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H.R. 1304 (rh) To ensure and foster continued patient safety and quality of care by [Reported in House] ...
106th CONGRESS 2d Session H. R. 1304 _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES June 30, 2000 Received July 27, 2000 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To ensure and foster continued patient safety and quality of care by making the antitrust laws apply to negotiations between groups of health care professionals and health plans and health insurance issuers in the same manner as such laws apply to collective bargaining by labor organizations under the National Labor Relations Act. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Quality Health-Care Coalition Act of 2000''. SEC. 2. APPLICATION OF THE ANTITRUST LAWS TO HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS NEGOTIATING WITH HEALTH PLANS. (a) In General.--Any health care professionals who are engaged in negotiations with a health plan regarding the terms of any contract under which the professionals provide health care items or services for which benefits are provided under such plan shall, in connection with such negotiations, be entitled to the same treatment under the antitrust laws as the treatment to which bargaining units which are recognized under the National Labor Relations Act are entitled in connection with such collective bargaining. Such a professional shall, only in connection with such negotiations, be treated as an employee engaged in concerted activities and shall not be regarded as having the status of an employer, independent contractor, managerial employee, or supervisor. (b) Protection for Good Faith Actions.--Actions taken in good faith reliance on subsection (a) shall not be the subject under the antitrust laws of criminal sanctions nor of any civil damages, fees, or penalties beyond actual damages incurred. (c) Limitation.-- (1) No new right for collective cessation of service.--The exemption provided in subsection (a) shall not confer any new right to participate in any collective cessation of service to patients not already permitted by existing law. (2) No change in national labor relations act.-- This section applies only to health care professionals excluded from the National Labor Relations Act. Nothing in this section shall be construed as changing or amending any provision of the National Labor Relations Act, or as affecting the status of any group of persons under that Act. (d) 3-Year Sunset.--The exemption provided in subsection (a) shall only apply to conduct occurring during the 3-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and shall continue to apply for 1 year after the end of such period to contracts entered into before the end of such period. (e) Limitation on Exemption.--Nothing in this section shall exempt from the application of the antitrust laws any agreement or otherwise unlawful conspiracy that excludes, limits the participation or reimbursement of, or otherwise limits the scope of services to be provided by any health care professional or group of health care professionals with respect to the performance of services that are within their scope of practice as defined or permitted by relevant law or regulation. (f) No Effect on Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the application of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (g) No Application to Federal Programs.--Nothing in this section shall apply to negotiations between health care professionals and health plans pertaining to benefits provided under any of the following: (1) The Medicare Program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.). (2) The Medicaid Program under title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.). (3) The SCHIP program under title XXI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1397aa et seq.). (4) Chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code (relating to medical and dental care for members of the uniformed services). (5) Chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code (relating to Veterans' medical care). (6) Chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code (relating to the Federal employees' health benefits program). (7) The Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.). (h) Exemption of Abortion and Abortion Services.--Nothing in this section shall apply to negotiations specifically relating to requiring a health plan to cover abortion or abortion services. (i) General Accounting Office Study and Report.--The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study on the impact of enactment of this section during the 6-month period beginning with the third year of the 3-year period described in subsection (d). Not later than the end of such 6-month period the Comptroller General shall submit to Congress a report on such study and shall include in the report such recommendations on the extension of this section (and changes that should be made in making such extension) as the Comptroller General deems appropriate. (j) Definitions.--For purposes of this section: (1) Antitrust laws.--The term ``antitrust laws''-- (A) has the meaning given it in subsection (a) of the first section of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12(a)), except that such term includes section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to the extent such section 5 applies to unfair methods of competition; and (B) includes any State law similar to the laws referred to in subparagraph (A). (2) Health plan and related terms.-- (A) In general.--The term ``health plan'' means a group health plan or a health insurance issuer that is offering health insurance coverage. (B) Health insurance coverage; health insurance issuer.--The terms ``health insurance coverage'' and ``health insurance issuer'' have the meanings given such terms under paragraphs (1) and (2), respectively, of section 733(b) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1191b(b)). (C) Group health plan.--The term ``group health plan'' has the meaning given that term in section 733(a)(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1191b(a)(1)). (3) Health care professional.--The term ``health care professional'' means an individual who provides health care items or services, treatment, assistance with activities of daily living, or medications to patients and who, to the extent required by State or Federal law, possesses specialized training that confers expertise in the provision of such items or services, treatment, assistance, or medications. (k) Sense of the Congress.--It is the sense of the Congress that decisions regarding medical care and treatment should be made by the physician or health care professional in consultation with the patient. Passed the House of Representatives June 30 (legislative day, June 29), 2000. Attest: JEFF TRANDAHL, Clerk.
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