Bill Summary for S 235 (2015-2016)

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Summary date: 

Mar 10 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 235 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Intro. by Hartsell.

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Bill summary

Creates the North Carolina Public Health Authority, with administrative direction over the Division of Public Health and the Institute for Public Improvement. Abolishes all programs in the Division of Public Health in the Department of Health and Human Services except the following four programs, to be administered by the State Health Director: (1) State Lab, (2) Vital Records, (3) Medical Examiner, and (4) Public Health Emergency Response. Transfers all functions, powers, duties, and obligations previously vested in the Division of Environmental Health in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the Division of Public Health as a Type I transfer.

Enacts new Article 1C, State Public Health Authority, in GS Chapter 130A to create the State Public Health Authority (Authority) as a state agency to perform essential governmental and public functions under supervision of the Authority Board. Creates a 13-member Authority Board (Board) to govern the Authority, with membership as specified. Specifies that each appointing authority will appoint members who reside in one of the four regional public health authorities in the state. Details additional membership provisions, including terms, removal, ethics, compensation, and the Board's duty to adopt bylaws. Enumerates 17 powers and duties of the Authority Board, including the power to construct and maintain public health facilities and the power to adopt and enforce a professional reimbursement policy, as detailed.

Provides that the Authority has the power to establish and operate health care networks and may contract with other public health authorities or local health departments to provide public health services, provided the Authority complies with the Health Maintenance Organization Act (Article 67 of GS Chapter 58) as required, for the purposes of this provision.

Permits the Authority to lease any public health facility to a nonprofit association or to any corporation authorized to do business in the state, as specified. Prohibits the Authority from selling or conveying any rights in any public health facility to any corporation or business entity operated for profit, except when the Authority sells surplus buildings, land, or equipment. Permits the Authority to purchase insurance and specifies that the purchase waives the Authority's governmental immunity, to the extent of the coverage, for any act or omission that occurs in the exercise of a governmental function. Sets forth additional provisions related to insurance and governmental immunity.

Specifies that the Institute for Public Health Improvement executive director is an employee of the Authority Board, to perform public health duties under the Board's supervision, with five specified powers and duties.

Enacts new GS 130A-46 to establish the Institute for Public Health Improvement (Institute), tasked with administering all state and federal public health appropriations and grants and providing public health administration through four regional authorities. Establishes four regional public health authorities, located in Asheville, Kannapolis, Greenville, and Wilmington, to administer public health services in North Carolina. Describes the coverage areas for each respective regional authority. Authorizes a county to select a regional public health authority to serve as the public health department for the county.

Directs the Office of State Budget and Management to transfer any funds appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services for 2015-16 or 2016-17 for public health programs abolished by this act to the Authority for allocation to the Institute. Specifies that only health departments accredited by the Local Health Department Accreditation Board or operating as a regional public health authority are eligible to receive state or federal funds as pass-through grants administered by the state and local agencies, unless otherwise provided by federal law.

Effective July 1, 2015.