1st Engrossment - 82nd Legislature (2001 - 2002) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am
|Introduction||Posted on 03/21/2001|
|1st Engrossment||Posted on 04/02/2001|
1.1 A bill for an act 1.2 relating to rural health; establishing a loan 1.3 forgiveness program for health professionals 1.4 practicing in rural hospitals or rural nursing homes; 1.5 appropriating money; proposing coding for new law in 1.6 Minnesota Statutes, chapter 144. 1.7 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 1.8 Section 1. [144.1499] [HEALTH PROFESSIONALS IN RURAL 1.9 HOSPITALS AND RURAL NURSING HOMES.] 1.10 Subdivision 1. [DEFINITIONS.] For purposes of this 1.11 section, the following definitions apply. 1.12 (a) "Clinical laboratory technician" means a person who is 1.13 not a medical laboratory director, clinical laboratory 1.14 technologist, or trainee; functions under the supervision of a 1.15 medical laboratory director or clinical laboratory technologist; 1.16 performs diagnostic and analytical laboratory tests in only 1.17 those specialties and subspecialties in which the person is 1.18 qualified by education, training, and experience; and has 1.19 demonstrated ongoing competency by certification or other 1.20 means. A clinical laboratory technician may also be called a 1.21 medical technician. 1.22 (b) "Designated rural area" means: 1.23 (1) an area in Minnesota outside the counties of Anoka, 1.24 Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington, 1.25 excluding the cities of Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester, 1.26 and St. Cloud; or 2.1 (2) a municipal corporation, as defined by section 471.634, 2.2 that is physically located, in whole or in part, in an area that 2.3 meets the criteria in clause (1). 2.4 (c) "Health professional" means a physician assistant 2.5 registered under chapter 147A; a registered nurse, licensed 2.6 practical nurse, or nurse practitioner licensed under sections 2.7 148.171 to 148.285; a pharmacist licensed under sections 151.01 2.8 to 151.40; or a clinical laboratory technician. 2.9 (d) "Qualified loans" means government, commercial, and 2.10 foundation loans for actual costs paid for tuition, reasonable 2.11 education expenses, and reasonable living expenses related to 2.12 the graduate or undergraduate education of a health professional. 2.13 (e) "Rural hospital" means a nonfederal, general acute care 2.14 hospital that is located in a designated rural area; has 50 or 2.15 fewer beds; and is not for profit. 2.16 (f) "Rural nursing home" means a nonfederal facility 2.17 licensed under section 144A.02 that is located in a designated 2.18 rural area and that has fewer than 75 beds. 2.19 Subd. 2. [CREATION OF ACCOUNT.] A rural hospital and 2.20 nursing home health professional loan forgiveness account is 2.21 established in the general fund. The commissioner of health 2.22 shall use money from the account to establish a loan forgiveness 2.23 program for health professionals who agree to practice in a 2.24 rural hospital or rural nursing home. The account consists of 2.25 money appropriated by the legislature and repayments and 2.26 penalties collected under subdivision 5. Money from the account 2.27 must be used for the loan forgiveness program. 2.28 Subd. 3. [ELIGIBILITY.] To be eligible to participate in 2.29 the program, a person enrolled in a program of study designed to 2.30 prepare the person to become a physician assistant, registered 2.31 nurse, licensed practical nurse, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, 2.32 or clinical laboratory technician must submit an application to 2.33 the commissioner of health before completion of the education 2.34 program. For fiscal year 2002, applicants may have graduated 2.35 from an education program in calendar year 2001. A student who 2.36 is selected to participate in the loan forgiveness program must 3.1 sign a contract to agree to serve a minimum two-year service 3.2 obligation in a rural hospital or rural nursing home. The 3.3 service obligation shall begin no later than March 31 of the 3.4 first year following completion of the education program. 3.5 Subd. 4. [LOAN FORGIVENESS.] (a) The commissioner of 3.6 health may accept up to 50 applicants per year for participation 3.7 in the loan forgiveness program. Applicants are responsible for 3.8 securing their own loans. The commissioner shall select 3.9 participants based on their suitability for rural practice, as 3.10 indicated by rural experience or training. The commissioner 3.11 shall give preference to applicants who are attending a 3.12 Minnesota educational program and to those applicants closest to 3.13 completing their training. For each year that a participant 3.14 serves as a physician assistant, nurse, pharmacist, or clinical 3.15 laboratory technician in a rural hospital or rural nursing home, 3.16 up to a maximum of five years, the commissioner shall annually 3.17 repay the participant an amount determined by the following 3.18 schedule for each year of service, not to exceed $15,000 or the 3.19 balance of the qualified loans, whichever is less: 3.20 (1) for the first year of service, $2,000; 3.21 (2) for the second year of service, $2,500; 3.22 (3) for the third year of service, $3,000; 3.23 (4) for the fourth year of service, $3,500; and 3.24 (5) for the fifth year of service, $4,000. 3.25 (b) Before loan repayment is made, the participant must 3.26 complete and return to the commissioner an affidavit of practice 3.27 form verifying that the participant is practicing as required 3.28 under this section. The participant must verify that the full 3.29 amount of loan repayment under this section was applied toward 3.30 the qualified loan, in order to receive additional loan 3.31 repayments. Participants who move their practice from one rural 3.32 hospital or rural nursing home to another remain eligible for 3.33 loan repayment. 3.34 Subd. 5. [PENALTY FOR NONFULFILLMENT.] If a participant 3.35 does not fulfill the service commitment required under 3.36 subdivision 3, the commissioner of health shall collect from the 4.1 participant 50 percent of any payments made for qualified loans. 4.2 The commissioner shall deposit the money collected in the rural 4.3 hospital and nursing home health professional loan forgiveness 4.4 account established in subdivision 2. 4.5 Subd. 6. [WAIVER OF OBLIGATION.] Payment or service 4.6 obligations cancel in the event of a participant's death. The 4.7 commissioner of health may waive or suspend payment or service 4.8 obligations if a participant becomes permanently disabled or is 4.9 temporarily disabled for more than two years. The commissioner 4.10 may grant a waiver of all or part of the money owed as a result 4.11 of a nonfulfillment penalty if emergency circumstances prevented 4.12 fulfillment of the required service commitment. 4.13 Sec. 2. [APPROPRIATION.] 4.14 $....... is appropriated from the general fund to the 4.15 commissioner of health for the biennium ending June 30, 2003, to 4.16 fund the health professional loan forgiveness program under 4.17 Minnesota Statutes, section 144.1499.