Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 373
By: Hawley
Public Health


In its Interim Report to the 77th Legislature, the House Select Committee
on Rural Development found a substantial gap between urban and rural health
care, with rural areas having fewer professional health care providers and
hospitals.  According to the Center for Rural Health Initiatives (center),
more than half of Texas' rural counties (101 out of 196) are considered
health professional shortage areas.  The center is the primary state
resource in planning, coordinating, and advocating statewide efforts to
ensure continued access to rural health care services.  There are many
national, regional and in-state foundations that award grants to nonprofit
organizations for a variety of programs, but do not award grants to
governmental entities. A nonprofit foundation established under the
umbrella of the center could help bring additional dollars to Texas to
support rural health programs.  House Bill 373 requires the center to
establish the Rural Health Foundation as a nonprofit organization to raise
money to finance health programs in rural areas. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 373 amends the Health and Safety Code to require the Center for
Rural Health Initiatives (center) to establish no later than June 1, 2002
the Rural Health Foundation (foundation) as a nonprofit corporation that
qualifies as an organization exempt from federal income tax.  Additionally,
the bill exempts all income, property, and other assets belonging to the
foundation from state tax.  The center is required to ensure that the
foundation operate independently of any state agency or state political
subdivision.  The bill requires the foundation to raise money to finance
health programs in rural areas of Texas and gives the foundation the powers
necessary and convenient to carry out its duties. 

The bill provides that the executive committee of the center appoint a
board of five directors to govern the foundation and establishes
restrictions on board appointment, membership, and employment.  The bill
sets forth terms of office and establishes procedures for removing board
members and filling vacancies.  The bill provides for the administration
and operation of the board, including the maintenance of financial records. 


September 1, 2001.