Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 115
By: Madla
Public Health
Committee Report (Amended)


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.  Senate Bill 115 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. 


Senate Bill 115 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.
The bill requires the foundation no later than the 60th day after the last
day of the fiscal year to submit to the center an itemized report regarding
income and expenditures and describing the foundation's activities during
the preceding fiscal year.  The center is required to include the
foundation's activities in the biennial report submitted to the


September 1, 2001.


Committee Amendment No. 1 requires the Center for Rural Health Initiatives
(center) to obtain information from each state agency, university, medical
school, rural community, or any other rural health care provider that has
expended public funds to perform a study, conduct a demonstration project
or grant, or develop programs related to rural health care during the
biennium.  The amendment further requires the center to include this
information in its report to the legislature.