Authorities

Authorities
4/25/2017

Southwest Virginia Health Authority

§ 15.2-5368. Southwest Virginia Health Authority established

A. There is hereby established a Health Authority for the LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commissions, the Counties of Smyth and Washington, and the City of Bristol.

B. The General Assembly recognizes that rural communities such as those served by the Authority confront unique challenges in the effort to improve health care outcomes and access to quality health care. It is important to facilitate the provision of quality, cost-efficient medical care to rural patients. The provision of care by local providers is important to enhancing, fostering, and creating opportunities that advance health status and provide health-related economic benefits. The Authority shall establish regional health goals directed at improving access to care, advancing health status, targeting regional health issues, promoting technological advancement, ensuring accountability of the cost of care, enhancing academic engagement in regional health, strengthening the workforce for health-related careers, and improving health entity collaboration and regional integration where appropriate.

C. Technological and improved scientific methods have contributed to the improvement of health care in the Commonwealth. The cost of improved technology and improved scientific methods for the provision of hospital care, particularly in rural communities, contributes substantially to the increasing cost of hospital care. Cost increases make it increasingly difficult for hospitals in rural areas of the Commonwealth, including those areas served by the Authority, to offer care. Cooperative agreements among hospitals and between hospitals and others for the provision of health care services may foster improvements in the quality of health care, moderate increases in cost, improve access to needed services in rural areas of the Commonwealth, and enhance the likelihood that smaller hospitals in the Commonwealth will remain open in beneficial service to their communities.

2007, c. 676; 2009, c. 464; 2014, c. 236; 2015, c. 741.

§ 15.2-5369. Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Authority" means any political subdivision, a body politic and corporate, created, organized, and operated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or, if such Authority is abolished, the board, body, authority, department, or officer succeeding to the principal functions thereof or to whom the powers given by this chapter are given by law.

"Bond" includes any interest bearing obligation, including promissory notes.

"Commissioner" means the State Health Commissioner.

"Cooperative agreement" means an agreement among two or more hospitals for the sharing, allocation, consolidation by merger or other combination of assets, or referral of patients, personnel, instructional programs, support services, and facilities or medical, diagnostic, or laboratory facilities or procedures or other services traditionally offered by hospitals.

"Hospital" includes any health center and health provider under common ownership with the hospital and means any and all providers of dental, medical, and mental health services, including all related facilities and approaches thereto and appurtenances thereof. Dental, medical, and mental health facilities includes any and all facilities suitable for providing hospital, dental, medical, and mental health care, including any and all structures, buildings, improvements, additions, extensions, replacements, appurtenances, lands, rights in lands, franchises, machinery, equipment, furnishing, landscaping, approaches, roadways, and other facilities necessary or desirable in connection therewith or incidental thereto (including, without limitation, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, continuing care facilities, self-care facilities, mental health facilities, wellness and health maintenance centers, medical office facilities, clinics, outpatient surgical centers, alcohol, substance abuse and drug treatment centers, dental care clinics, laboratories, research facilities, sanitariums, hospices, facilities for the residence or care of the elderly, the handicapped or the chronically ill, residential facilities for nurses, interns, and physicians and any other kind of facility for the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, or palliation of any human illness, injury, disorder, or disability), together with all related and supporting facilities and equipment necessary and desirable in connection therewith or incidental thereto, or equipment alone, including, without limitation, kitchen, laundry, laboratory, wellness, pharmaceutical, administrative, communications, computer and recreational facilities and equipment, storage space, mobile medical facilities, vehicles and other equipment necessary or desirable for the transportation of medical equipment or the transportation of patients. Dental, medical, and mental health facilities also includes facilities for graduate-level instruction in medicine or dentistry and clinics appurtenant thereto offering free or reduced rate dental, medical, or mental health services to the public.

"Participating locality" means any county or city in the LENOWISCO or Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commissions and the Counties of Smyth and Washington and the City of Bristol with respect to which an authority may be organized and in which it is contemplated that the Authority will function.

