(a) 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, 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;
(5) a sole community hospital. For these rural hospitals, the essential community provider designation applies to all health services provided, including both inpatient and outpatient services. For purposes of this section, "sole community hospital" means a rural hospital that:
(i) is eligible to be classified as a sole community hospital according to Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, section 412.92, or is located in a community with a population of less than 5,000 and located more than 25 miles from a like hospital currently providing acute short-term services;
(ii) has experienced net operating income losses in two of the previous three most recent consecutive hospital fiscal years for which audited financial information is available; and
(iii) consists of 40 or fewer licensed beds; or
(6) a birth center licensed under section 144.615.
(b) 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.
(c) 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.
(d) For the purpose of this subdivision, supportive and stabilizing services include at a minimum, transportation, child care, cultural, and linguistic services where appropriate.
(a) Any provider may apply to the commissioner for designation as an essential community provider by submitting an application form developed by the commissioner.
(b) Each application submitted must be accompanied by an application fee of $60. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The designation as an essential community provider shall be valid for a five-year period from the date of designation. Every five years after the designation or renewal of the designation of essential community provider is granted to a provider, the commissioner shall review the need for and appropriateness of continuing the designation for that provider. The commissioner may require a provider whose designation is to be reviewed to submit an application to the commissioner for renewal of the designation and may require an application fee of $60 to be submitted with the application to cover the administrative costs of processing the application. Based on that review, the commissioner may renew a provider's essential community provider designation for an additional five-year period or terminate the designation. Once the designation terminates, the former essential community provider has no rights or privileges beyond those of any other health care provider.
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.