraph (5).

(5)  Aliens described.—For purposes of paragraphs (1) and (2), aliens described in this paragraph are any of the following:

(A)  Undocumented aliens.

(B)  Aliens who have been paroled into the United States at a United States port of entry for the purpose of receiving eligible services.

(C)  Mexican citizens permitted to enter the United States for not more than 72 hours under the authority of a biometric machine readable border crossing identification card (also referred to as a “laser visa”) issued in accordance with the requirements of regulations prescribed under section 101(a)(6) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(6)).

(d)  Applications; Advance Payments.—

(1)  Deadline for establishment of application process.—

(A)  In general.—Not later than September 1, 2004, the Secretary shall establish a process under which eligible providers located in a State may request payments under subsection (c).

(B)  Inclusion of measures to combat fraud and abuse.—The Secretary shall include in the process established under subparagraph (A) measures to ensure that inappropriate, excessive, or fraudulent payments are not made from the allotments determined under subsection (b), including certification by the eligible provider of the veracity of the payment request.

(2)  Advance payment; retrospective adjustment.—The process established under paragraph (1) may provide for making payments under this section for each quarter of a fiscal year on the basis of advance estimates of expenditures submitted by applicants for such payments and such other investigation as the Secretary may find necessary, and for making reductions or increases in the payments as necessary to adjust for any overpayment or underpayment for prior quarters of such fiscal year.

(e)  Definitions.—In this section:

(1)  Eligible provider.—The term “eligible provider” means a hospital, physician, or provider of ambulance services (including an Indian Health Service facility whether operated by the Indian Health Service or by an Indian tribe or tribal organization).

(2)  Eligible services.—The term “eligible services” means health care services required by the application of section 1867 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395dd), and related hospital inpatient and outpatient services and ambulance services (as defined by the Secretary).

(3)  Hospital.—The term “hospital” has the meaning given such term in section 1861(e) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(e)), except that such term shall include a critical access hospital (as defined in section 1861(mm)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(mm)(1)).

(4)  Physician.—The term “physician” has the meaning given that term in section 1861(r) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(r)).

(5)  Indian tribe; tribal organization.—The terms “Indian tribe” and “tribal organization” have the meanings given such terms in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1603).

(6)  State.—The term “State” means the 50 States and the District of Columbia.

SEC. 1012. [42 U.S.C. 242b note]  COMMISSION ON SYSTEMIC INTEROPERABILITY.

(a)  Establishment.—The Secretary shall establish a commission to be known as the “Commission on Systemic Interoperability” (in this section referred to as the “Commission”).

(b)  Duties.—

(1)  In general.—The Commission shall develop a comprehensive strategy for the adoption and implementation of health care information technology standards, that includes a timeline and prioritization for such adoption and implementation.

(2)  Considerations.—In developing the comprehensive health care information technology strategy under paragraph (1), the Commission shall consider—

(A)  the costs and benefits of the standards, both financial impact and quality improvement;

(B)  the current demand on industry resources to implement this Act and other electronic standards, including HIPAA standards; and

(C)  the most cost-effective and efficient means for industry to implement the standards.

(3)  Noninterference.—In carrying out this section, the Commission shall not interfere with any standards development of adoption processes underway in the private or public sector and shall not replicate activities related to such standards or the national health information infrastructure underway within the Department of Health and Human Services.

(4)  Report.—Not later than October 31, 2005, the Commission shall submit to the Secretary and to Congress a report describing the strategy developed under paragraph (1), including an analysis of the matters considered under paragraph (2).

(c)  Membership.—

(1)  Number and appointment.—The Commission shall be composed of 11 members appointed as follows:

(A)  The President shall appoint three members, one of whom the President shall designate as Chairperson.

(B)  The Majority Leader of the Senate shall appoint two members.

(C)  The Minority Leader of the Senate shall appoint two members.

(D)  The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint two members.

(E)  The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives shall appoint two members.

(2)  Qualifications.—The membership of the Commission shall include individuals with national recognition for their expertise in health finance and economics, health plans and integrated delivery systems, reimbursement of health facilities, practicing physicians, practicing pharmacists, and other providers of health services, health care technology and information systems, and other related fields, who provide a mix of different professionals, broad geographic representation, and a balance between urban and rural representatives.

