(1) Any affected person may request an informational hearing to be held during the course of the review period by writing to the department. The department may also hold a hearing on its own initiative.
(2) Whenever an application is received by the department, the department will publish a notice of that fact in a newspaper of general circulation in the area to be served by the proposal, unless the application is subject to comparative review with another, in which case the newspaper notice will be published after receipt of all of the applications to be comparatively reviewed. A hearing request must be received by the department within 30 calendar days after the date the newspaper notice is published.
(3) Notice of the informational hearing will be given at least 14 calendar days before the hearing date by the following means:
(a) Written notice must be sent by mail to the person requesting the hearing, the applicant, and all other applicants assigned for comparative review with the applicant, if any. Other persons who have requested notice will be notified by mail.
(b) Notice to all other affected persons will be by legal advertisement in a newspaper with general circulation in the service area affected by the application.
(c) The notice must indicate:
(i) the date of the hearing;
(ii) the time of the hearing;
(iii) the location of the hearing; and
(iv) the person to whom written comments may be sent prior to the hearing.
(4) Whenever a hearing is held for an application which is being comparatively reviewed with another application, the hearing will be conducted as a joint hearing on all such applications.
(5) Any person may comment during the hearing, and all comments made at the hearing will be tape-recorded and retained by the department until the project is completed or the certificate of need expires.
(6) The hearing will be informal, and neither the Montana Administrative Procedure Act nor the Rules of Civil Procedure will apply.
(7) Any person wishing to make a factual allegation at the hearing must first swear or affirm that his testimony is true.
(8) No person other than the department may conduct reasonable questioning of any person who makes relevant factual allegations.