There is established a rural hospital capital improvement grant program. (1) A rural hospital as defined in s. 395.602 may apply to the department for a grant. The grant application must provide information that includes:
(a) A statement indicating the problem the rural hospital proposes to solve with the grant funds;
(b) The strategy proposed to resolve the problem;
(c) The organizational structure, financial system, and facilities that are essential to the proposed solution;
(d) The projected longevity of the proposed solution after the grant funds are expended;
(e) Evidence of participation in a rural health network as defined in s. 381.0406;
(f) Evidence that the rural hospital has difficulty in obtaining funding or that funds available for the proposed solution are inadequate;
(g) Evidence that the grant funds will assist in maintaining or returning the hospital to an economically stable condition or that any plan for closure or realignment of services will involve development of innovative alternatives for the discontinued services;
(h) Evidence of a satisfactory record-keeping system to account for grant fund expenditures within the rural county;
(i) A rural health network plan that includes a description of how the plan was developed, the goals of the plan, the links with existing health care providers under the plan, indicators quantifying the hospital’s financial well-being, measurable outcome targets, and the current physical and operational condition of the hospital.
(2) Each rural hospital as defined in s. 395.602 shall receive a minimum of $100,000 annually, subject to legislative appropriation, upon application to the Department of Health, for projects to acquire, repair, improve, or upgrade systems, facilities, or equipment. (3) Any remaining funds shall annually be disbursed to rural hospitals in accordance with this section. The Department of Health shall establish, by rule, criteria for awarding grants for any remaining funds, which must be used exclusively for the support and assistance of rural hospitals as defined in s. 395.602, including criteria relating to the level of uncompensated care rendered by the hospital, the participation in a rural health network as defined in s. 381.0406, and the proposed use of the grant by the rural hospital to resolve a specific problem. The department must consider any information submitted in an application for the grants in accordance with subsection (1) in determining eligibility for and the amount of the grant, and none of the individual items of information by itself may be used to deny grant eligibility.
(4) The department shall ensure that the funds are used solely for the purposes specified in this section. The total grants awarded pursuant to this section shall not exceed the amount appropriated for this program.