Senate Bill No. 170
(By Senators Tomblin, Mr. President, and Sprouse,
By Request of the Executive)
[Passed March 9, 2006; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §16-29G-1, §16-29G-2,
§16-29G-3, §16-29G-4, §16-29G-5, §16-29G-6, §16-29G-7 and §16-
29G-8, all relating to the establishment of the West Virginia
Health Information Network; establishing purpose of the
network; setting up a board of directors; establishing
membership of the board; terms of office of the board;
permitting promulgation of legislative rules; establishing the
powers and duties of the network; setting up a special revenue
account; immunity from liability; property rights; dispute
resolution; and confidentiality and privacy of records.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-29G-1, §16-29G-2,
§16-29G-3, §16-29G-4, §16-29G-5, §16-29G-6, §16-29G-7 and §16-29G-8, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 29G. WEST VIRGINIA HEALTH INFORMATION NETWORK.
(a) The purpose of this article is to create the West Virginia
Health Information Network under the oversight of the Health Care
Authority to promote the design, implementation, operation and
maintenance of a fully interoperable statewide network to facilitate
public and private use of health care information in the state.
(b) It is intended that the network be a public-private
partnership for the benefit of all of the citizens of this state.
(c) The network is envisioned to support and facilitate the
following types of electronic transactions or activities:
(1) Automatic drug-drug interaction and allergy alerts;
(2) Automatic preventive medicine alerts;
(3) Electronic access to the results of laboratory, X ray, or
other diagnostic examinations;
(4) Disease management;
(5) Disease surveillance and reporting;
(6) Educational offerings for health care providers;
(7) Health alert system and other applications related to
(8) Links to evidence-based medical practice;
(9) Links to patient educational materials;
(10) Medical record information transfer to other providers
with the patient's consent;
(11) Physician order entry;
(12) Prescription drug tracking;
(13) Registries for vital statistics, cancer, case management,
immunizations and other public health registries;
(14) Secured electronic consultations between providers and
(15) A single-source insurance credentialing system for health
(16) Electronic health care claims submission and processing;
(17) Any other electronic transactions or activities as
determined by legislative rules promulgated pursuant to this
(d) The network shall ensure the privacy of patient health care
§16-29G-2. Creation of West Virginia Health Information Network
board of directors; powers of the board of directors.
(a) The network is created under the Health Care Authority for
administrative, personnel and technical support purposes. The
network shall be managed and operated by a board of directors. The
board of directors is an independent, self-sustaining board with the
powers specified in this article.
(b) The board is part-time. Each member shall devote the time
necessary to carry out the duties and obligations of members on the
(c) Members appointed by the Governor may pursue and engage in
another business or occupation or gainful employment that is not in conflict with his or her duties as a member of the board.
(d) The board shall meet at such times as the chair may decide.
Eight members of the board are a quorum for the purposes of the
transaction of business and for the performance of any duty.
(e) A majority vote of the members present is required for any
final determination by the board. Voting by proxy is not allowed.
(f) The Governor may remove any board member for incompetence,
misconduct, gross immorality, misfeasance, malfeasance or
nonfeasance in office.
(g) The board shall consist of seventeen members, designated
(1) The Dean of the West Virginia University School of Medicine
or his or her designee;
(2) The Dean of the Marshall University John C. Edwards School
of Medicine or his or her designee;
(3) The President of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic
Medicine or his or her designee;
(4) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human
Resources or his or her designee;
(5) The President of the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy or his
or her designee;
(6) The Director of the Public Employees Insurance Agency or
his or her designee;
(7) The Chief Technology Officer of the Office of Technology
or his or her designee;
(8) The Chair of the Health Care Authority or his or her designee;
(9) The President of the West Virginia Hospital Association or
his or her designee;
(10) The President of the West Virginia State Medical
Association or his or her designee;
(11) The Chief Executive Officer of the West Virginia Health
Care Association or his or her designee;
(12) The Executive Director of the West Virginia Primary Care
Association or his or her designee; and
(13) Five public members that serve at the will and pleasure
of the Governor and are appointed by the Governor with advice and
consent of the Senate as follows:
(i) One member with legal expertise in matters concerning the
privacy and security of health care information;
(ii) Two physicians actively engaged in the practice of
medicine in the state;
(iii) One member engaged in the business of health insurance
who is employed by a company that has its headquarters in West
(iv) The chief executive officer of a West Virginia corporation
working with West Virginia health care providers, insurers,
businesses and government to facilitate the use of information
technology to improve the quality, efficiency and safety of health
care for West Virginians.
(h) The Governor shall appoint one of the board members to
serve as chair of the board at the Governor's will and pleasure. The board shall annually select one of its members to serve as vice
chair. The Chair of the Health Care Authority shall serve as the
secretary-treasurer of the board.
(i) The public members of the board shall serve a term of four
years and may serve two consecutive terms. At the end of a term,
a member of the board shall continue to serve until a successor is
appointed. Those members designated in subdivisions (1) through
(12), inclusive, subsection (g) of this section shall serve on the
board only while holding the position that entitle them to
membership on the board.