(d)  Terms.—Each member shall be appointed for the life of the Commission.

(e)  Compensation.—

(1)  Rates of pay.—Members shall each be paid at a rate not to exceed the daily equivalent of the rate of basic pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule for each day (including travel time) during which they are engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in the Commission.

(2)  Prohibition of compensation of federal employees.—Members of the Commission who are full-time officers or employees of the United States or Members of Congress may not receive additional pay, allowances, or benefits by reason of their service on the Commission.

(3)  Travel expenses.—Each member shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with applicable provisions under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code.

(f)  Quorum.—A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum but a lesser number may hold hearings.

(g)  Director and Staff of Commission; Experts and Consultants.—

(1)  Director.—The Commission shall have a Director who shall be appointed by the Chairperson. The Director shall be paid at a rate not to exceed the rate of basic pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule.

(2)  Staff.—With the approval of the Commission, the Director may appoint and fix the pay of such additional personnel as the Director considers appropriate.

(3)  Applicability of certain civil service laws.—The Director and staff of the Commission may be appointed without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and may be paid without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of that title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that an individual so appointed may not receive pay in excess of level IV of the Executive Schedule.

(4)  Experts and consultants.—With the approval of the Commission, the Director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.

(5)  Staff of federal agencies.—Upon request of the Chairperson, the head of any Federal department or agency may detail, on a reimbursable basis, any of the personnel of that department or agency to the Commission to assist it in carrying out its duties under this Act.

(h)  Powers of Commission.—

(1)  Hearings and sessions.—The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out this Act, hold hearings, sit and act at times and places, take testimony, and receive evidence as the Commission considers appropriate.

(2)  Powers of members and agents.—Any member or agent of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action which the Commission is authorized to take by this section.

(3)  Obtaining official data.—The Commission may secure directly from any department or agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out this Act. Upon request of the Chairperson of the Commission, the head of that department or agency shall furnish that information to the Commission.

(4)  Gifts, bequests, and devises.—The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts, bequests, or devises of services or property, both real and personal, for the purpose of aiding or facilitating the work of the Commission. Gifts, bequests, or devises of money and proceeds from sales of other property received as gifts, bequests, or devises shall be deposited in the Treasury and shall be available for disbursement upon order of the Commission. For purposes of Federal income, estate, and gift taxes, property accepted under this subsection shall be considered as a gift, bequest, or devise to the United States.

(5)  Mails.—The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States.

(6)  Administrative support services.—Upon the request of the Commission, the Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, the administrative support services necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities under this Act.

(7)  Contract authority.—The Commission may enter into contracts or make other arrangements, as may be necessary for the conduct of the work of the Commission (without regard to section 3709 of the Revised Statutes (41 U.S.C. 5)).

(i)  Termination.—The Commission shall terminate on 30 days after submitting its report pursuant to subsection (b)(3).

(j)  Authorization of Appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

SEC. 1013. [None Assigned]  RESEARCH ON OUTCOMES OF HEALTH CARE ITEMS AND SERVICES.

(a)  Research, Demonstrations, and Evaluations.—.

(1)  Improvement of effectiveness and efficiency.—

(A)  In general.—To improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of health care delivered pursuant to the programs established under titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq., 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.], the Secretary acting through the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (in this section referred to as the “Director”), shall conduct and support research to meet the priorities and requests for scientific evidence and information identified by such programs with respect to—

(i)  the outcomes, comparative clinical effectiveness, and appropriateness of health care items and services (including prescription drugs); and

(ii)  strategies for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of such programs, including the ways in which such items and services are organized, managed, and delivered under such programs.

(B)  Specification.—To respond to priorities and information requests in subparagraph (A), the Secretary may conduct or support, by grant, contract, or interagency agreement, research, demonstrations, evaluations, technology assessments, or other activities, including the provision of technical assistance, scientific expertise, or methodological assistance.

(2)  Priorities.—.

