2004 Regular Session

To: Public Health and Human Services; Appropriations

By: Representative Holland, Young, Scott

House Bill 1048

(As Sent to Governor)



     SECTION 1.  Section 41-99-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-99-1.  For purposes of this chapter:

          (a)  "Mississippi qualified health center" means a public or nonprofit entity that 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)  "Department" means the * * * State Department of Health.

          (d)  "Primary care" means the basic entry level of health care provided by health care practitioners or nonphysician 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 those services.

          (f)  "Service grant" means a grant by the department to a Mississippi qualified health center in accordance with this chapter.

          (g)  "Program" means the Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program established in this chapter.

     SECTION 2.  Section 41-99-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-99-3.  The Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program is * * * established, under the direction and administration of the State Department of Health, 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.  Section 41-99-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-99-5.  (1)  Any Mississippi qualified health center desiring to participate in the program shall make application for a grant to the department in a form satisfactory to the  department.  The department 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  department.

     (2)  The department shall use the funds provided by this chapter to make grants until July 1, 2009, to Mississippi qualified health centers upon proposals made under subsection (1) of this section.  Grants that are awarded to Mississippi qualified health centers shall only be used by those centers to:

          (a)  Increase access to preventative and primary care services by uninsured or medically indigent patients that are served by those 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  under this chapter shall not be used:

          (a)  To supplant federal funds traditionally received by  those 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  the definition of a Mississippi qualified health center contained in Section 41-99-1.

     (4)  The department 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 medically indigent.

     (5)  The department shall establish a fund for the purpose of providing service grants to Mississippi qualified health centers in accordance with this chapter and the following terms and conditions:

          (a)  The total amount of grants issued under this chapter 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 department that details the number of additional uninsured and medically indigent patients that are cared for and the types of services that are provided.

     (6)  The department shall establish an advisory council to review and make recommendations to the department on the awarding of any grants to Mississippi qualified health centers.  Those recommendations by the advisory council shall not be binding upon the department, but when a recommendation by the advisory council is not followed by the department, the department 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  department.

     (7)  The composition of the advisory council shall be the following:

          (a)  Two (2) employees of the department, 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 or the department but has training and experience in primary care.

     (8)  The department may use a portion of any grant monies received under this chapter to administer the program and to pay reasonable expenses incurred by the advisory council; * * * 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 chapter unless the Mississippi qualified health center certifies to the department 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.  Section 41-99-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     41-99-7.  There is * * * created a special fund in the State Treasury to be known as the Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program Fund, from 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 chapter shall be deposited into the Mississippi Qualified Health Center Grant Program Fund.

     SECTION 5.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.