GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

1997 SESSION

 

 

SESSION LAW 1997-502

SENATE BILL 636

 

 

AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITIES, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSION.

 

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

Section 1.  Article 2 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Part to read:

"Part 1A.  Public Health Authorities Authorized.

" 130A-43. Title and purpose.

(a) This Part shall be known and may be cited as the 'Public Health Authorities Act'.

(b) The purpose of this Part is to provide an alternative method for counties to provide public health services. This Part shall not be regarded as repealing any powers now existing under any other law, either general, special, or local.

(c) It is the policy of the General Assembly that Public Health Authorities should have adequate authority to exercise the powers, rights, duties, functions, privileges, and immunities conferred upon them by law.

" 130A-44.  Definitions.

As used in this Part, unless otherwise specified:

(1)       'Authority service area' means the area within the boundaries of the authority as provided for in G.S. 130A-45.4.

(2)       'Board' means a public health authority board created under this Part.

(3)       'Department' means the Department of Health and Human Services.

(4)       'County board of commissioners' means the legislative body charged with governing the county.

(5)       'County' means the county which is, or is about to be, included in the territorial boundaries of a public health authority when created hereunder.

(6)       'Federal government' means the United States of America, or any agency, instrumentality, corporate or otherwise, of the United States of America.

(7)       'Government' means the State and federal governments and any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, corporate or otherwise, of either of them.

(8)       'Public health authority' means a public body and a body corporate and politic organized under the provisions of this Part.

(9)       'Public health facility' means any one or more buildings, structures, additions, extensions, improvements, or other facilities, whether or not located on the same site or sites, machinery, equipment, furnishings or other real or personal property suitable for providing public health services; and includes, without limitation, local public health departments or centers; public health clinics and outpatient facilities; nursing homes, including skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities, adult care homes for the aged and disabled; public health laboratories; administration buildings, central service and other administrative facilities; communication, computer and other electronic facilities; pharmaceutical facilities; storage space; vehicular parking lots and other such public health facilities, customarily under the jurisdiction of or provided by public health departments, or any combination of the foregoing, with all necessary, convenient or related interests in land, machinery, apparatus, appliances, equipment, furnishings, appurtenances, site preparation, landscaping, and physical amenities.

(10)     'Real property' means lands, lands under water, structures, and any and all easements, franchises and incorporeal hereditaments and every estate and right therein, legal and equitable, including terms for years and liens by way of judgment, mortgage or otherwise.

(11)     'State' means the State of North Carolina.

" 130A-45.  Creation of a public health authority.

(a)         A public health authority may be created whenever a county board of commissioners finds and adopts a resolution finding that it is in the interest of the public health and welfare to create a public health authority to provide public health services as required under G.S. 130A-34.

(b)        A public health authority including more than one county may be formed upon joint resolution of the county boards of commissioners and local boards of health having jurisdiction over each of the counties involved.

(c)        After the adoption of a resolution creating a public health authority, a public health authority board shall be appointed in accordance with G.S. 130A-45.1.

(d)        A county may join a public health authority upon joint resolution of the boards of commissioners and local boards of health having jurisdiction over each of the counties involved.

(e)        A public health authority board shall govern the public health authority.  All powers, duties, functions, rights, privileges, or immunities conferred on the public health authority may be exercised by the authority board.

(f)         The public health authority board shall absorb the functions, assets, and liabilities of the county or district boards of health, and that board is dissolved.

(g)        For the purpose of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes, a public health authority is a public authority as defined in G.S. 159-7(b)(10).

(h)        Before adopting a resolution creating a public health authority, the county board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing with notice published at least 10 days before the hearing.

(i)         For the purposes of Article 9 of Chapter 131E of the General Statutes, a public health authority is a person as defined in G.S. 131E-176(19).

" 130A-45.1.  Membership of the public health authority board.

