The commissioner of health shall establish a 15-member Rural Health Advisory Committee. The committee shall consist of the following members, all of whom must reside outside the seven-county metropolitan area, as defined in section 473.121, subdivision 2:
(1) two members from the house of representatives of the state of Minnesota, one from the majority party and one from the minority party;
(2) two members from the senate of the state of Minnesota, one from the majority party and one from the minority party;
(3) a volunteer member of an ambulance service based outside the seven-county metropolitan area;
(4) a representative of a hospital located outside the seven-county metropolitan area;
(5) a representative of a nursing home located outside the seven-county metropolitan area;
(6) a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine licensed under chapter 147;
(7) a midlevel practitioner;
(8) a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse;
(9) a licensed health care professional from an occupation not otherwise represented on the committee;
(10) a representative of an institution of higher education located outside the seven-county metropolitan area that provides training for rural health care providers; and
(11) three consumers, at least one of whom must be an advocate for persons who are mentally ill or developmentally disabled.
The commissioner will make recommendations for committee membership. Committee members will be appointed by the governor. In making appointments, the governor shall ensure that appointments provide geographic balance among those areas of the state outside the seven-county metropolitan area. The chair of the committee shall be elected by the members. The advisory committee is governed by section 15.059, except that the members do not receive per diem compensation.
The advisory committee shall:
(1) advise the commissioner and other state agencies on rural health issues;
(2) provide a systematic and cohesive approach toward rural health issues and rural health care planning, at both a local and statewide level;
(3) develop and evaluate mechanisms to encourage greater cooperation among rural communities and among providers;
(4) recommend and evaluate approaches to rural health issues that are sensitive to the needs of local communities; and
(5) develop methods for identifying individuals who are underserved by the rural health care system.
The commissioner shall provide the advisory committee with staff support, office space, and access to office equipment and services.