131A-31. The Rural Health Care Stabilization Program.

(a) Program Established; Purpose. - There is established the Rural Health Care Stabilization Program to provide loans for the support of eligible hospitals located in rural areas of the State that are in financial crisis due to operation of oversized and outdated facilities and recent changes to the viability of health care delivery in their communities, including the demand for certain patient services and the composition of payer mixes and patient populations. Within the funds available in the Rural Health Care Stabilization Fund, the Program shall provide for loans at below-market interest rates with structured repayment terms in order for these financially distressed eligible hospitals to transition to sustainable, efficient, and more proportionately sized health care service models in their communities. In meeting this goal, loan funds may be used to finance construction of new health care facilities or to provide for operational costs during this transition period, or both, including while the construction of new health care facilities is undertaken.

(b) Administration. - UNC Health Care shall administer the Program and has the following duties and responsibilities:

(1) Establishing an application period and a process for submitting an application for a loan under this Program.

(2) Assessing Plans submitted by an applicant for a loan under the Program.

(3) Evaluating an applicant's ability to repay the loan under the proposed Plan.

(4) Submitting recommendations to the Commission on whether an applicant should receive a loan under the Program.

(5) Negotiating the terms of a proposed loan agreement.

(6) Determining the security interests necessary to enforce repayment of the loan.

(7) Implementing approved loan agreements, including monitoring repayment and collection.

(8) Any other duties and responsibilities necessary to the implementation of the Program and enforcement of the loan agreements under the Program.

(c) Exclusion. - UNC Health Care cannot apply for a loan under this Program and cannot be a partner in a partnership that applies for a loan under this Program. The Commission cannot approve an application for a loan if the issuance of the loan would result in a material, direct financial benefit to UNC Health Care at the time the application and Plan are submitted to the Commission for its approval.

(d) Rules. - UNC Health Care is authorized to adopt any rules necessary for implementation of the Program. (2019-240, s. 27.2.)