(a)         A public health authority board shall be the policy-making, rule-making, and adjudicatory body for a public health authority and shall be composed of no fewer than seven members and no more than nine members; except that in an authority comprising two or more counties, the board shall be composed of no more than 11 members.

(b)        In a single county authority, the county board of commissioners shall appoint the  members of the board; in an authority comprising two or more counties, the chair of the county board of commissioners of each county in the authority shall appoint one county commissioner, or the commissioner's express designee, to the authority board and these members shall jointly appoint the other members of the board.

(c)        The members of the board shall include:

(1)       At least one physician licensed under Chapter 90 of the General Statutes to practice medicine in this State, and at least one dentist licensed under Article 2 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes to practice dentistry in this State;

(2)       At least one county commissioner or the commissioner's  express designee from each county in the authority;

(3)       At least two licensed or registered professionals from any of the following professions:  optometry, veterinary science, nursing, pharmacy, engineering, or accounting;

(4)       At least one member from the administrative staff of a hospital serving the authority service area; and

(5)       At least one member from the general public.

(d)        Except as provided in this subsection, members of the board shall serve terms of three years.  Two of the original members shall serve terms of one year, and two of the original members shall serve terms of two years.

(e)        Any member who is a county commissioner serves on the board in an ex officio capacity.

(f)         Whenever a county shall join or withdraw from an existing public health authority, the board shall be dissolved and a new board shall be appointed as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(g)        Vacancies shall be filled within 120 days for any unexpired portion of a term.

(h)        A chair shall be elected annually by a board. The authority director shall serve as secretary to the board.

(i)         A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum.

(j)         A member may be removed from office by the board for any of the following:

(1)       Commission of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude.

(2)       Violation of a State law governing conflict of interest.

(3)       Violation of a written policy adopted by the county board of commissioners of each county in the authority.

(4)       Habitual failure to attend meetings.

(5)       Conduct that tends to bring the office into disrepute.

(6)       Failure to maintain qualifications for appointment required under subsection (c) of this section.

A board member may be removed only after the member has been given written notice of the basis for removal and has had the opportunity to respond.

(k)        Board members shall receive no compensation for their services, but they shall be entitled to reimbursement for subsistence and travel expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties.

(l)         The board shall meet at least quarterly. The chair or three of the members may call a special meeting.

" 130A-45.2.  Dissolution of a public health authority.

(a)       Whenever the board of commissioners of each  county constituting a public health authority determines that the authority is not operating in the best health interests of the authority service area, they may direct that the authority be dissolved. In addition, whenever a board of commissioners of a county which is a member of an authority determines that the authority is not operating in the best health interests of that county, it may withdraw from the authority. Dissolution of an authority or withdrawal from the authority by a county shall be effective only at the end of the fiscal year in which the action of dissolution or withdrawal transpired.

(b)       Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, no public health authority shall be dissolved without prior written notification to the Department.

(c)       Any budgetary surplus available to a public health authority at the time of its dissolution shall be distributed to those counties comprising the authority on the same pro rata basis that the counties appropriated and contributed funds to the authority's budget during the current fiscal year. Distribution to the counties shall be determined on the basis of an audit of the financial record of the authority. The public health authority board shall select a certified public accountant or an accountant who is subsequently certified by the Local Government Commission to conduct the audit. The audit shall be performed in accordance with G.S. 159-34. The same method of distribution of funds described above shall apply when one or more counties of an authority withdraw from the authority.

(d)        Upon dissolution or withdrawal, all rules adopted by the board continue in effect until amended or repealed by the new authority board or boards of health.

" 130A-45.3.  Powers and duties of authority board.

(a)         A public health authority shall have all the powers necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this Part, including the following powers to:

(1)       Protect and promote the public health.  The board shall have the authority to adopt rules necessary for that purpose.

(2)       Construct, equip, operate, and maintain public health facilities.

(3)       Use property owned or controlled by the authority.

(4)       Acquire real or personal property, including existing public health facilities, by purchase, grant, gift, devise, lease or, with the permission of the county commissioners, condemnation.