(A)  In general.—The Secretary shall establish a process to develop priorities that will guide the research, demonstrations, and evaluation activities undertaken pursuant to this section.

(B)  Initial list.—Not later than 6 months after December 8, 2003, the Secretary shall establish an initial list of priorities for research related to health care items and services (including prescription drugs).

(C)  Process.—In carrying out subparagraph (A), the Secretary—

(i)  shall ensure that there is broad and ongoing consultation with relevant stakeholders in identifying the highest priorities for research, demonstrations, and evaluations to support and improve the programs established under titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq., 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.];

(ii)  may include health care items and services which impose a high cost on such programs, as well as those which may be underutilized or overutilized and which may significantly improve the prevention, treatment, or cure of diseases and conditions (including chronic conditions) which impose high direct or indirect costs on patients or society; and

(iii)  shall ensure that the research and activities undertaken pursuant to this section are responsive to the specified priorities and are conducted in a timely manner.

(3)  Evaluation and synthesis of scientific evidence.—

(A)  In general.—The Secretary shall—

(i)  evaluate and synthesize available scientific evidence related to health care items and services (including prescription drugs) identified as priorities in accordance with paragraph (2) with respect to the comparative clinical effectiveness, outcomes, appropriateness, and provision of such items and services (including prescription drugs);

(ii)  identify issues for which existing scientific evidence is insufficient with respect to such health care items and services (including prescription drugs);

(iii)  disseminate to prescription drug plans and MA-PD plans under part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395w-101 et seq.], other health plans, and the public the findings made under clauses (i) and (ii); and

(iv)  work in voluntary collaboration with public and private sector entities to facilitate the development of new scientific knowledge regarding health care items and services (including prescription drugs).

(B)  Initial research.—The Secretary shall complete the evaluation and synthesis of the initial research required by the priority list developed under paragraph (2)(B) not later than 18 months after the development of such list.

(C)  Dissemination.—

(i)  In general.—To enhance patient safety and the quality of health care, the Secretary shall make available and disseminate in appropriate formats to prescription drugs plans under part D, and MA-PD plans under part C, of title XVIII of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395w-101 et seq., 1395w-21 et seq.], other health plans, and the public the evaluations and syntheses prepared pursuant to subparagraph (A) and the findings of research conducted pursuant to paragraph (1). In carrying out this clause the Secretary, in order to facilitate the availability of such evaluations and syntheses or findings at every decision point in the health care system, shall—

(I)  present such evaluations and syntheses or findings in a form that is easily understood by the individuals receiving health care items and services (including prescription drugs) under such plans and periodically assess that the requirements of this subclause have been met; and

(II)  provide such evaluations and syntheses or findings and other relevant information through easily accessible and searchable electronic mechanisms, and in hard copy formats as appropriate.

(ii)  Rule of construction.—Nothing in this section shall be construed as—

(I)  affecting the authority of the Secretary or the Commissioner of Food and Drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.] or the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. 201 et seq.]; or

(II)  conferring any authority referred to in subclause (I) to the Director.

(D)  Accountability.—In carrying out this paragraph, the Secretary shall implement activities in a manner that—

(i)  makes publicly available all scientific evidence relied upon and the methodologies employed, provided such evidence and method are not protected from public disclosure by section 1905 of title 18 or other applicable law so that the results of the research, analyses, or syntheses can be evaluated or replicated; and

(ii)  ensures that any information needs and unresolved issues identified in subparagraph (A)(ii) are taken into account in priority-setting for future research conducted by the Secretary.

(4)  Confidentiality.—

(A)  In general.—In making use of administrative, clinical, and program data and information developed or collected with respect to the programs established under titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq., 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.], for purposes of carrying out the requirements of this section or the activities authorized under title IX of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 299 et seq.), such data and information shall be protected in accordance with the confidentiality requirements of title IX of the Public Health Service Act.

(B)  Rule of construction.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to require or permit the disclosure of data provided to the Secretary that is otherwise protected from disclosure under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.], section 1905 of title 18, or other applicable law.