2007, c. 676; 2013, c. 660; 2015, c. 741.

§ 15.2-5370. Directors; qualifications; terms; vacancies

The Authority shall be governed by a board of directors in which all powers of the Authority shall be vested. The Authority shall consist of members as follows:

The Executive Director for the Coalfield Economic Development Authority, or his designee;

The Chief Executive Officer of the Norton Community Hospital located in the City of Norton, Virginia, or his designee;

One representative from the Lonesome Pine Hospital;

The Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia Community Healthcare Association, or his designee;

The Chief Executive Officer of the Russell County Medical Center, or his designee;

The Chief Executive Officer of the Clinch Valley Medical Center, or his designee;

The District Health Director for the Cumberland Health District, or his designee;

The District Health Director for the LENOWISCO Health District, or his designee;

The Dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, or his designee;

The Dean of the School of Dentistry at the Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University, or his designee;

The Dean of the Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, or his designee;

The Chancellor of the University of Virginia's College at Wise, or his designee;

The President of the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, or his designee;

The President of Frontier Health, or his designee;

The President of the University of Appalachia College of Pharmacy, or his designee;

The President of the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, or his designee;

The Chairman of the Board of the Southwest Virginia Graduate Medical Education Consortium, or his designee;

Two members of the Senate to be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules;

Two members of the House of Delegates to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates in accordance with the principles of proportional representation contained in the Rules of the House of Delegates; and

One member for each participating locality, provided that each such member shall be appointed initially as follows: the representatives of Buchanan and Dickenson Counties being appointed for one-year terms; the representatives of Lee County and the City of Norton being appointed for two-year terms; the representatives of Russell and Scott Counties being appointed for three-year terms; and the representatives of Tazewell and Wise Counties being appointed for four-year terms. Subsequent appointments shall be for terms of four years, except appointments to fill vacancies shall be for the unexpired terms. In addition, representatives may be selected from the Counties of Smyth and Washington and the City of Bristol and shall serve initial terms as determined by the board of directors. All terms of office shall be deemed to commence upon the date of the initial appointment to the Authority, and thereafter in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph. If, at the end of any term of office of any director a successor thereto has not been appointed, then the director whose term of office has expired shall continue to hold office until his successor is appointed and qualified. Each director shall, upon appointment or reappointment, before entering upon his duties take and subscribe the oath prescribed by § 49-1.

The directors shall elect from their membership a chairman and a vice-chairman and from their membership or not, as they desire, a secretary and a treasurer or a secretary-treasurer, who shall continue to hold such office until their respective successors are elected.

2007, c. 676; 2008, c. 803; 2010, c. 575; 2011, c. 514; 2014, c. 236; 2015, c. 741.

§ 15.2-5371. Decisions of Authority

A majority of the Authority shall constitute a quorum for the purposes of conducting its business and exercising its powers and for all other purposes. Actions of the Authority shall receive the affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum to be effective. No vacancy on the Authority shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all rights and perform all the duties of the Authority. The Authority shall determine the times and places of its regular meetings. Special meetings of the Authority shall be held when requested by two or more members of the Authority. Any such request for a special meeting shall be in writing, and the request shall specify the time and place of the meeting and the matters to be considered at the meeting. A reasonable effort shall be made to provide each member with notice of any special meeting. No matter not specified in the notice shall be considered at such special meeting unless all the members of the Authority are present.

2007, c. 676; 2010, c. 575.

§ 15.2-5372. Payment to members of Authority

The members of the Authority may be paid for their services compensation in either (i) the amount provided in the general appropriation act for members of the General Assembly engaged in legislative business between sessions or (ii) a lesser amount as determined by the Authority. Members may be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825, if approved by the Authority. Funding for the costs of compensation and expenses of the members shall be provided by the Authority.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5373. Executive director; staff

The Authority shall appoint an executive director, who shall be authorized to employ such staff as necessary to enable the Authority to perform its duties as set forth in this chapter. No such person shall contemporaneously serve as a member of the Authority. The Authority is authorized to determine the duties of such staff and to fix salaries and compensation from such funds as may be received or appropriated.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5374. Powers of Authority

The Authority shall have all powers necessary or convenient to carry out the general purposes of this chapter, including the power to:

1. Sue and be sued; adopt a seal and alter the same at pleasure; have perpetual succession; and to make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers.

