62Q.19 Essential community providers.
Subdivision 1. Designation. The commissioner shall designate essential community providers. The criteria for essential community provider designation shall be the following:
(1) a demonstrated ability to integrate applicable supportive and stabilizing services with medical care for uninsured persons and high-risk and special needs populations as defined in section 62Q.07, subdivision 2, paragraph (e), underserved, and other special needs populations; and
(2) a commitment to serve low-income and underserved populations by meeting the following requirements:
(i) has nonprofit status in accordance with chapter 317A;
(ii) has tax exempt status in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service Code, section 501(c)(3);
(iii) charges for services on a sliding fee schedule based on current poverty income guidelines; and
(iv) does not restrict access or services because of a client's financial limitation;
(3) status as a local government unit as defined in section 62D.02, subdivision 11, a hospital district created or reorganized under sections 447.31 to 447.37, an Indian tribal government, an Indian health service unit, or a community health board as defined in chapter 145A;
(4) a former state hospital that specializes in the treatment of cerebral palsy, spina bifida, epilepsy, closed head injuries, specialized orthopedic problems, and other disabling conditions; or
(5) a rural hospital that has qualified for a sole community hospital financial assistance grant in the past three years under section 144.1484, subdivision 1. For these rural hospitals, the essential community provider designation applies to all health services provided, including both inpatient and outpatient services.
Prior to designation, the commissioner shall publish the names of all applicants in the State Register. The public shall have 30 days from the date of publication to submit written comments to the commissioner on the application. No designation shall be made by the commissioner until the 30-day period has expired.
The commissioner may designate an eligible provider as an essential community provider for all the services offered by that provider or for specific services designated by the commissioner.
For the purpose of this subdivision, supportive and stabilizing services include at a minimum, transportation, child care, cultural, and linguistic services where appropriate.
Subd. 2. Application. (a) Any provider may apply to the commissioner for designation as an essential community provider by submitting an application form developed by the commissioner. Applications must be accepted within two years after the effective date of the rules adopted by the commissioner to implement this section.
(b) Each application submitted must be accompanied by an application fee in an amount determined by the commissioner. The fee shall be no more than what is needed to cover the administrative costs of processing the application.
(c) The name, address, contact person, and the date by which the commissioner's decision is expected to be made shall be classified as public data under section 13.41. All other information contained in the application form shall be classified as private data under section 13.41 until the application has been approved, approved as modified, or denied by the commissioner. Once the decision has been made, all information shall be classified as public data unless the applicant designates and the commissioner determines that the information contains trade secret information.
Subd. 2a. Definition of health plan company. For purposes of this section, "health plan company" does not include a health plan company as defined in section 62Q.01 with fewer than 50,000 enrollees, all of whose enrollees are covered under medical assistance, general assistance medical care, or MinnesotaCare.
Subd. 3. Health plan company affiliation. A health plan company must offer a provider contract to any designated essential community provider located within the area served by the health plan company. A health plan company shall not restrict enrollee access to services designated to be provided by the essential community provider for the population that the essential community provider is certified to serve. A health plan company may also make other providers available for these services. A health plan company may require an essential community provider to meet all data requirements, utilization review, and quality assurance requirements on the same basis as other health plan providers.
Subd. 4. Essential community provider responsibilities. Essential community providers must agree to serve enrollees of all health plan companies operating in the area in which the essential community provider is located.
Subd. 5. Contract payment rates. An essential community provider and a health plan company may negotiate the payment rate for covered services provided by the essential community provider. This rate must be at least the same rate per unit of service as is paid to other health plan providers for the same or similar services.
Subd. 5a. Cooperation. Each health plan company and essential community provider shall cooperate to facilitate the use of the essential community provider by the high risk and special needs populations. This includes cooperation on the submission and processing of claims, sharing of all pertinent records and data, including performance indicators and specific outcomes data, and the use of all dispute resolution methods.
Subd. 5b. Enforcement. For any violation of this section or any rule applicable to an essential community provider, the commissioner may suspend, modify, or revoke an essential community provider designation. The commissioner may also use the enforcement authority specified in section 62D.17.
Subd. 6. Termination. The designation as an essential community provider terminates five years after it is granted, or when universal coverage as defined under section 62Q.165 is achieved, whichever is later. Once the designation terminates, the former essential community provider has no rights or privileges beyond those of any other health care provider. The commissioner shall make a recommendation to the legislature on whether an essential community provider designation should be longer than five years.
Subd. 7. Rulemaking. By January 1, 1996, the commissioner shall adopt rules for establishing essential community providers and for governing their relationship with health plan companies. The commissioner shall also identify and address any conflict of interest issues regarding essential community provider designation for local governments. The rules shall require health plan companies to comply with all provisions of section 62Q.14 with respect to enrollee use of essential community providers.
* NOTE: The amendment to subdivision 5a by Laws 1999, *chapter 239, section 33, is effective April 1, 2000, and applies *to contracts issued or renewed on or after that date. Upon *request, the commissioner of health or commerce shall grant an *extension of up to three months to any health plan company or *utilization review organization that is unable to comply with *Laws 1999, chapter 239, sections 1, 3 to 42, and 43, paragraphs *(a) and (c) by April 1, 2000, due to circumstances beyond the *control of the health plan company or utilization review *organization. Laws 1999, chapter 239, section 44.