West Virginia Code
1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS APPLICABLE T
1A - PROCEDURE FOR REGULATION OF OC
1B - PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO MILIT
1C - INTERSTATE MEDICAL LICENSURE C
1D - PROVISIONS AFFECTING CERTAIN B
2 - ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW
2A - MEDICAL LICENSING BOARD
3 - WEST VIRGINIA MEDICAL PRACTICE
3B - MOBILE INTENSIVE CARE PARAMEDI
3C - HEALTH CARE PEER REVIEW ORGANI
3D - PHYSICIAN HEALTH PROGRAMS
3E - PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS PRACTICE
3F - DIRECT PRIMARY CARE PRACTICE
4 - WEST VIRGINIA DENTAL PRACTICE A
4A - ADMINISTRATION OF ANESTHESIA B
4B - DENTAL LABORATORY SERVICES
5 - PHARMACISTS, PHARMACY TECHNICIA
6 - BOARD OF FUNERAL SERVICE EXAMIN
7 - REGISTERED PROFESSIONAL NURSES
7A - PRACTICAL NURSES
7B - CENTER FOR NURSING
7C - DIALYSIS TECHNICIANS
7D - MEDICATION ASSISTIVE PERSONS
7E - NURSE HEALTH PROGRAMS
7F - NURSE LICENSURE COMPACT
8 - OPTOMETRISTS
8A - EYE CARE CONSUMER PROTECTION L
9 - ACCOUNTANTS
10 - VETERINARIANS
10A - ANIMAL EUTHANASIA TECHNICIAN
11 - CHIROPODISTS-PODIATRISTS
12 - ARCHITECTS
13 - ENGINEERS
13A - LAND SURVEYORS
14 - OSTEOPATHIC PHYSICIANS AND SU
14A - ASSISTANTS TO OSTEOPATHIC PH
15 - NURSE-MIDWIVES
16 - CHIROPRACTORS
17 - SANITARIANS
18 - PRIVATE INVESTIGATIVE AND SEC
19 - FORESTERS
20 - PHYSICAL THERAPISTS
20A - ATHLETIC TRAINERS
21 - PSYCHOLOGISTS; SCHOOL PSYCHOL
22 - LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS
23 - RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGISTS
24 - QUALIFICATION OF ARMED FORCES
25 - NURSING HOME ADMINISTRATORS
26 - HEARING-AID DEALERS AND FITTE
27 - BOARD OF BARBERS AND COSMETOL
28 - WEST VIRGINIA OCCUPATIONAL TH
29 - LAW-ENFORCEMENT TRAINING AND
29A - STANDARDS FOR PROFESSIONAL F
30 - SOCIAL WORKERS
31 - LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSEL
32 - SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGISTS
33 - TATTOO STUDIO BUSINESS
34 - BOARD OF RESPIRATORY CARE PRA
35 - BOARD OF DIETITIANS
36 - ACUPUNCTURISTS
37 - MASSAGE THERAPISTS
38 - THE REAL ESTATE APPRAISER LIC
38A - APPRAISAL MANAGEMENT COMPANI
39 - UNIFORM ATHLETE AGENTS ACT
40 - WEST VIRGINIA REAL ESTATE LIC
CHAPTER 30. PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS.
ARTICLE 3A. MANAGEMENT OF INTRACTABLE PAIN.
For the purposes of this article, the words or terms defined in this section have the meanings ascribed to them. These definitions are applicable unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context.
(1) An “accepted guideline” is a care or practice guideline for pain management developed by a nationally recognized clinical or professional association or a specialty society or government-sponsored agency that has developed practice or care guidelines based on original research or on review of existing research and expert opinion. An accepted guideline also includes policy or position statements relating to pain management issued by any West Virginia board included in chapter thirty of the West Virginia Code with jurisdiction over various health care practitioners. Guidelines established primarily for purposes of coverage, payment or reimbursement do not qualify as accepted practice or care guidelines when offered to limit treatment options otherwise covered by the provisions of this article.
(2) “Board” or “licensing board” means the West Virginia Board of Medicine, the West Virginia Board of Osteopathy, the West Virginia Board of Registered Nurses or the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy.