2. Employ such technical experts and such other officers, agents, and employees as it may require, to fix their qualifications, duties, and compensation, and to remove such employees at pleasure.

3. Acquire within the territorial limits of the participating localities embraced by it, by purchase, lease, gift, or otherwise, whatever lands, buildings, and structures as may be reasonably necessary for the purpose of establishing, constructing, enlarging, maintaining, and operating one or more hospitals or health centers.

4. Sell, lease, exchange, transfer, or assign any of its real or personal property or any portion thereof or interest therein to any person, firm, or corporation whenever the Authority finds such action to be in furtherance of the purposes for which the Authority was created.

5. Acquire, establish, construct, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip, and operate any hospital or health center and any other facility and service for the care and treatment of sick persons.

6. Make and enforce rules and regulations for the management and conduct of its business and affairs and for the use, maintenance and operation of its facilities and properties.

7. Accept gifts and grants, including real or personal property, from the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and from the United States and any of its agencies; and accept donations of money, personal property, or real estate and take title thereto from any person.

8. Make rules and regulations governing the admission, care, and treatment of patients in such hospital or health center, classify patients as to charges to be paid by them, if any, and determine the nature and extent of the service to be rendered patients.

9. Comply with the provisions of the laws of the United States and the Commonwealth and any rules and regulations made thereunder for the expenditures of federal or state money in connection with hospitals or health centers and to accept, receive, and receipt for federal and state money granted the Authority or granted any of the participating localities embraced by it for hospital or health center purposes.

10. Borrow money upon its bonds, notes, debentures, or other evidences of indebtedness issued for the purpose only of acquiring, constructing, improving, furnishing, or equipping buildings or structures for use as a hospital or health center, and to secure the same by pledges of its revenues and property as hereafter provided. This power shall include the power to refinance all or any portion of such debt, to renegotiate the terms of all or any portion of such debt, and to retire all or any portion of such debt prior to its maturity date. This power shall include the power to borrow money upon its bonds, notes, debentures, or other evidences of indebtedness for the purpose of operations of any not-for-profit or nonprofit dental or medical facility for which the Authority or any participating locality has also provided funding pursuant to this chapter in furtherance of any lease, contract, or agreement entered into by the Authority pursuant to subdivision 12 or 13. Such power to borrow money upon its bonds, notes, debentures, or other evidences of indebtedness shall only be considered by the Authority after receipt of a prospectus, operational budget, and five-year business plan for the dental or medical facility together with identification of all revenue and funding resources required to fully meet the five-year operational budget. Upon receipt, the Authority shall make the prospectus, operational budget, and business plan available to the public and enable the public to respond in a public hearing prior to approval being taken up for consideration. In addition, the prospectus, operational budget, and business plan shall be reviewed by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia prior to approval by the Authority. Thereafter, the Council shall review the operations of the Authority prior to the exercise of bond authority pursuant to this subdivision. The Council shall report its findings to the Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.

11. Execute all instruments necessary or convenient in connection with the borrowing of money and issuing bonds as herein authorized.

12. Enter into leases and agreements with persons for the construction or operation or both of a hospital or health center by such persons on land of the Authority.

13. Contract for the management and operation of any hospital or health center subject to the control of the Authority; however, the Authority may charge such rates for service as will enable it to make reasonable compensation for such management and operation.

