(a) For the 27-month period beginning October 1, 2015, through December 31, 2017, the commissioner shall allow a scholarship per diem of up to 25 cents for each nursing facility with no scholarship per diem that is requesting a scholarship per diem to be added to the external fixed payment rate to be used:
(1) for employee scholarships that satisfy the following requirements:
(i) scholarships are available to all employees who work an average of at least ten hours per week at the facility except the administrator, and to reimburse student loan expenses for newly hired registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, and training expenses for nursing assistants as specified in section 144A.611, subdivisions 2 and 4, who are newly hired; and
(ii) the course of study is expected to lead to career advancement with the facility or in long-term care, including medical care interpreter services and social work; and
(2) to provide job-related training in English as a second language.
(b) All facilities may annually request a rate adjustment under this section by submitting information to the commissioner on a schedule and in a form supplied by the commissioner. The commissioner shall allow a scholarship payment rate equal to the reported and allowable costs divided by resident days.
(c) In calculating the per diem under paragraph (b), the commissioner shall allow costs related to tuition, direct educational expenses, and reasonable costs as defined by the commissioner for child care costs and transportation expenses related to direct educational expenses.
(d) The rate increase under this section is an optional rate add-on that the facility must request from the commissioner in a manner prescribed by the commissioner. The rate increase must be used for scholarships as specified in this section.
(e) For instances in which a rate adjustment will be 15 cents or greater, nursing facilities that close beds during a rate year may request to have their scholarship adjustment under paragraph (b) recalculated by the commissioner for the remainder of the rate year to reflect the reduction in resident days compared to the cost report year.