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Introduced Version House Bill 2299 History

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hb2299 intr
H. B. 2299


(By Delegates Hatfield and Mahan)

[Introduced February 14, 2005; referred to the

Committee on Health and Human Resouces then the Judiciary.]





A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §9-10-1, §9-10-2, §9-10-3, §9-10-4, §9-10-5, §9-10-6 and §9-10-7 , all relating to prohibiting certain nursing homes from using state funds for activities unrelated to the provision of health care services; and authorizing civil actions for enforcement; and authorizing civil penalties.

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 §9-10-1, §9-10-2, §9-10-3, §9-10-4, §9-10-5, §9-10-6 and §9-10-7 , all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 10. HEALTH CARE ONLY ACT.

§9-10-1. Use of state funds by certain nursing homes for certain activities unrelated to health care prohibited.

(a) No nursing home which provides health care and related services which are reimbursed by any West Virginia state agency or department in a total amount in excess of one hundred thousand dollars in a calendar year, referred to in the remainder of this article as a "provider," may use state funds for any activity unrelated to health care services, including political contributions, lobbying activities, travel and entertainment or efforts to assist, promote, deter or discourage union organization, referred to in the remainder of this article as "unrelated expenses."
(b) It is a violation of subsection (a) of this section if a provider conducts unrelated activities during a work day or shift in which participating employees provide services to medicaid beneficiaries or patients whose care is otherwise financed by state funds.
§9-10-2. Maintenance of records; certification.
(a) Any provider that makes expenditures to engage in unrelated activities shall maintain records sufficient to show that no state funds were used for those expenditures. The provider shall submit the records to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources upon request.
(b) All providers subject to this article shall submit a certification to the secretary that no state funds will be used for unrelated activities.
§9-10-3. Complaints and civil actions.
(a) Any person may file a complaint with the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources if he or she believes that a provider is expending funds in violation of this article. Upon the filing of the complaint, the secretary shall, within five business days, notify the provider that it must produce, within ten business days, records sufficient to show that no state funds were used for unrelated activities.
(b) A civil action for a violation of this article may be brought by the Attorney General or by any taxpayer on behalf of the people of the State of West Virginia for injunctive relief, damages, civil penalties and other appropriate equitable relief. All damages and civil penalties collected pursuant to this chapter shall be paid to the State Treasury, general fund.
(c) Before filing an action under this section, a taxpayer shall give a thirty-day written notice to the secretary of the alleged violation and the intent to bring suit. The notice may not be given until twenty days after a complaint is filed with the secretary. If the secretary commences a civil action for the same alleged violation within thirty days of receiving the notice, a separate action by the taxpayer is barred.
(d) A taxpayer may intervene as a plaintiff in any action brought under this section.
(e) A prevailing plaintiff in any action under this section is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs. A prevailing taxpayer intervenor who makes a substantial contribution to an action under this section is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
§9-10-4. Penalties.
(a) A provider is liable to the State for the amount of any funds expended in violation of this article plus a civil penalty equal to twice the amount of those funds. For purposes of accounting for expenditures, if state funds and other funds are commingled, any expenditures on unrelated activities shall be allocated between state funds and other funds on a pro rata basis.
(b) Any individual who knowingly authorizes the use of state funds in violation of this article is liable to the State for the amount of those funds.
§9-10-5. Included activities.
For purposes of this article, any expense, including legal and consulting fees and salaries of supervisors and employees, incurred for research for, or preparation, planning or coordination of, or carrying out, unrelated activities shall be treated as paid or incurred for that activity.
§9-10-6. Expenses not subject to the prohibition.
(a) The provisions of this article do not apply to an activity performed, or to an expense incurred, in connection with any of the following:
(1) Addressing a grievance or negotiating or administering a collective bargaining agreement; or
(2) Performing an activity required by federal or state law or by a collective bargaining agreement.
(b) The provisions of this article do not apply to an expenditure made prior to the effective date of this article.
(c) Nothing in this article requires employers to maintain records in any particular form.
§9-10-7. Discriminatory acts prohibited.
(a) No provider subject to the provisions of this article may discharge, demote, threaten or otherwise discriminate against any person or employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the person or employer, or any person acting pursuant to the request of the employee, provided or attempted to provide information to the secretary or his or her designee regarding possible violations of this article.
(b) Any person or employee or former employee subject to the provisions of this article who believes that he or she has been discharged or discriminated against in violation of this section may file a civil action within three years of the date of the discharge or discrimination.
(c) If a court of competent jurisdiction finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation of this section has occurred, the court may grant relief as it considers appropriate, including:
(1) Reinstatement to the employee's former position;
(2) Compensatory damages, costs and reasonable attorneys' fees; and
(3) Other relief to remedy past discrimination.
(d) The protections of this section do not apply to any employee or person who:
(1) Deliberately causes or participates in the alleged violation of law or rule; or
(2) Knowingly or recklessly provides substantially false information to the Department.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit certain nursing homes from using state funds for activities unrelated to the provision of health care services. It also requires reporting and establishes civil actions and penalties.

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

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