14. Assist in or provide for the creation of domestic or foreign stock and nonstock corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, associations, foundations, or other supporting organizations or other entities and to purchase, receive, subscribe for, or otherwise acquire, own, hold, vote, use, employ, sell, mortgage, lend, pledge, or otherwise dispose of shares of or other interests in or obligations of any domestic or foreign stock and nonstock corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, associations, foundations, or other supporting organizations, joint ventures, or other entities organized for any purpose, or direct or indirect obligations of the United States, or of any other government, state, territory, governmental district or municipality or of any other obligations of any domestic or foreign stock or nonstock corporation, limited liability company, partnership, limited partnership, association, foundation, or other supporting organization, joint venture or other entity organized for any purpose or any individual. The investments of any entity wholly owned or controlled by the Authority that is an "institution," as such term is defined in § 64.2-1100 shall be governed by the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (§ 64.2-1100 et seq.).

15. Participate in joint ventures with individuals, domestic or foreign stock and nonstock corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, associations, foundations, or other supporting organizations or other entities for providing medical care or related services or other activities that the Authority may undertake to the extent that such undertakings assist the Authority in carrying out the purposes and intent of this chapter.

16. Provide domestic or foreign stock and nonstock corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, associations, foundations or other supporting organizations, joint ventures or other entities owned in whole or in part or controlled, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, by the Authority with appropriate assistance, including making loans and providing time of employees, in carrying out any activities authorized by this chapter.

17. Make loans and provide other assistance to domestic or foreign stock and nonstock corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, associations, foundations or other supporting organizations, joint ventures, or other entities.

18. Transact its business, locate its offices and control, directly or through domestic or foreign stock and nonstock corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, associations, foundations or other supporting organizations, joint ventures, or other entities, facilities that will assist or aid the Authority in carrying out the purposes and intent of this chapter.

19. Procure such insurance, participate in such insurance plans, or provide such self-insurance, or any combination thereof, as it deems necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes and provisions of this chapter. The purchase of insurance, participation in an insurance plan, or creation of a self-insurance plan by the Authority shall not be deemed a waiver or relinquishment of any sovereign immunity to which the Authority or its members, officers, directors, employees, or agents are otherwise entitled.

20. Exercise all other powers granted to nonstock corporations pursuant to § 13.1-826.

21. Receive and review applications for approval of proposed cooperative agreements submitted by two or more hospitals pursuant to § 15.2-5384.1, and provide recommendations to the Commissioner regarding the approval of such applications. The Authority may establish a fee structure, and may assess a fee, to support its review of applications for approval of proposed cooperative agreements. The amount of the fee that the Authority is authorized to assess the parties submitting such an application shall not exceed $50,000.

2007, c. 676; 2008, c. 184; 2013, c. 660; 2015, c. 741.

§ 15.2-5375. Appropriations to Authority

Any participating locality is authorized to make appropriations to the Authority from available funds or from funds provided for the purpose by bond issues for the acquisition of land or improvements to land or the construction, improvement, maintenance, and operation of any hospital or health center operated or controlled or proposed to be operated or controlled by the Authority. The participating locality may also transfer to the Authority, with or without consideration, real or personal property for any or all of such purposes.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5376. Issuance of bonds by participating localities and validation thereof

Any participating locality may issue its general obligation bonds in the manner provided in the Public Finance Act (§ 15.2-2600 et seq.) in furtherance of the establishment, construction, or enlargement of a hospital or health center. The industrial development authority of any participating locality may issue its bonds in the manner provided in the Industrial Development and Revenue Bond Act (§ 15.2-4900 et seq.) in furtherance of the establishment, construction, enlargement, or operation of a nonprofit or not-for-profit hospital or health center with the concurrence of the governing body of the participating locality.

2007, c. 676; 2013, c. 660.

