27-6-206. Funding. (1) There is a pretrial review fund to be administered by the director exclusively for the purposes stated in this chapter. The fund and any income from it must be held in trust, deposited in an account, and invested and reinvested by the director with the prior approval of the director of the Montana medical association. The fund may not become a part of or revert to the general fund of this state but is open to auditing by the legislative auditor.
(2) (a) To create the fund, a surcharge or assessment must be levied on all health care providers. The amount of the assessment must be set annually by the director and must be apportioned among physicians, dentists, podiatrists, hospitals, and other health care providers by group. Except as provided in subsection (2)(c), for the group of all physicians, the group of all dentists, the group of all podiatrists, the group of all hospitals, and the group of all other health care facilities, the amount of the assessment must be proportionate to the respective percentage of total health care providers brought before the panel that each group constitutes. The total number and group of health care providers brought before the panel must be determined from the annual report of the panel for the years preceding the year of assessment.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (2)(c), the amount of the assessment for the group of all:
(i) hospitals must be proportionately assessed against each hospital on the basis of each hospital's total number of licensed hospital beds, whether used or not, as reflected in the most recent compilation of the department of public health and human services;
(ii) physicians must be equally assessed against all physicians;
(iii) dentists must be equally assessed against all dentists;
(iv) podiatrists must be equally assessed against all podiatrists; and
(v) other health care facilities must be equally assessed against all other health care facilities.
(c) The annual amount of the assessment levied against each health care provider may not be less than $15.
(d) Surplus funds, if any, above the amount required for the annual administration of the chapter must be retained by the director and used to finance the administration of this chapter in succeeding years, in which event the director shall reduce the annual assessment in subsequent years to not less than $15 for each health care provider, commensurate with the proper administration of this chapter.
(3) The annual surcharge must be paid on April 1 of each year. All unpaid assessments bear a late charge fee equal to the judgment rate of interest. The late charge fee is part of the annual surcharge. The panel may collect the annual surcharge by an action at law.