(j) The board may propose the adoption or amendment of rules
to the Health Care Authority to carry out the objectives of this
(k) The board may appoint committees or subcommittees to
investigate and make recommendations to the full board. Members of
such committees or subcommittees need not be members of the board.
(l) Each member of the board and the board's committees and
subcommittees is entitled to be reimbursed for actual and necessary
expenses incurred for each day or portion thereof engaged in the
discharge of official duties in a manner consistent with guidelines
of the Travel Management Office of the Department of Administration.
§16-29G-3. Powers and duties.
The network shall have the following duties:
(1) To develop a community-based health information network to
facilitate communication of patient clinical and financial
information designed to:
(A) Promote more efficient and effective communication among
multiple health care providers, including, but not limited to,
hospitals, physicians, payers, employers, pharmacies, laboratories
and other health care entities;
(B) Create efficiencies in health care costs by eliminating
redundancy in data capture and storage and reducing administrative,
billing and data collection costs;
(C) Create the ability to monitor community health status; and
(D) Provide reliable information to health care consumers and
purchasers regarding the quality and cost-effectiveness of health
care, health plans and health care providers;
(2) To develop or design other initiatives in furtherance of
the network's purpose;
(3) To report and make recommendations to the Health Care
The network is granted all other incidental powers, including,
but not limited to, the following:
(A) Make and enter into all contracts and agreements and
execute all instruments necessary or incidental to the performance
of its duties and the execution of its powers, subject to the
availability of funds: Provided, That the provisions of article
three, chapter five-a of this code do not apply to the agreements
and contracts executed under the provisions of this article;
(B) Acquire by gift or purchase, hold or dispose of real and
personal property in the exercise of its powers and performance of
its duties as set forth in this article;
(C) Receive and dispense funds appropriated for its use by the
Legislature or other funding sources or solicit, apply for and
receive any funds, property or services from any person,
governmental agency or organization to carry out its statutory
(D) Represent the state with respect to national health
information network initiatives;
(E) Perform any and all other activities in furtherance of its
purpose or as directed by the Health Care Authority.
§16-29G-4. Creation of the West Virginia Health Information
Network account; authorization of Health Care
Authority to expend funds to support the network.
(a) All moneys collected shall be deposited in a special
revenue account in the State Treasury known as the West Virginia
Health Information Network Account. Expenditures from the fund
shall be for the purposes set forth in this article and are not
authorized from collections but are to be made only in accordance
with appropriation by the Legislature and in accordance with the
provisions of article three, chapter twelve of this code and upon
fulfillment of the provisions of article two, chapter eleven-b of
this code: Provided, That for the fiscal year ending the thirtieth
day of June, two thousand seven, expenditures are authorized from
collections rather than pursuant to appropriations by the
(b) Consistent with section eight, article twenty-nine-b of
this chapter, the Health Care Authority's provision of administrative, personnel, technical and other forms of support to
the network is necessary to support the activities of the Health
Care Authority board and constitutes a legitimate, lawful purpose
of the Health Care Authority board. Therefore, the Health Care
Authority is hereby authorized to expend funds from its Health Care
Cost Review Fund, established under section eight, article
twenty-nine-b of this chapter, to support the network's
administrative, personnel and technical needs and any other network
activities the Health Care Authority deems necessary.
§16-29G-5. Immunity from suit; limitation of liability.
The network is not a health care provider and is not subject
to claims under article seven-b, chapter fifty-five of this code.
No person who participates or subscribes to the services or
information provided by the network is liable in any action for
damages or costs of any nature, in law or equity, which result
solely from that person's use or failure to use network information
or data that was imputed or retrieved in accordance with the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and any
amendments and regulations under the act, state confidentiality laws
and the rules of the network as approved by the Health Care
Authority. In addition, no person is subject to antitrust or unfair
competition liability based on membership or participation in the
network, which provides an essential governmental function for the
public health and safety and enjoys state action immunity.
§16-29G-6. Property rights.
(a) All persons providing information and data to the network shall retain a property right in that information or data, but grant
to the other participants or subscribers a nonexclusive license to
retrieve and use that information or data in accordance with the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and any
amendments and regulations under the act, state confidentiality laws
and the rules proposed by the Health Care Authority.
(b) All processes or software developed, designed or purchased
by the network shall remain its property subject to use by
participants or subscribers in accordance with the rules or
regulations proposed by the Health Care Authority.
§16-29G-7. Legislative rule-making authority; resolution of
(a) The Health Care Authority is hereby authorized to propose
rules under and pursuant to article twenty-nine-b of this chapter
to carry out the objectives of this article.
(b) To resolve disputes under this article or the rules
proposed herein among participants, subscribers or the public, the
Health Care Authority is hereby authorized to conduct hearings and
render decisions under and pursuant to section twelve, article
twenty-nine-b of this chapter.
§16-29G-8. Privacy; protection of information.
(a) The Health Care Authority shall ensure that patient
specific protected health information be disclosed only in
accordance with the patient's authorization or best interest to
those having a need to know, in compliance with state
confidentiality laws and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and any amendments and regulations under
(b) The health information, data and records of the network
shall be exempt from disclosure under the provisions of chapter
twenty-nine-b of this code.