(a) The catastrophic illness commission shall consist of six members appointed for terms of five years by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and the ombudsman from the Department of Health and Human Resources, who shall serve as a nonvoting ex officio member. One member shall be a medical doctor licensed to practice medicine in this state, one member shall be an attorney licensed to practice law in this state, two members shall be from the public at large who are active in community affairs, one member shall be a nurse licensed to practice in this state, and one member shall be a social worker licensed in this state. The terms of office of the first appointments to the catastrophic illness commission shall be as follows: The medical doctor and attorney shall be appointed for an initial term of three years; the initial term of the nurse appointee and the licensed social worker appointee shall be four years; the initial term of the remaining members of the commission appointed by the Governor shall be five years. No more than five of the members appointed by the Governor may be from the same political party. Members of the catastrophic illness commission, other than the ex officio member, may receive expenses only up to $125 per day, not to exceed $15,000 in the aggregate per year. The commission shall meet at least quarterly and annually elect a chairperson. Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of article nine-a, chapter six of this code. Special meetings may be called. Before discharging any duties, members shall comply with the oath or affirmation requirements of article one, chapter six of this code. Members are subject to the ethical standards and financial disclosure requirements of the West Virginia governmental ethics act in chapter six-b of this code and serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor as provided in section four, article six, chapter six of this code.
(b) The catastrophic illness commission shall make an annual recommendation to the Legislature regarding appropriations from the catastrophic illness fund. This recommendation shall be made annually, in writing, to the Legislature no later than the second Wednesday of January.
(c) The commission shall appoint an executive director whose compensation shall be fixed by the commission within its budgetary appropriation. The executive director shall be classified exempt and may not be a member of the commission. The executive director may attend all meetings of the commission, as well as its committees, but has no vote on decisions or actions of the commission or its committees. The executive director shall carry out the decisions and actions of the commission, administer all affairs of the commission in accordance with its policies and discharge other duties as the commission shall from time to time determine. The commission may employ other officers, employees and clerical assistants as it considers necessary and may fix their compensation within the amounts made available by appropriation.
(d) The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources shall propose legislative rules for promulgation in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to accomplish the purpose of the James "Tiger" Morton catastrophic illness fund including, but not limited to, establishing eligibility standards for the distribution of moneys from the fund. The secretary may propose emergency rules to establish the eligibility standards.
(e) The secretary shall assist the commission in the investigation of any suspected fraud related to an application for assistance through the catastrophic illness fund.