§ 15.2-5377. Issuance and sale of bonds

Any bonds issued by the Authority may be issued in one or more series, shall bear such date or dates, mature at such time or times, bear interest at such rate or rates payable at such time or times, be in such denominations, be in such form, either coupon or registered, carry such registration privileges, be executed in such manner, be payable in such medium of payment, at such place or places, be subject to such terms of redemption, with or without premium, as the Authority by resolution may prescribe. Such bonds may be sold at public or private sale for such price or prices as the Authority determines.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5378. Provisions to secure payment of bonds

Any Authority resolution authorizing the issuance of any bonds may contain provisions, which shall be a part of the contract with the holders of the bonds, (i) pledging any or all revenues of the hospital or health center to secure the payment of the interest on such bonds and to create a sinking fund to retire the principal thereof at maturity; (ii) providing for the granting of a lien on or the creation of a security interest in any property, real or personal, of the Authority as security for the payment of the principal of, and interest on, such bonds and the due and punctual performance of any agreements made in connection therewith; (iii) providing for such schedule of fees and charges as will produce funds sufficient to pay operating costs and debt service until such bonds are retired; and (iv) prescribing the rights, obligations, powers, and duties of the Authority, the trustee under any trust indenture under which the bonds are issued, and the bondholders, in connection with or pertaining to such bonds.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5379. Bonds made legal investments

Any bonds issued pursuant to the authority of this chapter are hereby made securities in which all public officers and bodies of this Commonwealth and all political subdivisions thereof, all insurance companies and associations, and all savings banks and savings institutions, including savings and loan associations, in the Commonwealth may properly and legally invest funds in their control.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5380. Bonds payable from revenues of hospital or health centers

Any bonds issued under this chapter shall be payable only from the revenues and receipts of the hospital or health center for the acquisition, establishment, or construction of which the bonds were issued and from any property the Authority has made subject to a lien to secure such bonds. The bonds and other obligations of the Authority shall not be a debt of any locality or of the Commonwealth, and neither the Authority members nor any person executing the bonds or other obligations shall be liable personally thereon by reason of the issuance thereof.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5381. Property of Authority exempt from foreclosure or execution sale and judgment lien

No interest of the Authority in any property, real or personal, shall be subject to sale by foreclosure of a mortgage, trust indenture, or any other instrument, either through judicial proceedings or the exercise of a power of sale contained in the instrument. All Authority property shall be exempt from levy and sale by virtue of an execution, and no execution or judicial process shall issue against the Authority. No judgment against the Authority shall be a charge or lien upon its property, real or personal.

Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the owner of a leasehold interest granted by the Authority from granting a lien or other security interest in his leasehold that would be subject to sale or foreclosure as provided in any instrument creating the lien or other security interest. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit the Authority from granting a lien on or creating a security interest in Authority property, real or personal, to secure any bonds issued under this chapter, any of which property will be subject to sale or foreclosure as provided in the instrument granting such lien or creating such security interest.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5382. Receiver

The Authority may, by its trust indenture given to secure bond issues or other obligations, provide for the appointment of a receiver of the hospital or health center or that part thereof acquired or constructed from funds received from a sale of bonds secured by the pledge of its revenues. If a receiver is appointed, he may enter, take possession of, operate, and maintain such hospital or health center or part thereof; collect and receive all fees, rents, revenues, or other charges arising therefrom in the same manner as the Authority might do; keep such moneys in a separate account or accounts; and apply the moneys in accordance with the obligations of the Authority as the court directs.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5383. Eminent domain

The Authority shall have the right to acquire by eminent domain any real property, including fixtures and improvements, that it deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter after it adopts a resolution declaring that the acquisition of the property described therein is in the public interest and necessary for public use. The Authority may exercise the power of eminent domain pursuant to the provisions of any applicable statutory provision now in force or hereafter enacted for the exercise of the power of eminent domain by any locality.

Property already devoted to a public use may be acquired; however, no property belonging to any locality, government, religious corporation, unincorporated church, or charitable corporation may be acquired without its consent.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5384. Records and reports

The Authority shall keep and preserve complete records of its operations and transactions, which records shall be open to inspection by the participating subdivisions at all times. It shall make reports to such subdivisions annually and at such other times as they may require.

2007, c. 676.

