H. B. 2174
(By Delegates J. Miller and Cowles)
[Introduced January 12, 2011; referred to the
Committee on Health and Human Resources then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §30-3-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to powers and duties of the state Board of Medicine; and interpretation of medical practice guidelines.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §30-3-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. WEST VIRGINIA MEDICAL PRACTICE ACT.
§30-3-7. Powers and duties of West Virginia Board of Medicine.
(a) The board is autonomous and, in accordance with this article, shall determine qualifications of applicants for licenses to practice medicine and surgery, to practice podiatry, and to practice as a physician assistant for a physician licensed under this article, and shall issue licenses to qualified applicants and shall regulate the professional conduct and discipline of such individuals. In carrying out its functions, the board may:
(1) Adopt such rules as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this article;
(2) Hold hearings and conduct investigations, subpoena witnesses and documents and administer oaths;
(3) Institute proceedings in the courts of this state to enforce its subpoenas for the production of witnesses and documents and its orders and to restrain and enjoin violations of this article and of any rules promulgated under it;
(4) Employ investigators, attorneys, hearing examiners, consultants and such other employees as may be necessary, who shall be exempt from the classified service of the Division of Personnel and who shall serve at the will and pleasure of the board. In addition, all personnel employed through the Department of Health and Human Resources on June 30, 2009, to provide services for the board are hereby transferred to the board effective July 1, 2009. However, the employment, salary, benefits or position classification of any person transferred under this section may not be reduced or diminished by reason of this section. All persons transferred shall retain their coverage under the classified service of the Division of Personnel and all matters relating to job classification, job tenure and conditions of employment shall remain in force and effect from and after the date of this section, to the same extent as if this section had not been reenacted. Also, nothing herein shall prohibit the disciplining or dismissal of any employee for cause.
(5) Enter into contracts and receive and disburse funds according to law;
(6) Establish and certify standards for the supervision and certification of physician assistants;
(7) Authorize medical and podiatry corporations in accordance with the limitations of section fifteen of this article to practice medicine and surgery or podiatry through duly licensed physicians or podiatrists; and
(8) Perform such other duties as are set forth in this article or otherwise provided for in this code.
(b) The board shall submit an annual report of its activities to the Legislature. The report shall include a statistical analysis of complaints received, charges investigated, charges dismissed after investigation, the grounds for each such dismissal and disciplinary proceedings and disposition.
(c) The board, on occasion of physician investigation, patient complaint, physician request for ruling, patient advocacy group request for ruling, shall interpret medical practice guidelines as whole with respect to guideline authorship protocols and legal document interpretation guidance. The investigation of such interpretation shall include a public hearing unless waived by the physician, patient, or patient advocacy group. Discrepancies by way of commission or omission, shall prompt the following actions:
(1) The discrepancies shall be reported to the authoring organization for clarification or rectification with a reasonable time limit;
(2) Should the authoring organization fail to clarify or rectify the discrepancies, those persons authoring the discrepant guideline shall be subject to section fourteen of this article; and
(3) The involved physician, patient, or patient advocacy group shall be notified of the boards actions and the rationales for such actions.
(d) The board has the following ethical duties:
(1) Each board member shall consider the health and welfare of patients as paramount;
(2) Each board member shall endeavor to make all the scientific resources available to patients;
(3) Each board member shall uphold the standards of professionalism, be honest in all professional interactions; and
(4) Each board member shall act only in the patient's interest when considering medical care which might have the effect of weakening the physical and mental condition of the patient.
(e) The board shall submit a report of its findings in response to a complaint of the lack of reliability of medical practice guidelines or customs to the physicians, podiatrists, and physicians' assistants in the state upon such determination and annually to the Legislature. The report shall include the complaint, the rationale and the changes made.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide for Board of Medicine review of certain interpretations of medical practice guidelines.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.