(5)       Establish a fee schedule for services received from public health facilities and make services available regardless of ability to pay.

(6)       Appoint a public health authority director to serve at the pleasure of the authority board.

(7)       Establish a salary plan which shall set the salaries for employees of the area authority.

(8)       To adopt and enforce a professional reimbursement policy which may include the following provisions:  (i) require that fees for the provision of services received directly under the supervision of the public health authority shall be paid to the authority, (ii) prohibit employees of the public health authority from providing services on a private basis which require the use of the resources and facilities of the public health authority, and (iii) provide that employees may not accept dual compensation and dual employment unless they have the written permission of the public health authority director.

(9)       Delegate to its agents or employees any powers or duties as it may deem appropriate.

(10)     Employ its own counsel and legal staff.

(11)     Adopt, amend, and repeal bylaws for the conduct of its business.

(12)     Enter into contracts for necessary supplies, equipment, or services for the operation of its business.

(13)     Act as an agent for the federal, State, or local government in connection with the acquisition, construction, operation, or management of a public health facility, or any part thereof.

(14)     Insure the property or the operations of the authority against risks as the authority may deem advisable.

(15)     Sue and be sued.

(16)     Accept donations or money, personal property, or real estate for the benefit of the authority and to take title to the same from any person, firm, corporation, or society.

(17)     Appoint advisory boards, committees, and councils composed of qualified and interested residents of the authority service area to study, interpret, and advise the public health authority board.

(b)        A public health authority shall have the power to establish and operate health care networks and may contract with or enter into any arrangement with other public health authorities or local health departments of this or other states, federal, or other public agencies, or with any person, private organization, or nonprofit corporation or association for the provision of public health services, including managed health care activities; provided, however, that for the purposes of this subsection only, a public health authority shall be permitted to and shall comply with the requirements of Article 67 of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes to the extent that such requirements apply to the activities undertaken by the public health authority pursuant to this subsection.   The public health authority may pay for or contribute its share of the cost of any such contract or arrangement from revenues available for these purposes, including revenues arising from the provision of public health services.

(c)        A public health authority may lease any public health facility, or part, to a nonprofit association on terms and conditions consistent with the purposes of this Part. The authority will determine the length of the lease. No lease executed under this subsection shall be deemed to convey a freehold interest.

(d)        A public health authority shall neither sell nor convey any rights of ownership the county has in any public health facility, including the buildings, land, and equipment associated with the facility, to any corporation or other business entity operated for profit, except that nothing herein shall prohibit the sale of surplus buildings, surplus land, or surplus equipment by an authority to any corporation or other business entity operated for profit.  For purposes of this subsection, 'surplus' means any building, land, or equipment which is not required for use in the delivery of public health care services by a public health facility at the time of the sale or conveyance of ownership rights.

(e)        A public health authority may lease any public health facility, or part, to any corporation, foreign or domestic, authorized to do business in North Carolina on terms and conditions consistent with the purposes of this Part and with G.S. 160A-272.

(f)         A public health authority may exercise any or all of the powers conferred upon it by this Part, either generally or with respect to any specific public health facility or facilities, through or by designated agents, including any corporation or corporations which are or shall be formed under the laws of this State.

(g)        An authority may contract to insure itself and any of its board members, agents, or employees against liability for wrongful death or negligent or intentional damage to person or property or against absolute liability for damage to person or property caused by an act or omission of the authority or of any of its board members, agents, or employees when acting within the scope of their authority and the course of their employment. The board shall determine what liabilities and what members, agents, and employees shall be covered by any insurance purchased pursuant to this subsection.

Purchase of insurance pursuant to this subsection waives the authority's governmental immunity, to the extent of insurance coverage, for any act or omission occurring in the exercise of a governmental function. Participation in a local government risk pool pursuant to Article 23 of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes shall be deemed to be the purchase of insurance for the purposes of this section. By entering into an insurance contract with the authority, an insurer waives any defense based upon the governmental immunity of the authority.