§ 15.2-5384.1. Review of cooperative agreements

A. The policy of the Commonwealth related to each participating locality is to encourage cooperative, collaborative, and integrative arrangements, including mergers and acquisitions among hospitals, health centers, or health providers who might otherwise be competitors. To the extent such cooperative agreements, or the planning and negotiations that precede such cooperative agreements, might be anticompetitive within the meaning and intent of state and federal antitrust laws, the intent of the Commonwealth with respect to each participating locality is to supplant competition with a regulatory program to permit cooperative agreements that are beneficial to citizens served by the Authority, and to invest in the Commissioner the authority to approve cooperative agreements recommended by the Authority and the duty of active supervision to ensure compliance with the provisions of the cooperative agreements that have been approved. Such intent is within the public policy of the Commonwealth to facilitate the provision of quality, cost-efficient medical care to rural patients.

B. A hospital may negotiate and enter into proposed cooperative agreements with other hospitals in the Commonwealth if the likely benefits resulting from the proposed cooperative agreements outweigh any disadvantages attributable to a reduction in competition that may result from the proposed cooperative agreements. Benefits to such a cooperative agreement may include, but are not limited to, improving access to care, advancing health status, targeting regional health issues, promoting technological advancement, ensuring accountability of the cost of care, enhancing academic engagement in regional health, strengthening the workforce for health-related careers, and improving health entity collaboration and regional integration where appropriate.

C. 1. Parties located within any participating locality may submit an application for approval of a proposed cooperative agreement to the Authority. In such an application, the applicants shall state in detail the nature of the proposed arrangement between them, including without limitation the parties' goals for, and methods for achieving, population health improvement, improved access to health care services, improved quality, cost efficiencies, ensuring affordability of care, and, as applicable, supporting the Authority's goals and strategic mission. The Authority shall determine whether the application is complete. If the Authority determines that the application is not complete, the Authority shall notify the applicants in writing of the additional items required to complete the application. A copy of the complete application shall be provided to the Commissioner and the Office of the Attorney General at the same time that it is submitted to the Authority. If the applicants believe the materials submitted contain proprietary information that are required to remain confidential, such information must be clearly identified and the applicants shall submit duplicate applications, one with full information for the Authority's use and one redacted application available for release to the public.

2. The Authority, promptly upon receipt of a complete application, shall publish notification of the application in a newspaper of general circulation in the LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau Planning Districts and on the Authority's website. The public may submit written comments regarding the application to the Authority within 20 days after the notice is first published. The Authority shall promptly make any such comments available to the applicants. The applicants may respond in writing to the comments within 10 days after the deadline for submitting comments. Following the close of the written comment period, the Authority shall, in conjunction with the Commissioner, schedule a public hearing on the application. The hearing shall be held no later than 45 days after receipt of the application. Notice of the hearing shall be mailed to the applicants and to all persons who have submitted written comments on the proposed cooperative agreement. The Authority, no later than 15 days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing, also shall publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau Planning Districts and on the Authority's website.

D. In its review of an application submitted pursuant to subsection C, the Authority may consider the proposed cooperative agreement and any supporting documents submitted by the applicants, any written comments submitted by any person, any written response by the applicants, and any written or oral comments submitted at the public hearing. The Authority shall review a proposed cooperative agreement in consideration of the Commonwealth's policy to facilitate improvements in patient health care outcomes and access to quality health care, and population health improvement, in rural communities and in accordance with the standards set forth in subsection E. Any applicants to the proposed cooperative agreement under review, and their affiliates or employees, who are members of the Authority, as well as any members of the Authority that are competitors, or affiliates or employees of competitors, of the applicants proposing such cooperative agreement, shall not participate as a member of the Authority in the Authority's review of, or decision relating to, the proposed cooperative agreement; however, this prohibition on such person's participation shall not prohibit the person from providing comment on a proposed cooperative agreement to the Authority or the Commissioner. The Authority shall determine whether the proposed cooperative agreement should be recommended for approval by the Commissioner within 75 days of the date the completed application for the proposed cooperative agreement is submitted for approval. The Authority may extend the review period for a specified period of time upon 15 days' notice to the parties.