(3) “Nurse” means a registered nurse licensed in the State of West Virginia pursuant to the provisions of article seven of this chapter.
(4) “Pain” means an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage.
(5) “Pain-relieving controlled substance” includes, but is not limited to, an opioid or other drug classified as a Schedule II through V controlled substance and recognized as effective for pain relief, and excludes any drug that has no accepted medical use in the United States or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision including, but not limited to, any drug classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.
(6) “Pharmacist” means a registered pharmacist licensed in the State of West Virginia pursuant to the provisions of article five of this chapter.
(7) “Physician” means a physician licensed in the State of West Virginia pursuant to the provisions of article three or article fourteen of this chapter.
§30-3A-2. Limitation on disciplinary sanctions or criminal punishment related to management of pain.
(a) A physician is not subject to disciplinary sanctions by a licensing board or criminal punishment by the state for prescribing, administering or dispensing pain-relieving controlled substances for the purpose of alleviating or controlling pain if:
(1) In the case of a dying patient experiencing pain, the physician practices in accordance with an accepted guideline as defined in section one of this article and discharges his or her professional obligation to relieve the dying patient’s pain and promote the dignity and autonomy of the dying patient; or
(2) In the case of a patient who is not dying and is experiencing pain, the physician discharges his or her professional obligation to relieve the patient’s pain, if the physician can demonstrate by reference to an accepted guideline that his or her practice substantially complied with that accepted guideline. Evidence of substantial compliance with an accepted guideline may be rebutted only by the testimony of a clinical expert. Evidence of noncompliance with an accepted guideline is not sufficient alone to support disciplinary or criminal action.
(b) A health care provider, as defined in section two, article seven-b, chapter fifty-five of this code, with prescriptive authority is not subject to disciplinary sanctions by a licensing board or criminal punishment by the state for declining to prescribe, or declining to continue to prescribe, any controlled substance to a patient which the health care provider with prescriptive authority is treating if the health care provider with prescriptive authority in the exercise of reasonable prudent judgment believes the patient is misusing the controlled substance in an abusive manner or unlawfully diverting a controlled substance legally prescribed for their use. (c) A licensed registered professional nurse is not subject to disciplinary sanctions by a licensing board or criminal punishment by the state for administering pain-relieving controlled substances to alleviate or control pain, if administered in accordance with the orders of a licensed physician.
(d) A licensed pharmacist is not subject to disciplinary sanctions by a licensing board or criminal punishment by the state for dispensing a prescription for a pain-relieving controlled substance to alleviate or control pain, if dispensed in accordance with the orders of a licensed physician.
(e) For purposes of this section, the term “disciplinary sanctions” includes both remedial and punitive sanctions imposed on a licensee by a licensing board, arising from either formal or informal proceedings.
(f) The provisions of this section apply to the treatment of all patients for pain, regardless of the patient’s prior or current chemical dependency or addiction. The board may develop and issue policies or guidelines establishing standards and procedures for the application of this article to the care and treatment of persons who are chemically dependent or addicted.
(a) Nothing in this article shall prohibit disciplinary action or criminal prosecution of a physician for:
(1) Failing to maintain complete, accurate, and current records documenting the physical examination and medical history of the patient, the basis for the clinical diagnosis of the patient, and the treatment plan for the patient;
(2) Writing a false or fictitious prescription for a controlled substance scheduled in article two, chapter sixty-a of this code; or
(3) Prescribing, administering, or dispensing a controlled substance in violation of the provisions of the federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C. §§801, et seq. or chapter sixty-a of this code; or
(4) Diverting controlled substances prescribed for a patient to the physician's own personal use.
(b) Nothing in this article shall prohibit disciplinary action or criminal prosecution of a nurse or pharmacist for:
(1) Administering or dispensing a controlled substance in violation of the provisions of the federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C. §§801, et seq. or chapter sixty-a of this code; or
(2) Diverting controlled substances prescribed for a patient to the nurse's or pharmacist's own personal use.
This article may not be construed to legalize, condone, authorize or approve mercy killing or assisted suicide.