Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to compensate forthwith certain court employees, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the comptroller, in consultation with the secretary of health and human services, shall develop a schedule for transferring not less than $38,000,000 from the General Fund to the Essential Community Provider Trust Fund established under section 2PPP of chapter 29 of the General Laws for the purpose of making payments to hospitals and community health centers in fiscal year 2007. The secretary shall authorize expenditures from the fund without further appropriation for the purpose of a grant program to improve and enhance the ability of hospitals and community health centers to serve populations in need, more efficiently and effectively, including, but not limited to, the ability to provide community-based care, clinical support, care coordination services, disease management services, primary care services and pharmacy management services through a grant program. The office shall consider applications from acute hospitals, non-acute hospitals, and community health centers in awarding the grants; but, the office shall publicize the existence of the grant program to eligible providers and shall award grants no later than September 1, 2006. The criteria for selection shall include, but not be limited to, the following:-
(1) financial performance measures including negative operating margins, insufficient cash flow, technical bond default and the uncertain ability to cover long-term obligations, as well as potential for loss of critical community services;
(2) the percentage of patients with mental or substance abuse disorders served by a provider;
(3) the numbers of patients served by a provider who are chronically ill, elderly, or disabled, provided that in the case of a community health center, that preference be given to the provision of a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly;
(4) the payer mix of the provider, with preference given to acute hospitals where a minimum of 63 percent of the acute hospital’s gross patient service revenue is attributable to Title XVIII and Title XIX of the federal Social Security Act or other governmental payors, including reimbursements from the Uncompensated Care Pool;
(5) the percentage of total annual operating revenue that received funding in fiscal years 2005 and 2006 from the Distressed Provider Expendable Trust Fund comprised for the provider;
(6) the cultural and linguistic challenges presented by the populations served by the provider;
(7) a documented critical need for investment in information technology such as Computerized Physician Order Entry systems but without access to capital to finance such investments; and
(8) the provision by a community health center of 24 hour emergency services.
(b) The secretary may further authorize distributions on an emergency basis to acute hospitals, non-acute hospitals and community health centers facing extreme financial distress or closure upon petition from the provider. The emergency funds shall be distributed by the secretary within 2 weeks of petition by a provider that is determined to be facing extreme financial distress or closure at an amount determined by the secretary.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect as of July 1, 2006.
Passed without Governor’s signature, July 24, 2006.