E. 1. The Authority shall recommend for approval by the Commissioner a proposed cooperative agreement if it determines that the benefits likely to result from the proposed cooperative agreement outweigh the disadvantages likely to result from a reduction in competition from the proposed cooperative agreement.

2. In evaluating the potential benefits of a proposed cooperative agreement, the Authority shall consider whether one or more of the following benefits may result from the proposed cooperative agreement:

a. Enhancement of the quality of hospital and hospital-related care, including mental health services and treatment of substance abuse, provided to citizens served by the Authority, resulting in improved patient satisfaction;

b. Enhancement of population health status consistent with the regional health goals established by the Authority;

c. Preservation of hospital facilities in geographical proximity to the communities traditionally served by those facilities to ensure access to care;

d. Gains in the cost-efficiency of services provided by the hospitals involved;

e. Improvements in the utilization of hospital resources and equipment;

f. Avoidance of duplication of hospital resources;

g. Participation in the state Medicaid program; and

h. Total cost of care.

3. The Authority's evaluation of any disadvantages attributable to any reduction in competition likely to result from the proposed cooperative agreement shall include, but need not be limited to, the following factors:

a. The extent of any likely adverse impact of the proposed cooperative agreement on the ability of health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations, managed health care organizations, or other health care payors to negotiate reasonable payment and service arrangements with hospitals, physicians, allied health care professionals, or other health care providers;

b. The extent of any reduction in competition among physicians, allied health professionals, other health care providers, or other persons furnishing goods or services to, or in competition with, hospitals that is likely to result directly or indirectly from the proposed cooperative agreement;

c. The extent of any likely adverse impact on patients in the quality, availability, and price of health care services; and

d. The availability of arrangements that are less restrictive to competition and achieve the same benefits or a more favorable balance of benefits over disadvantages attributable to any reduction in competition likely to result from the proposed cooperative agreement.

F. 1. If the Authority deems that the proposed cooperative agreement should be recommended for approval, it shall provide such recommendation to the Commissioner.

2. Upon receipt of the Authority's recommendation, the Commissioner may request from the applicants such supplemental information as the Commissioner deems necessary to the assessment of whether to approve the proposed cooperative agreement. The Commissioner shall consult with the Attorney General regarding his assessment of whether to approve the proposed cooperative agreement. On the basis of his review of the record developed by the Authority, including the Authority's recommendation, as well as any additional information received from the applicants as well as any other data, information, or advice available to the Commissioner, the Commissioner shall approve the proposed cooperative agreement if he finds after considering the factors in subsection E that the benefits likely to result from the proposed cooperative agreement outweigh the disadvantages likely to result from a reduction in competition from the proposed cooperative agreement. The Commissioner shall issue his decision in writing within 45 days of receipt of the Authority's recommendation. However, if the Commissioner has requested additional information from the applicants, the Commissioner shall have an additional 15 days, following receipt of the supplemental information, to approve or deny the proposed cooperative agreement. The Commissioner may reasonably condition approval of the proposed cooperative agreement upon the parties' commitments to achieving the improvements in population health, access to health care services, quality, and cost efficiencies identified by the parties in support of their application for approval of the proposed cooperative agreement. Such conditions shall be fully enforceable by the Commissioner. The Commissioner's decision to approve or deny an application shall constitute a case decision pursuant to the Virginia Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

G. If approved, the cooperative agreement is entrusted to the Commissioner for active and continuing supervision to ensure compliance with the provisions of the cooperative agreement. The parties to a cooperative agreement that has been approved by the Commissioner shall report annually to the Commissioner on the extent of the benefits realized and compliance with other terms and conditions of the approval. The report shall describe the activities conducted pursuant to the cooperative agreement, including any actions taken in furtherance of commitments made by the parties or terms imposed by the Commissioner as a condition for approval of the cooperative agreement, and shall include information relating to price, cost, quality, access to care, and population health improvement. The Commissioner may require the parties to a cooperative agreement to supplement such report with additional information to the extent necessary to the Commissioner's active and continuing supervision to ensure compliance with the cooperative agreement. The Commissioner shall have the authority to investigate as needed, including the authority to conduct onsite inspections, to ensure compliance with the cooperative agreement.

