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144.148 Rural hospital capital improvement grant and loan program.

Subdivision 1. Definition. (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply.

(b) "Eligible rural hospital" means a hospital that:

(1) is located outside the seven-county metropolitan area;

(2) has 50 or fewer licensed hospital beds with a net hospital operating margin not greater than two percent in the two fiscal years prior to application; and

(3) is 25 miles or more from another hospital.

(c) "Eligible project" means a modernization project to update, remodel, or replace aging hospital facilities and equipment necessary to maintain the operations of a hospital.

Subd. 2. Program. The commissioner of health shall award rural hospital capital improvement grants or loans to eligible rural hospitals. A grant or loan shall not exceed $1,500,000 per hospital. Grants or loans shall be interest free. An eligible rural hospital may apply the funds retroactively to capital improvements made during the two fiscal years preceding the fiscal year in which the grant or loan was received, provided the hospital met the eligibility criteria during that time period.

Subd. 3. Applications. Eligible hospitals seeking a grant or loan shall apply to the commissioner. Applications must include a description of the problem that the proposed project will address, a description of the project including construction and remodeling drawings or specifications, sources of funds for the project, uses of funds for the project, the results expected, and a plan to maintain or operate any facility or equipment included in the project. The applicant must describe achievable objectives, a timetable, and roles and capabilities of responsible individuals and organization. Applicants must submit to the commissioner evidence that competitive bidding was used to select contractors for the project.

Subd. 4. Consideration of applications. The commissioner shall review each application to determine whether or not the hospital's application is complete and whether the hospital and the project are eligible for a grant or loan. In evaluating applications, the commissioner shall score each application on a 100 point scale, assigning: a maximum of 40 points for an applicant's clarity and thoroughness in describing the problem and the project; a maximum of 40 points for the extent to which the applicant has demonstrated that it has made adequate provisions to assure proper and efficient operation of the facility once the project is completed; and a maximum of 20 points for the extent to which the proposed project is consistent with the hospital's capital improvement plan or strategic plan. The commissioner may also take into account other relevant factors. During application review, the commissioner may request additional information about a proposed project, including information on project cost. Failure to provide the information requested disqualifies a loan applicant.

Subd. 5. Program oversight. The commissioner of health shall review audited financial information of the hospital to assess eligibility. The commissioner shall determine the amount of a grant or loan to be given to an eligible rural hospital based on the relative score of each eligible hospital's application and the funds available to the commissioner. The grant or loan shall be used to update, remodel, or replace aging facilities and equipment necessary to maintain the operations of the hospital.

Subd. 6. Loan payment. Loans shall be repaid as provided in this subdivision over a period of 15 years. In those years when an eligible rural hospital experiences a positive net operating margin in excess of two percent, the eligible rural hospital shall pay to the state one-half of the excess above two percent, up to the yearly payment amount based upon a loan period of 15 years. If the amount paid back in any year is less than the yearly payment amount, or if no payment is required because the eligible rural hospital does not experience a positive net operating margin in excess of two percent, the amount unpaid for that year shall be forgiven by the state without any financial penalty. As a condition of receiving an award through this program, eligible hospitals must agree to any and all collection activities the commissioner finds necessary to collect loan payments in those years a payment is due.

Subd. 7. Accounting treatment. The commissioner of finance shall record as grants in the state accounting system funds obligated by this section. Loan payments received under this section shall be deposited in the health care access fund.

Subd. 8. Expiration. This section expires June 30, 1999.

HIST: 1997 c 225 art 2 s 53

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Revisor of Statutes