January 30, 2019
From The Well

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Day 22



Several health-care related bills are moving through the legislature


Two nursing bills are poised for passage.

HB 2407 rewrites the Nurse Practice Act. The bill:

·    Prohibits the practice of nursing without a license

·    Provides for board composition and qualifications

·    Sets forth the powers and duties of the board

·    Clarifies rule-making authority

·    Establishes license and permit requirements, qualifications for licensure

·    Codifies a scope of practice

·    Creates a temporary permit

·    Provides for reciprocal licensure, establishes renewal requirements, provides for exemptions from licensure and creates a special volunteer license

·    Continues a Joint Advisory Council, provides the council’s composition, terms, powers and duties

·    Permits the board to file an injunction

·    Sets forth grounds for disciplinary actions, allows for specific disciplinary actions

·    Provides procedures for complaint investigation

·    Provides for judicial review and appeals of decisions

·    Sets forth hearing and notice requirements

·    Provides for civil causes of action

·    Provides criminal offenses are to be reported to law enforcement

·    Provides criminal penalties


Committee Substitute for HB 2531 allows a trained advanced practice nurse to provide counseling services in a medication-assisted treatment program.


HB 2510 requires the Legislative Auditor to conduct review of the fee structure of a specific board of examination or registration when its special fund exceeds twice its annual budget or $10,000, whichever is greater. It also requires the Legislative Auditor report to the Joint Standing Committee on Government Organization


HB 2525 permits a pharmacist to dispense tobacco cessation therapy under a standing prescription drug order.

Prior authorization bill to pass tomorrow in Senate


The House-passed HB 2351 is a resurrected version of a prior authorization bill vetoed last year by Gov. Jim Justice for what he said violated the contract clause of the United States Constitution and the West Virginia Constitution. Those provisions are not in this year’s House legislation.


When the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee last Thursday took up the bill, it struck the House language and inserted its own much more prescriptive provisions. The Senate version requires a comprehensive list of all procedures requiring prior authorization be listed on an insurance company’s online form, requires prior authorization for an “episode of care” and not individual procedures, states a medical director must make the ultimate prior authorization procedure decision and allows for a three-day course of non-prior-authorized prescriptions when an individual is discharged from a hospital. The bill also provides any physician performing 30 prior-authorized procedures in three months be exempted from prior authorization requirements for three months.


Anti-vaccination bill introduced

SB 454 was introduced Tuesday and referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources and then to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is similar to SB 359, which died last year. It grants exemptions from mandatory or required exemptions to school students, college and vocational students and employees of businesses requiring immunizations.

For school children, the bill provides, “A child shall be exempt from compulsory immunizations upon presentation to the child’s school any one of the following certifications.”

·    A request that “must be accompanied by the certification of a licensed physician or advanced practice nurse who has personally examined the patient.” The certification must state “that immunization is contraindicated or there exists a specific precaution to a particular vaccine.”

·    A request “signed by any parent or legal guardian of the child that the religious beliefs of the signator are contrary to the compulsory immunizations.”

·    A request “signed by any parent or legal guardian of the child … indicating that the signator has either a conscientious or personal objection to the immunization of the child.”

The higher education and employment exemptions are similar, although parental permission is not required because the student or employee is older than 18. “Employers,” according to the bill, “shall not penalize or discriminate against employees for exercising this exemption right.”


In Tuesday comments about the bill, Sen. Ron Stollings, a longtime vaccine proponent, pointed out the state of emergency in Washington State because of a measles outbreak. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mark Maynard said the bill gives parents freedom from giving their child vaccines, which he said cause autism and are made from aborted fetuses.


Senate Health reports tobacco-in-vehicles bill

Members of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee approved with amendment SB 81, which prohibits using tobacco products in an automobile when children under 18 years of age are present. The bill was amended to include vaping in the definition of tobacco and to direct the $25-secondary-offense fines from the offenses into a tobacco education fund. The bill dies each year in the Senate Judiciary Committee.


House Health reports PBM bill

The House Health and Human Resources Committee approved 2651, which requires Pharmacy Benefit Managers who do business with the Public Employees Insurance Agency to provide quarterly reports including:

The amount paid to the pharmacy provider per claim, including, but not limited to:

cost of drug reimbursement;

dispensing fees;

copayment; and

the amount charged to the plan sponsor for each claim by its pharmacy benefit manager.


If there is a difference between these amounts, the plan sponsor must report an itemization of all administrative fees, rebates, or processing charges associated with the claim.



In other action

The House of Delegates passed two Senate bills today without amendment, making Senate Bill 17 and Senate Bill 119 the first two pieces of legislation to complete legislative action for the regular session.


Senate Bill 17, if approved by Gov. Jim Justice, would allow for the option of psychological examinations to be available to certain criminals seeking parole in West Virginia. Currently, according to statute, those seeking probation must go through a series of treatments and studies. This bill would add the option of a psychological exam with the proper documentation to that list.


Senate Bill 119 specifies that documents prepared by a licensed health care provider for the purpose of improving the quality, delivery, or efficiency of health care is confidential, and is not subject to discovery in a civil action or administrative proceeding. Assessments, tests, procedures, and quality controlled documents would also be privileged information.


House Political Subdivisions

House Bill 2542 relates to permitting directors of county emergency phone systems to obtain mobile phone emergency lines. This bill would simply allow emergency phone systems such as 911 to include calls to mobile phones as well as phones connected with land lines. The committee advanced the bill, which next heads to the House Committee on Government Organization.


The committee rejected House Bill 2410, which requires county commissions to maintain websites with specific information that is available to the public at no charge.


Senate Sends Two Bills to the House

Senate Bill 63 would allow partial filling of prescriptions. The bill would allow partial filling of controlled substances listed in Schedule II.

Senate Bill 236 provide notice of eligibility to persons to vote after completion of punishment or pardon. The bill would require an agency having custody or supervisory authority over a convicted person who is ineligible to register vote to give notice of the renewed right to register to vote and a voter registration form upon release or discharge from custody.


Senate Government Organization

Today, the Government Organization Committee passed Senate Bill 90, which transfers the Safety and Treatment Program from DHHR to DMV.


Committee of the Whole to consider Omnibus Education bill Wednesday

Gov. Jim Justice held a press conference Tuesday afternoon promising to veto any bill containing charter school provisions With the threat of a gubernatorial veto looming, members of the Senate will meet as a Committee of the Whole on Wednesday to consider the omnibus education bill.


Details of how the Committee of the Whole will function started to emerge in Tuesday floor discussion. Finance Chairman Craig Blair will chair the committee. The bill will be explained on the floor of the Senate, and members will be able to ask questions and make amendments.



In the News
Today’s edition of WV Public Broadcasting’s The Legislature Today featured a discussion on the state’s continued efforts to address Substance Use Disorders. The discussion spans from funding to treatment, to job training.

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