West Virginia Code
The Legislature finds that there is a need for a more comprehensive and uniform approach to any screening conducted by physicians and midwives to discover at-risk and high-risk pregnancies. A uniform approach would simplify the process, standardize the procedure and better identify those pregnancies that need more in-depth care and monitoring. Additionally, a uniform application would provide better and more measurable data regarding at-risk and high-risk pregnancies. This would allow public health officials to gain a better understanding of those conditions that are most frequently observed and to develop methodology to address those concerns.
(a) There is hereby created within the Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health, Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health the advisory council on maternal risk assessment to provide assistance in the development of a uniform maternal risk screening tool.
(b) The Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health is charged with convening the advisory council at least annually and providing administrative and technical assistance to the advisory council as needed. The members of the advisory council shall be appointed by the Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health.
(c) The advisory council shall be comprised of:
(1) At least one private provider of maternity services;
(2) At least one public provider of maternity services;
(3) One representative from each of the state's three medical schools;
(4) The Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health or his or her designee;
(5) The Director of the Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health or his or her designee;
(6) At least one representative of a tertiary care center;
(7) At least one representative of a facility with a level I or II obstetrical unit;
(8) At least one certified nurse midwife;
(9) At least one allopathic or osteopathic physician who is a private provider of maternity services at a facility with a level I or level II obstetrical unit.
This advisory council shall:
(a) Advise the Bureau for Public Health, Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health with respect to the implementation of this article;
(b) Offer expert advice to the Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health on the development of a uniform risk screening tool and review the tool at least annually to offer suggested updates based upon current medical knowledge;
(c) Provide comments to the Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health on any legislative rules necessary for the accomplishment of any requirements of this article; and
(d) Develop in conjunction with the Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health a statistical matrix to measure incidents of high-risk and at-risk pregnancies for planning purposes by public health officials.
The Department of Health and Human Resources shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. The legislative rules shall include a uniform maternal risk screening tool to identify women at risk for a preterm birth or other high-risk condition.
Once developed, all health care providers offering maternity services shall be required to utilize the uniform maternal risk screening tool in their examinations of any pregnant woman. Additionally they shall notify the woman of any high-risk condition which they identify along with any necessary referral and report the results to the Bureau for Public Health, Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health in the manner provided in the legislative rule.
(a) The uniform maternal screening tool shall be confidential and shall not be released or disclosed to anyone including any state or federal agency for any reason other than data analysis of high-risk and at-risk pregnancies for planning purposes by public health officials.
(b) Proceedings, records and opinions of the advisory council are confidential and are not subject to discovery, subpoena or introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. Nothing in this subsection is to be construed to limit or restrict the right to discover or use in any civil or criminal proceeding anything that is available from another source and entirely independent of the proceedings of the advisory council.
(c) Members of the advisory council may not be questioned in any civil or criminal proceeding regarding information presented in or opinions formed as a result of a meeting of the panel. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prevent a member of the advisory council from testifying to information obtained independently of the panel or which is public information.