New regs for Tuesday: Protecting rural calls

New regulations and proposals will come out in Tuesday’s edition of the Federal Register to protect rural residents’ phone calls and change the way the government evaluates some people with cancer and traumatic brain injury.

Here’s a peek into what’s on the way:

Phone calls:

The Federal Communications Commission is issuing a rule that would increase its ability to monitor problems with phone calls in rural areas.

The FCC says that the new rule is necessary to “help ensure that long-distance calls to all Americans, including rural Americans, are completed.”

The rates of completion for long-distance calls to rural areas are “frequently poor,” the commission said, meaning that calls are sometimes dropped, never go through or are delayed. 

“These failures have significant and immediate public interest ramifications, causing rural businesses to lose customers, cutting families off from their relatives in rural areas, and creating potential for dangerous delays in public safety communications in rural areas,” the FCC said.

Additionally, the FCC is also asking the public to comment on additional measures to ensure a “reasonable and nondiscriminatory level of service” for calls to rural areas.

Drugs:

The Food and Drug Administration wants to amend its rules for antiseptic drugs used with water. 

The agency’s draft regulations include new safety information in light of “more recent scientific developments and changes in the use patterns of these products” since the rules were first written in 1994.

Social Security:

The Social Security Administration is trying to change the criteria for evaluating cancer.

“These proposed revisions reflect our adjudicative experience, advances in medical knowledge, and recommendations from medical experts we consulted, as well as public comments we received on methods of evaluating cancer,” it said. 

Transportation:

The Department of Transportation is eliminating a reporting requirement for some commercial truckers and bus drivers. 

The department is also asking for the public to weigh in on how its regulations affect small businesses

Veterans:

The Department of Veterans Affairs is finalizing a rule to extend coverage for veterans with traumatic brain injury who also have one of five other illnesses.

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