(5)  Evaluations.—The Secretary shall conduct and support evaluations of the activities carried out under this section to determine the extent to which such activities have had an effect on outcomes and utilization of health care items and services.

(6)  Improving information available to health care providers, patients, and policymakers.—Not later than 18 months after December 8, 2003, the Secretary shall identify options that could be undertaken in voluntary collaboration with private and public entities (as appropriate) for the—

(A)  provision of more timely information through the programs established under titles XVIII, XIX, and XXI of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq., 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.], regarding the outcomes and quality of patient care, including clinical and patient-reported outcomes, especially with respect to interventions and conditions for which clinical trials would not be feasible or raise ethical concerns that are difficult to address;

(B)  acceleration of the adoption of innovation and quality improvement under such programs; and

(C)  development of management tools for the programs established under titles XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq., 1397aa et seq.], and with respect to the programs established under such titles, assess the feasibility of using administrative or claims data, to—

(i)  improve oversight by State officials;

(ii)  support Federal and State initiatives to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of services provided under such programs; and

(iii)  provide a basis for estimating the fiscal and coverage impact of Federal or State program and policy changes.

(b)  Recommendations.—

(1)  Disclaimer.—In carrying out this section, the Director shall—

(A)  not mandate national standards of clinical practice or quality health care standards; and

(B)  include in any recommendations resulting from projects funded and published by the Director, a corresponding reference to the prohibition described in subparagraph (A).

(2)  Requirement for implementation.—Research, evaluation, and communication activities performed pursuant to this section shall reflect the principle that clinicians and patients should have the best available evidence upon which to make choices in health care items and services, in providers, and in health care delivery systems, recognizing that patient subpopulations and patient and physician preferences may vary.

(3)  Rule of construction.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to provide the Director with authority to mandate a national standard or require a specific approach to quality measurement and reporting.

(c)  Research with Respect to Dissemination.—The Secretary, acting through the Director, may conduct or support research with respect to improving methods of disseminating information in accordance with subsection (a)(3)(C) of this section.

(d)  Limitation on CMS.—The Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may not use data obtained in accordance with this section to withhold coverage of a prescription drug.

(e)  Authorization of Appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2004, and such sums as may be necessary for each fiscal year thereafter.

SEC. 1014. [42 U.S.C. 299 note]  WORKING GROUP.

(a)  Findings.—Congress finds the following:

(1)  In order to improve the health care system, the American public must engage in an informed national public debate to make choices about the services they want covered, what health care coverage they want, and how they are willing to pay for coverage.

(2)  More than a trillion dollars annually is spent on the health care system, yet—

(A)  41,000,000 Americans are uninsured;

(B)  insured individuals do not always have access to essential, effective services to improve and maintain their health; and

(C)  employers, who cover over 170,000,000 Americans, find providing coverage increasingly difficult because of rising costs and double digit premium increases.

(3)  Despite increases in medical care spending that are greater than the rate of inflation, population growth, and Gross Domestic Product growth, there has not been a commensurate improvement in our health status as a nation.

(4)  Health care costs for even just 1 member of a family can be catastrophic, resulting in medical bills potentially harming the economic stability of the entire family.

(5)  Common life occurrences can jeopardize the ability of a family to retain private coverage or jeopardize access to public coverage.

(6)  Innovations in health care access, coverage, and quality of care, including the use of technology, have often come from States, local communities, and private sector organizations, but more creative policies could tap this potential.

(7)  Despite our Nation’s wealth, the health care system does not provide coverage to all Americans who want it.

(b)  Purposes.—The purposes of this section are—

(1)  to provide for a nationwide public debate about improving the health care system to provide every American with the ability to obtain quality, affordable health care coverage; and

(2)  to provide for a vote by Congress on the recommendations that result from the debate.

(c)  Establishment.—The Secretary [of Health and Human Services], acting through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, shall establish an entity to be known as the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group (referred to in this section as the “Working Group”).

(d)  Membership.—

(1)  Number and appointment.—The Working Group shall be composed of 15 members. One member shall be the Secretary. The Comptroller General of the United States shall appoint 14 members.