(h)        If an authority has waived its governmental immunity pursuant to subsection (g) of this section, any person, or in the event of death, their personal representative, sustaining damages as a result of an act or omission of the authority or any of its board members, agents, or employees, occurring in the exercise of a governmental function, may sue the authority for recovery of damages. To the extent of the coverage of insurance purchased pursuant to subsection (g) of this section, governmental immunity may not be a defense to the action. Otherwise, however, the authority has all defenses available to private litigants in any action brought pursuant to this section without restriction, limitation, or other effect, whether the defense arises from common law or by virtue of a statute.

Despite the purchase of insurance as authorized by subsection (g) of this section, the liability of an authority for acts or omissions occurring in the exercise of governmental functions does not attach unless the plaintiff waives the right to have all issues of law or fact relating to insurance in the action determined by a jury. The judge shall hear and determine these issues without resort to a jury, and the jury shall be absent during any motion, argument, testimony, or announcement of findings of fact or conclusions of law relating to these issues unless the defendant requests a jury trial on them.

" 130A-45.4.  Appointment of a public health authority director.

(a)         A public health authority board, after consulting with the appropriate county board or boards of commissioners, shall appoint a public health authority director.

(b)        All persons who are appointed to the position of public health authority director must possess minimum education and experience requirements for that position, as follows:

(1)       A medical doctorate; or

(2)       A masters degree in Public Health Administration, and at least one year of employment experience in health programs or health services; or

(3)       A masters degree in a public health discipline other than public health administration, and at least three years of employment experience in health programs or health services; or

(4)       A masters degree in public administration, and at least two years of experience in health programs or health services; or

(5)       A masters degree in a field related to public health, and at least three years of experience in health programs or health services; or

(6)       A bachelors degree in public health administration or public administration and at least three years of experience in health programs or health services.

(c)        Before appointing a person to the position of public health authority director under subdivision (a)(5) of this section, the authority board shall forward the application and other pertinent materials of such candidate to the State Health Director. If the State Health Director determines that the candidate's masters degree is in a field not related to public health, the State Health Director shall so notify the authority board in writing within 15 days of the State Health Director's receipt of the application and materials, and such candidate shall be deemed not to meet the education requirements of subdivision (a)(5) of this section. If the State Health Director fails to act upon the application within 15 days of receipt of the application and materials from the authority board, the application shall be deemed approved with respect to the education requirements of subdivision (a)(5) of this section, and the authority board may proceed with the appointment process.

(d)        The State Health Director shall review requests of educational institutions to determine whether a particular masters degree offered by the requesting institution is related to public health for the purposes of subdivision (a)(5) of this section. The State Health Director shall act upon such requests within 90 days of receipt of the request and pertinent materials from the institution, and shall notify the institution of its determination in writing within the 90-day review period. If the State Health Director determines that an institution's particular masters degree is not related to public health, the State Health Director shall include the reasons therefor in his written determination to the institution.

(e)        When an authority board fails to appoint a public health authority director within 60 days of the creation of a vacancy, the State Health Director may appoint an authority director to serve until the authority board appoints an authority director in accordance with this section.

" 130A-45.5.  Powers and duties of a public health authority director.

(a)         The public health authority director is an employee of the authority board and shall serve at the pleasure of the authority board.

(b)        An authority health director shall perform public health duties prescribed by and under the supervision of the public health authority board and the Department and shall be employed full time in the field of public health.