H. If the Commissioner has reason to believe that compliance with a cooperative agreement no longer meets the requirements of this chapter, the Commissioner shall initiate a proceeding to determine whether compliance with the cooperative agreement no longer meets the requirements of this chapter. In the course of such proceeding, the Commissioner is authorized to seek reasonable modifications to a cooperative agreement, with the consent of the parties to the agreement, in order to ensure that it continues to meet the requirements of this chapter. The Commissioner is authorized to revoke a cooperative agreement upon a finding that (i) the parties to the agreement are not complying with its terms or the conditions of approval; (ii) the agreement is not in substantial compliance with the terms of the application or the conditions of approval; (iii) the benefits resulting from the approved agreement no longer outweigh the disadvantages attributable to the reduction in competition resulting from the agreement; (iv) the Commissioner's approval was obtained as a result of intentional material misrepresentation to the Commissioner or as the result of coercion, threats, or intimidation toward any party to the cooperative agreement; or (v) the parties to the agreement have failed to pay any required fee. All proceedings initiated by the Commissioner under this chapter and any judicial review thereof shall be held in accordance with and governed by the Virginia Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

I. The Commissioner shall maintain on file all cooperative agreements that the Commissioner has approved, including any conditions imposed by the Commissioner. Any party to a cooperative agreement that terminates its participation in such cooperative agreement shall file a notice of termination with the Commissioner within 30 days after termination.

J. The Commissioner shall be entitled to reimbursement from the parties seeking approval of a cooperative agreement for all reasonable and actual costs, not to exceed $75,000, incurred by the Commissioner in his review and approval of any cooperative agreement approved pursuant to this chapter. In addition, the Commissioner may assess an annual fee, in an amount established by regulation promulgated by the State Board of Health that does not exceed $75,000, for the supervision of any cooperative agreement approved pursuant to this chapter and to support the implementation and administration of the provisions of this chapter.

2015, c. 741.

§ 15.2-5385. Chapter supplemental; application of other laws; consent of local governing bodies or other agencies not required

The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to provide a complete, additional, and alternative method for doing the things authorized herein and shall be regarded as supplemental and additional to powers conferred by other laws; the issuance of revenue bonds and revenue refunding bonds under the provisions of this chapter need not comply with the requirements of any other laws applicable to the issuance of bonds. Activities conducted pursuant to cooperative agreements approved and supervised by the Commissioner are immunized from challenge or scrutiny under the Commonwealth's antitrust laws. It is the intention of the General Assembly that this chapter shall also immunize cooperative agreements approved and supervised by the Commissioner from challenge or scrutiny under federal antitrust law. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter, none of the powers granted to the Authority under the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the supervision or regulation or require the approval or consent of any locality or any authority, board, bureau, or agency of any of the foregoing. Nothing in this chapter shall affect the authority of the Attorney General to conduct appropriate reviews under §§ 55-531 and 55-532.

2007, c. 676; 2015, c. 741.

§ 15.2-5386. Limitations of the Authority

A. No provision related to the establishment, powers, or authorities of the Southwest Virginia Health Authority, its subsidiaries, or successors, shall apply to the facilities, equipment, or appropriations of any state agency including, but not limited to, the Virginia Department of Health and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

B. The Authority, its subsidiaries or successors, shall not be exempt from the Certificate of Public Need law and regulations or licensure standards of the Virginia Department of Health.

C. No provision of this chapter related to the establishment, power or authority of the Authority or participating localities shall apply to or affect any hospital as defined in § 32.1-123.

2007, c. 676; 2009, cc. 464, 813, 840.