(2)  Qualifications.—

(A)  In general.—The membership of the Working Group shall include—

(i)  consumers of health services that represent those individuals who have not had insurance within 2 years of appointment, that have had chronic illnesses, including mental illness, are disabled, and those who receive insurance coverage through medicare and medicaid; and

(ii)  individuals with expertise in financing and paying for benefits and access to care, business and labor perspectives, and providers of health care. The membership shall reflect a broad geographic representation and a balance between urban and rural representatives.

(B)  Prohibited appointments.—Members of the Working Group shall not include Members of Congress or other elected government officials (Federal, State, or local). Individuals appointed to the Working Group shall not be paid employees or representatives of associations or advocacy organizations involved in the health care system.

(e)  Period of Appointment.—Members of the Working Group shall be appointed for a [sic] life of the Working Group. Any vacancies shall not affect the power and duties of the Working Group but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(f)  Designation of the Chairperson.—Not later than 15 days after the date on which all members of the Working Group have been appointed under subsection (d)(1), the Comptroller General shall designate the chairperson of the Working Group.

(g)  Subcommittees.—The Working Group may establish subcommittees if doing so increases the efficiency of the Working Group in completing its tasks.

(h)  Duties.—

(1)  Hearings.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the designation of the chairperson under subsection (f), the Working Group shall hold hearings to examine—

(A)  the capacity of the public and private health care systems to expand coverage options;

(B)  the cost of health care and the effectiveness of care provided at all stages of disease;

(C)  innovative State strategies used to expand health care coverage and lower health care costs;

(D)  local community solutions to accessing health care coverage;

(E)  efforts to enroll individuals currently eligible for public or private health care coverage;

(F)  the role of evidence-based medical practices that can be documented as restoring, maintaining, or improving a patient’s health, and the use of technology in supporting providers in improving quality of care and lowering costs; and

(G)  strategies to assist purchasers of health care, including consumers, to become more aware of the impact of costs, and to lower the costs of health care.

(2)  Additional hearings.—The Working Group may hold additional hearings on subjects other than those listed in paragraph (1) so long as such hearings are determined to be necessary by the Working Group in carrying out the purposes of this section. Such additional hearings do not have to be completed within the time period specified in paragraph (1) but shall not delay theother activities of the Working Group under this section.

(3)  The health report to the american people.—Not later than 90 days after the hearings described in paragraphs (1) and (2) are completed, the Working Group shall prepare and make available to health care consumers through the Internet and other appropriate public channels, a report to be entitled, “The Health Report to the American People”. Such report shall be understandable to the general public and include—

(A)  a summary of—

(i)  health care and related services that may be used by individuals throughout their life span;

(ii)  the cost of health care services and their medical effectiveness in providing better quality of care for different age groups;

(iii)  the source of coverage and payment, including reimbursement, for health care services;

(iv)  the reasons people are uninsured or underinsured and the cost to taxpayers, purchasers of health services, and communities when Americans are uninsured or underinsured;

(v)  the impact on health care outcomes and costs when individuals are treated in all stages of disease;

(vi)  health care cost containment strategies; and

(vii)  information on health care needs that need to be addressed;

(B)  examples of community strategies to provide health care coverage or access;

(C)  information on geographic-specific issues relating to health care;

(D)  information concerning the cost of care in different settings, including institutional-based care and home and community-based care;

(E)  a summary of ways to finance health care coverage; and

(F)  the role of technology in providing future health care including ways to support the information needs of patients and providers.

(4)  Community meetings.—

(A)  In general.—Not later than 1 year after the date on which all the members of the Working Group have been appointed under subsection (d)(1) and appropriations are first made available to carry out this section, the Working Group shall initiate health care community meetings throughout the United States (in this paragraph referred to as “community meetings”). Such community meetings may be geographically or regionally based and shall be completed within 180 days after the initiation of the first meeting.

(B)  Number of meetings.—The Working Group shall hold a sufficient number of community meetings in order to receive information that reflects—

(i)  the geographic differences throughout the United States;

(ii)  diverse populations; and

(iii)  a balance among urban and rural populations.

(C)  Meeting requirements.—

(i)  Facilitator.—A State health officer may be the facilitator at the community meetings.