(c)        An authority health director shall have the following powers and duties:

(1)       To administer programs as directed by the public health authority board;

(2)       To enforce the rules of the public health authority board;

(3)       To investigate the causes of infectious, communicable, and other diseases;

(4)       To exercise quarantine authority and isolation authority pursuant to G.S. 130A-145;

(5)       To disseminate public health information and to promote the benefits of good health;

(6)       To advise local officials concerning public health matters;

(7)       To enforce the immunization requirements of Part 2 of Article 7 of this Chapter;

(8)       To examine and investigate cases of venereal disease pursuant to Parts 3 and 4 of Article 6 of this Chapter;

(9)       To examine and investigate cases of tuberculosis pursuant to Part 5 of Article 6 of this Chapter;

(10)     To examine, investigate, and control rabies pursuant to Part 6 of Article 6 of this Chapter;

(11)     To abate public health nuisances and imminent hazards pursuant to G.S. 130A-19 and G.S. 130A-20; and

(12)     To employ, discipline, and dismiss employees of the public health authority.

(d)        Authority conferred upon a public health authority director may be exercised only within the county or counties comprising the public health authority.

" 130A-45.6.  Boundaries of the authority.

A public health authority may provide or contract to provide public health services and to acquire, construct, establish, enlarge, improve, maintain, own, or operate, and contract for the operation of any public health facilities outside the territorial limits, within reasonable limitation, of the county or counties creating the authority, but in no case shall a public health authority be held liable for damages to those outside the territorial limits of the county or counties creating the authority for failure to provide any public health service.

" 130A-45.7.  Medical review committee.

(a)         A member of a duly appointed medical review committee who acts without malice or fraud shall not be subject to liability for damages in any civil action on account of any act, statement, or proceeding undertaken, made, or performed within the scope of the functions of the committee.

(b)        The proceedings of a medical review committee, the records and materials it produces and the materials it considers shall be confidential and not considered public records within the meaning of G.S. 132-1, '"Public records"defined', and shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil action against a public health authority or a provider of professional health services which results from matters which are the subject of evaluation and review by the committee. No person who was in attendance at a meeting of the committee shall be required to testify in any civil action as to any evidence or other matters produced or presented during the proceedings of the committee or as to any findings, recommendations, evaluations, opinions, or other actions of the committee or its members. However, information, documents, or records otherwise available are not immune from discovery or use in a civil action merely because they were presented during proceedings of the committee. A member of the committee or a person who testifies before the committee may testify in a civil action but cannot be asked about his testimony before the committee or any opinions formed as a result of the committee hearings.

" 130A-45.8.  Confidentiality of patient information.

(a)         Medical records compiled and maintained by public health authorities in connection with the admission, treatment, and discharge of individual patients are not public records as defined by Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.

(b)        Charges, accounts, credit histories, and other personal financial records compiled and maintained by public health authorities in connection with the admission, treatment, and discharge of individual patients are not public records as defined by Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.

" 130A-45.9.  Confidentiality of personnel information.

(a)         Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the personnel files of employees or former employees and the files of applicants for employment maintained by a public health authority are not public records as defined by Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.

(b)        The following information with respect to each employee of a public health authority is a matter of public record: name; age; date of original employment or appointment; beginning and ending dates, position title, position descriptions, and total compensation of current and former positions; and date of the most recent promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position classification. In addition, the following information with respect to each licensed medical provider employed by or having privileges to practice in a public health facility shall be a matter of public record: educational history and qualifications, date and jurisdiction or original and current licensure; and information relating to medical board certifications or other qualifications of medical specialists.

(c)        Information regarding the qualifications, competence, performance, character, fitness, or conditions of appointment of an independent contractor who provides health care services under a contract with a public health authority is not a public record as defined by Chapter 132 of the General Statutes. Information regarding a hearing or investigation of a complaint, charge, or grievance by or against an independent contractor who provides health care services under a contract with a public health authority is not a public record as defined by Chapter 132 of the General Statutes. Final action making an appointment or discharge or removal by a public health authority having final authority for the appointment or discharge or removal shall be taken in an open meeting, unless otherwise exempted by law. The following information with respect to each independent contractor of health care services of a public health authority is a matter of public record: name; age; date of original contract; beginning and ending dates; position title; position descriptions; and total compensation of current and former positions; and the date of the most recent promotion, demotion, transfer, suspension, separation, or other change in position classification.

