1999 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Bean, Simmons, Posey, Dearing, Smith, Walls, Horhn, Harden, Furniss, Frazier, Stogner, Harvey, Jordan (24th), Carlton, Woodfield, Jackson, Thames
Senate Bill 2500
(As Passed the Senate)
AN ACT TO CREATE THE MISSISSIPPI QUALIFIED HEALTH CENTER GRANT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE SERVICE GRANTS TO MISSISSIPPI QUALIFIED HEALTH CENTERS; TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH PROGRAM SHALL BE ADMINISTERED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; TO PRESCRIBE THE PROCEDURE TO APPLY FOR SERVICE GRANTS; TO PROVIDE THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH SUCH GRANTS MAY BE USED; TO ESTABLISH AN ADVISORY PANEL TO REVIEW AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE AWARDING OF SERVICE GRANTS; TO CREATE A SPECIAL FUND TO BE KNOWN AS THE MISSISSIPPI QUALIFIED HEALTH CENTER GRANT PROGRAM INTO WHICH ALL MONEY RECEIVED FROM LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATION PURSUANT TO THIS ACT SHALL BE DEPOSITED; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. For purposes of this act:
(a) "Mississippi qualified health center" means a public or nonprofit entity which provides comprehensive primary care services that:
(i) Has a community board of directors, the majority of whom are users of such centers;
(ii) Accepts all patients that present themselves despite their ability to pay and uses a sliding-fee-schedule for payments; and
(iii) Serves a designated medically underserved area or population, as provided in Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act.
(b) "Uninsured or medically indigent patient" means a patient receiving services from a Mississippi qualified health center who is not eligible for Medicaid, Medicare or any other type of governmental reimbursement for health care costs or receiving third-party payments via an employer.
(c) "SDOH" means the Mississippi State Department of Health.
(d) "Primary care" means the basic entry level of health care provided by health care practitioners or non-physician health care practitioners, which is generally provided in an outpatient setting.
(e) "Medically underserved area or population" means an area designated by the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services as an area with a shortage of professionals, health services or a population group designated by the secretary as having a shortage of such services.
(f) "Service grant" means a grant by the SDOH to a Mississippi qualified health center in accordance with this act.
(g) "Program" means the Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program established in this act.
SECTION 2. The Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program is hereby established, under the direction and administration of the SDOH, for the purpose of making service grants to Mississippi qualified health centers for their use in providing care to uninsured or medically indigent patients in Mississippi. The Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program shall be established with such state funds as may be appropriated by the Legislature.
SECTION 3. (1) Any Mississippi qualified health center desiring to participate in the program shall make application for a grant to the SDOH in a form satisfactory to the SDOH. The SDOH shall receive grant proposals from Mississippi qualified health centers. All proposals shall be submitted in accordance with the provisions of grant procedures, criteria and standards developed and made public by the SDOH.
(2) The SDOH shall use the funds provided by this act to make grants during the next five (5) years to Mississippi qualified health centers upon proposals made pursuant to subsection (1) of this section. Grants that are awarded to Mississippi qualified health centers shall only be used by such centers to:
(a) Increase access to preventative and primary care services by uninsured or medically indigent patients that are served by such centers; and
(b) Create new services or augment existing services provided to uninsured or medically indigent patients, including, but not limited to, primary care medical and preventive services, dental services, optometric services, in-house laboratory services, diagnostic services, pharmacy services, nutritional services and social services.
(3) Grants received by Mississippi qualified health centers pursuant to this act shall not be used:
(a) To supplant federal funds traditionally received by such centers, but shall be used to supplement them;
(b) For land or real estate investments;
(c) To finance or satisfy any existing debt; or
(d) Unless the health center specifically complies with a definition of a Mississippi qualified health center contained in Section 1 of this act.
(4) The SDOH shall develop regulations, procedures and application forms to govern how grants will be awarded, shall develop a plan to ensure that grants are equitably distributed among all Mississippi qualified health centers, and shall develop an audit process to assure that grant monies are used to provide and expend care to the uninsured and medially indigent.
(5) The SDOH shall establish a fund for the purpose of providing service grants to Mississippi qualified health centers in accordance with this act and the following terms and conditions:
(a) The total amount of grants issued pursuant to this act shall be Four Million Dollars ($4,000,000.00) per state fiscal year.
(b) No Mississippi qualified health center shall receive assistance under this program in excess of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00) per calendar year.
(c) Each Mississippi qualified health center receiving a service grant shall provide a yearly report to the SDOH which details the number of additional uninsured and medically indigent patients that are cared for and the types of services that are provided.
(6) The SDOH shall establish an advisory council to review and make recommendations to the SDOH on the awarding of any grants to Mississippi qualified health centers. Such recommendations by the advisory council shall not be binding upon the SDOH, but when a recommendation by the advisory council is not followed by the SDOH, the SDOH shall place in its minutes reasons for not accepting the advisory council's recommendation, and provide for an appeals process. All approved grants shall be awarded within thirty (30) days of approval by the SDOH.
(7) The composition of the advisory council shall be the following:
(a) Two (2) employees of the SDOH, one (1) of whom must have experience in reviewing and writing grant proposals;
(b) Two (2) executive employees of Mississippi qualified health centers, one (1) of whom must be a chief financial officer;
(c) Two (2) health care providers who are affiliated with a Mississippi qualified health center; and
(d) One (1) health care provider who is not affiliated with a Mississippi qualified health center nor the SDOH but has training and experience in primary care.
(8) The SDOH may use a portion of any grant monies received under this act to administer the program and to pay reasonable expenses incurred by the advisory council; provided, however, in no case shall more than one and one-half percent (1-1/2%) or Sixty Thousand Dollars ($60,000.00) annually, whichever is less, be used to absorb program expenses.
(9) No assistance shall be provided to a Mississippi qualified health center under this act unless the Mississippi qualified health center certifies to the SDOH, that it will not discriminate against any employee or against any applicant for employment because of race, religion, color, national origin, sex or age.
SECTION 4. There is hereby created a special fund in the State Treasury to be known as the Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program out of which grants and expenditures authorized in connection with the program shall be disbursed. All monies received by legislative appropriation to carry out the purposes of this act shall be deposited into the Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1999.