(ii)  Attendance.—At least 1 member of the Working Group shall attend and serve as chair of each community meeting. Other members may participate through interactive technology.

(iii)  Topics.—The community meetings shall, at a minimum, address the following questions:

(I)  What health care benefits and services should be provided?

(II)  How does the American public want health care delivered?

(III)  How should health care coverage be financed?

(IV)  What trade-offs are the American public willing to make in either benefits or financing to ensure access to affordable, high quality health care coverage and services?

(iv)  Interactive technology.—The Working Group may encourage public participation in community meetings through interactive technology and other means as determined appropriate by the Working Group.

(D)  Interim requirements.—Not later than 180 days after the date of completion of the community meetings, the Working Group shall prepare and make available to the public through the Internet and other appropriate public channels, an interim set of recommendations on health care coverage and ways to improve and strengthen the health care system based on the information and preferences expressed at the community meetings. There shall be a 90-day public comment period on such recommendations.

(i)  Recommendations.—Not later than 120 days after the expiration of the public comment period described in subsection (h)(4)(D), the Working Group shall submit to Congress and the President a final set of recommendations.

(j)  Administration.—

(1)  Executive director.—There shall be an Executive Director of the Working Group who shall be appointed by the chairperson of the Working Group in consultation with the members of the Working Group.

(2)  Compensation.—While serving on the business of the Working Group (including travel time), a member of the Working Group shall be entitled to compensation at the per diem equivalent of the rate provided for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, and while so serving away from home and the member’s regular place of business, a member may be allowed travel expenses, as authorized by the chairperson of the Working Group. For purposes of pay and employment benefits, rights, and privileges, all personnel of the Working Group shall be treated as if they were employees of the Senate.

(3)  Information from federal agencies.—The Working Group may secure directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the Working Group considers necessary to carry out this section. Upon request of the Working Group, the head of such department or agency shall furnish such information.

(4)  Postal services.—The Working Group may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

(k)  Detail.—Not more than 10 Federal Government employees employed by the Department of Labor and 10 Federal Government employees employed by the Department of Health and Human Services may be detailed to the Working Group under this section without further reimbursement. Any detail of an employee shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.

(l)  Temporary and Intermittent Services.—The chairperson of the Working Group may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals which do not exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

(m)  Annual Report.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act [Dec. 8, 2003], and annually thereafter during the existence of the Working Group, the Working Group shall report to Congress and make public a detailed description of the expenditures of the Working Group used to carry out its duties under this section.

(n)  Sunset of Working Group.—The Working Group shall terminate on the date that is 2 years after the date on which all the members of the Working Group have been appointed under subsection (d)(1) and appropriations are first made available to carry out this section.

(o)  Administration Review and Comments.—Not later than 45 days after receiving the final recommendations of the Working Group under subsection (i), the President shall submit a report to Congress which shall contain—

(1)  additional views and comments on such recommendations; and

(2)  recommendations for such legislation and administrative actions as the President considers appropriate.

(p)  Required Congressional Action.—Not later than 45 days after receiving the report submitted by the President under subsection (o), each committee of jurisdiction of Congress, the Committee on Finance of the Senate, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, [and the] Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives, shall hold at least 1 hearing on such report and on the final recommendations of the Working Group submitted under subsection (i).

(q)  Authorization of Appropriations.—

(1)  In general.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section, other than subsection (h)(3), $3,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2005 and 2006.

(2)  Health report to the american people.—There are authorized to be appropriated for the preparation and dissemination of the Health Report to the American People described in subsection (h)(3), such sums as may be necessary for the fiscal year in which the report is required to be submitted.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

[Internal References.—SSAct §§1881(b) cites §623(c) of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. SSAct Title XVIII, Title XVIII Part D, Subpart 4 and §§1806, 1807, 1833, 1848, 1860D-11, 1862, 1864, 1867, 1874A, 1879, 1881, 1886, 1889, and 1893 headings, §§1834(l), 1860D-4(e), 1861(dd), 1874A(b), and 1877(h) have footnotes referring to P.L. 108-173.]