" 130A-45.10.  Confidentiality of credentialing information.

Information acquired by a public health authority or by persons acting for or on behalf of a public health authority in connection with the credentialing and peer review of persons having or applying for privileges to practice in a public health facility is confidential and is not a public record under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes; provided that information otherwise available to the public shall not become confidential merely because it was acquired by the authority or by persons acting for or on behalf of the authority.

" 130A-45.11.  Confidentiality of competitive health care information.

Information relating to competitive health care activities by or on behalf of public health authorities shall be confidential and not a public record under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes; provided that any contract entered into by or on behalf of a public health authority shall be a public record unless otherwise exempted by law."

Section 2.  (a)      G.S. 130A-2(4) reads as rewritten:

"(4)      'Local board of health' means a district board of health or a public health authority board or a county board of health."

(b)       G.S. 130A-2(5) reads as rewritten:

"(5)      'Local health department' means a district health department or a public health authority or a county health department."

Section 3.  G.S. 105-164.14(c)(9) reads as written:

"(9)      A district health department. district health department, or a public health authority created pursuant to Part 1A of Article 2 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes."

Section 4.  G.S. 128-37 reads as rewritten:

" 128-37. Membership of employees of district health departments. district health departments or public health authorities.

Under such rules and regulations as the Board of Trustees shall establish and promulgate, the boards of county commissioners of any group of counties composing a district health department, or the governing board of any public health authority,or the board of county commissioners of any county as to county boards of health, or the governing authorities of any county and/or city as to city-county boards of health, may elect that employees of such health departments may be members of the North Carolina Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System to the extent of that part of their compensation paid by the various counties composing said district health department."

Section 5.  G.S. 153A-77.1 reads as rewritten:

" 153A-77.1.  Single portal of entry.

A county may develop for human services a single portal of entry, a consolidated case management system, and a common data base; provided that if the county is part of a district health department or multicounty public health authority or a multi-county multicounty area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse authority, such action must be approved by the district board of health or public health authority board or the area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse board to affect any matter within the jurisdiction of that board.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate a patient's right to confidentiality as provided by law."

Section 6.  G.S. 153A-149(13) reads as rewritten:

"(13)   Health. -- To provide for the county's share of maintaining and administering services offered by or through the county or district local health department."

Section 7.  G.S. 106-266.17 reads as rewritten:

" 106-266.17. Marketing agreements not to be deemed illegal or in restraint of trade; conflicting laws.

The making of marketing agreements between producers' cooperative marketing associations and distributors and producer- distributors under the provisions of this Article shall not be deemed  a combination in restraint of trade or an illegal monopoly, or an attempt to lessen competition or fix prices arbitrarily nor shall the marketing contract or agreements between the association and the distributors and producer-distributors, or any agreements authorized in this Article, be considered illegal or in restraint of trade. All laws and clauses of laws in conflict with the provisions of this Article are hereby repealed to the extent necessary for the full operation of this Article. No provisions of this Article shall be deemed in conflict with Articles 28 and 28A of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes. No provisions of this Article shall be deemed in conflict with the authority granted to county, city-county and district local boards of health by G.S. 130-19, 130-20, 130-66, to make and enforce rules and regulations governing milk sanitation or with the authority granted to the Department of Human Resources by G.S. 130-3 to make sanitary inquiries and investigations."

Section 8.  G.S. 88-28.1 reads as rewritten:

" 88-28.1.  Restraining orders against persons engaging in illegal practices.

