(a) When a patient who resides in Castro County is admitted to a district facility,
the board shall have an inquiry made into the circumstances of:
(1) the patient; and
(2) the patient's relatives who are legally liable for the patient's support.
(b) If an agent designated by the district to handle the inquiry determines that the
patient or those relatives cannot pay all or part of the costs of the patient's care
and treatment in the hospital, the amount of the costs that cannot be paid becomes
a charge against the district.
(c) If it is determined that the patient or those relatives are liable to pay for
all or part of the costs of the patient's care and treatment, the patient or those
relatives shall be ordered to pay to the district's treasurer a specified amount each
week for the patient's support. The amount ordered must be proportionate to the person's financial ability and may
not exceed the actual per capita cost of maintenance.
(d) The district may collect the amount from the patient's estate, or from any relative
who is legally liable for the patient's support, in the manner provided by law for
the collection of expenses of the last illness of a deceased person.
(e) If there is a dispute as to the ability to pay, or doubt in the mind of the district's
designated agent, the board shall hold a hearing and, after calling witnesses, shall:
(1) resolve the dispute or doubt; and
(2) issue an appropriate order.
(f) Either party to the dispute may appeal the order to the district court.
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