Senate Bill No. 563

(By Senators Prezioso, Unger, Redd, Minear, McKenzie, McCabe, Dawson, Sharpe, Ross, Ball, Kessler, Edgell, Dittmar, Snyder, Minard, Anderson, Fanning, Helmick, Bowman, Plymale, Bailey, Sprouse, Oliverio and Tomblin, Mr. President)


[Introduced February 21, 2000; referred to the Committee on Government Organization; and then to the Committee on Finance.]

A BILL to amend chapter sixteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated article one-a, relating to creating the office of women's health within the bureau of public health; definitions; purpose and duties; and appointment of staff and advisory committee.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter sixteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated article one-a, to read as follows:
§16-1A-1. Definitions.
As used in this article:
(a) "Bureau" means the bureau of public health;
(b) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the bureau of public health;
(c) "Office" means the office of women's health.
§16-1A-2. Office of Women's Health established.
The office of women's health is established within the state bureau of public health.
§16-1A-3. Purpose and duties of Office of Women's Health.
The office is established for the following purposes:
(a) To educate and advocate for women's health by requesting that the bureau, either on its own or in partnership with other entities, establish appropriate forums, programs, or initiatives designed to educate the public regarding women's health, with an emphasis on preventive health and healthy lifestyles;
(b) To assist the commissioner in identifying, coordinating, and establishing priorities for programs, services and resources the state should provide for women's health issues and concerns relating to the reproductive, menopausal, and postmenopausal phases of a woman's life, with an emphasis on postmenopausal health;
(c) To serve as a clearinghouse and resource for information regarding women's health data, strategies, services, and programs that address women's health issues, including the following:
(1) Diseases that significantly impact women, including heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome;
(2) Menopause;
(3) Mental health;
(4) Substance abuse;
(5) Sexually transmitted diseases;
(6) Sexual assault and domestic violence;
(d) To collect, classify and analyze relevant research information and data conducted or compiled by:
(1) The bureau; or
(2) Other entities in collaboration with the bureau; and to provide interested persons with information regarding the research results, except as prohibited by law;
(e) To develop and recommend funding and program activities for educating the public on women's health initiatives, including the following:
(1) Health needs throughout a woman's life;
(2) Diseases that significantly affect women, including heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome;
(3) Access to health care for women;
(4) Poverty and women's health;
(5) The leading causes of morbidity and mortality for women; (6) Special health concerns of minority women;
(f) To make recommendations to the commissioner regarding programs that address women's health issues for inclusion in the bureau's biennial budget and strategic planning;
(g) To seek funding from private or governmental entities to carry out the purposes of this article;
(h) To prepare materials for publication and dissemination to the public on women's health;
(i) To conduct public educational forums in West Virginia to raise public awareness and to educate citizens about women's health programs, issues and services;
(j) To coordinate the activities and programs of the office with other entities that focus on women's health or women's issues, including the West Virginia women's commission;
(k) To represent the commissioner, upon request, before the Legislature and the West Virginia women's commission;
(l) To provide an annual report to the governor, the Legislature, and the West Virginia women's commission regarding the successes of the programs of the office, priorities and services needed for women's health in West Virginia, and areas for improvement.
This section does not allow the director or any employees of the office to advocate, promote, refer to or otherwise advance abortion or abortifacients.
§16-1A-4. Appointment of staff.
(a) The commissioner shall appoint persons to staff the office, including:
(1) The director of the office; and
(2) Any other employees that the commissioner determines are necessary.
(b) The employees appointed under subdivision (2), subsection (a) of this article shall report to the director. The director shall report to the commissioner.
(c) The director shall supervise the employees assigned to the office.
(d) The director shall oversee the administrative functions of the office.
§16-1A-5. Appointment of advisory committee.
(a) The commissioner shall appoint an advisory committee on women's health to assist in advising the director regarding the duties required under this article.
(b) The advisory committee shall be comprised of persons with an expertise in and a knowledge of women's health issues in West Virginia.
(c) The commissioner shall:
(1) Determine the number of persons to serve on the advisory committee;
(2) Appoint a chairperson or cochairpersons for the advisory committee; and
(3) Establish the policies and procedures under which the advisory committee operates.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the Office of Women's Health within the Bureau of Public Health.

This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.