If it is found that any licensed cosmetologist, cosmetic art shop, or other person subject to the provisions of this Chapter is violating any rules and regulations adopted by the State Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners or any provisions of G.S. 88-28, then the Department of Human Resources, any county or district local health director, or the State Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners shall give notice to the person of the violation and apply to the superior court for injunctive relief to restrain such person from continuing such illegal practices. If, upon such application, it shall appear to the court that such person has violated and/or is violating any of the said rules and regulations or any provisions of Chapter 88, section 28, of the General Statutes of North Carolina G.S. 88-28, the court may issue an order restraining any further violations thereof. All such actions  for injunctive relief shall be governed by the provisions of Article 37 of Chapter 1 of the General Statutes: Provided, such injunctive relief may be granted regardless of whether criminal prosecution has been or may be instituted under any of the provisions of this Chapter. Actions under this section shall be commenced in the county in which the respondent resides or has his principal place of business or in which the alleged acts occurred."

Section 9.  G.S. 143-215.7 reads as rewritten:

" 143-215.7. Effect on laws applicable to public water supplies and the sanitary disposal of sewage.

This Article shall not be construed as amending, repealing, or in any manner abridging or interfering with the provisions of Article 10 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes relating to the control of public water supplies; nor shall the provisions of this Article be construed as being applicable to or in anywise affecting the authority of the Department to control the sanitary disposal of sewage as provided in Article 11 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes, or as affecting the powers, duties and authority of city, county, county-city and district local health departments usually referred to as local health departments or as affecting the charter powers, or other lawful authority of municipal corporations, to pass ordinances in regard to sewage disposal."

Section 10.  G.S. 130A-140 reads as rewritten:

" 130A-140.  Local health directors to report.

A local health director shall report to the Department all cases of diseases or conditions or laboratory findings of residents of the jurisdiction of the local health department which are reported to the local health director pursuant to this Article.  A local health director shall report all other cases and laboratory findings reported pursuant to this Article to the local health director of the county or district county, district, or authority where the person with the reportable disease or condition or laboratory finding resides."

Section 11.  G.S. 120-196 reads as rewritten:

" 120-196.  (See editor's note) Commission duties.

The Commission shall study the availability and accessibility of public health services to all citizens throughout the State. In conducting the study the Commission shall:

(1)       Determine whether the public health services currently available in each county or district local health department conform to the mission and essential services established under G.S. 130A-1.1;

(2)       Study the workforce needs of each county or district health local department, including salary levels, professional credentials, and continuing education requirements, and determine the impact that shortages of public health professional personnel have on the delivery of public health services in county and district local health departments;

(3)       Review the status and needs of local health departments relative to facilities, and the need for the development of minimum standards governing the provision and maintenance of these facilities;

(4)       Propose a long-range plan for funding the public health system, which plan shall include a review and evaluation of the current structure and financing of public health in North Carolina and any other recommendations the Commission deems appropriate based on its study activities;

(5)       Conduct any other studies or evaluations the Commission considers necessary to effectuate its purpose; and

(6)       Study the capacity of small counties to meet the core public health functions mandated by current State and federal law. The Commission shall consider whether the current county and district local health departments should be organized into a network of larger multidistrict community administrative units. In making its recommendations on this study, the Commission shall consider whether the State should establish minimum populations for local health departments, and if so, shall recommend the number of and configuration for these multicounty administrative units and shall recommend a series of incentives to ease county transition into these new arrangements."

Section 12.  Any county which, on or prior to July 1, 1997, established a hospital authority board composed of no more than seven members under the provisions of Part B of Article 2 of Chapter 131E of the General Statutes may, by resolution adopted by its board of county commissioners and with the approval of the State Health Director, assign that authority board the power, duties, and responsibilities to provide public health services as outlined in G.S. 130A-1.1.  Thereafter, such authority board shall act as the local board of health for the county together with such additional powers, duties, and authority assigned to it by the board of county commissioners.

Section 13.  This act becomes effective January 1, 1998, and applies to contracts and agreements entered into on or after that date.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 28th day of August, 1997.

s/   Marc Basnight

President Pro Tempore of the Senate

 

s/   Harold J. Brubaker

Speaker of the House of Representatives

 

s/   James B. Hunt, Jr.

Governor

 

Approved 4:32 p.m. this 11th day of September, 1997