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Introduced Version Senate Bill 175 History

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Senate Bill No. 175

(By Senators Kessler (Mr. President), Jenkins, Foster, Williams, Stollings and Wills)

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[Introduced January 13, 2012; referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources; and then to the Committee on Government Organization.]

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A BILL to amend and reenact §30-3-10a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §30-14-12b of said code, all relating to granting practicing medical physicians and osteopathic physicians special volunteer medical licenses so they may donate their expertise for the medical care and treatment of indigent and needy patients in a clinic setting organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge; and establishing qualification, documentation, fee and immunity requirements.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §30-3-10a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that §30-14-12b of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 3. WEST VIRGINIA MEDICAL PRACTICE ACT.

§30-3-10a. Special volunteer medical license; civil immunity for voluntary services rendered to indigents.

    (a) There is hereby established a special volunteer medical license for active physicians, physicians retired or retiring from the active practice of medicine who wish to donate their expertise for the medical care and treatment of indigent and needy patients in the clinic setting of clinics organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge. The special volunteer medical license shall be issued by the West Virginia Board of Medicine to physicians licensed or otherwise eligible for licensure under this article and the rules promulgated hereunder without the payment of any application fee, license fee or renewal fee, shall be issued for a fiscal year or part thereof, and shall be renewable annually. The board shall develop application forms for the special license provided in this subsection which shall contain the physician’s acknowledgment that: (1) The physician's practice under the special volunteer medical license will be exclusively and totally devoted to providing medical care to needy and indigent persons in West Virginia; (2) the physician will not receive any payment or compensation, either direct or indirect, or have the expectation of any payment or compensation, for any medical services rendered under the special volunteer medical license; (3) the physician will supply any supporting documentation that the board may reasonably require; and (4) the physician agrees to continue to participate in continuing medical education as required of physicians in active practice.

    (b) Any physician who renders any medical service to indigent and needy patients of a clinic organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge under a special volunteer medical license authorized under subsection (a) of this section without payment or compensation or the expectation or promise of payment or compensation is immune from liability for any civil action arising out of any act or omission resulting from the rendering of the medical service at the clinic unless the act or omission was the result of the physician's gross negligence or willful misconduct. In order for the immunity under this subsection to apply, there must be a written agreement between the physician and the clinic pursuant to which the physician will provide voluntary noncompensated medical services under the control of the clinic to patients of the clinic before the rendering of any services by the physician at the clinic: Provided, That any clinic entering into such written agreement shall be required to maintain liability coverage of not less than $1 million per occurrence.

    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a clinic organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge shall not be relieved from imputed liability for the negligent acts of a physician rendering voluntary medical services at or for the clinic under a special volunteer medical license authorized under subsection (a) of this section.

    (d) For purposes of this section, "otherwise eligible for licensure" means the satisfaction of all the requirements for licensure as listed in section ten of this article and in the legislative rules promulgated hereunder, except the fee requirements of subsections (b) and (d) of said that section and of the legislative rule promulgated by the board relating to fees.

    (e) Nothing in this section may be construed as requiring the board to issue a special volunteer medical license to any physician whose medical license is or has been subject to any disciplinary action or to any physician who has surrendered a medical license or caused such license to lapse, expire and become invalid in lieu of having a complaint initiated or other action taken against his or her medical license, or who has elected to place a medical license in inactive status in lieu of having a complaint initiated or other action taken against his or her medical license, or who have been denied a medical license.

    (f) Any policy or contract of liability insurance providing coverage for liability sold, issued or delivered in this state to any physician covered under the provisions of this article shall be read so as to contain a provision or endorsement whereby the company issuing such policy waives or agrees not to assert as a defense on behalf of the policyholder or any beneficiary thereof, to any claim covered by the terms of such policy within the policy limits, the immunity from liability of the insured by reason of the care and treatment of needy and indigent patients by a physician who holds a special volunteer medical license: Provided, That this subsection shall not apply to a terminated policy, terminated contract of liability insurance or extended reporting endorsement attached thereto that provides “tail insurance” as defined by section two, article twenty-d, chapter thirty-three of this code: Provided, further, however, That nothing within this subsection shall be construed to extend coverage under a terminated policy or terminated contract of liability insurance or any extended reporting endorsement attached thereto to: (1) Alter or amend the effective policy period of any policy, contract of liability insurance or extended reporting endorsement; or (2) cover the treatment of indigent and needy patients by a physician who holds a special volunteer medical license.

ARTICLE 14. OSTEOPATHIC PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS.

§30-14-12b. Special volunteer medical license; civil immunity for               voluntary services rendered to indigents.

    (a) There is hereby established a special volunteer medical license for active physicians, physicians retired or retiring from the active practice of osteopathy who wish to donate their expertise for the medical care and treatment of indigent and needy patients in the clinic setting of clinics organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge. The special volunteer medical license shall be issued by the West Virginia Board of Osteopathy to physicians licensed or otherwise eligible for licensure under this article and the rules promulgated hereunder without the payment of any application fee, license fee or renewal fee, shall be issued for a fiscal year or part thereof, and shall be renewable annually. The board shall develop application forms for the special license provided in this subsection which shall contain the physician’s acknowledgment that: (1) The physician's practice under the special volunteer medical license will be exclusively and totally devoted to providing medical care to needy and indigent persons in West Virginia; (2) the physician will not receive any payment or compensation, either direct or indirect, or have the expectation of any payment or compensation, for any medical services rendered under the special volunteer medical license; (3) the physician will supply any supporting documentation that the board may reasonably require; and (4) the physician agrees to continue to participate in continuing medical education as required of physicians in active practice.

    (b) Any physician who renders any medical service to indigent and needy patients of clinics organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge under a special volunteer medical license authorized under subsection (a) of this section without payment or compensation or the expectation or promise of payment or compensation is immune from liability for any civil action arising out of any act or omission resulting from the rendering of the medical service at the clinic unless the act or omission was the result of the physician's gross negligence or willful misconduct. In order for the immunity under this subsection to apply, there must be a written agreement between the physician and the clinic pursuant to which the physician will provide voluntary noncompensated medical services under the control of the clinic to patients of the clinic before the rendering of any services by the physician at the clinic: Provided, That any clinic entering into such written agreement shall be required to maintain liability coverage of not less than $1 million per occurrence.

    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a clinic organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge shall not be relieved from imputed liability for the negligent acts of a physician rendering voluntary medical services at or for the clinic under a special volunteer medical license authorized under subsection (a) of this section.

    (d) For purposes of this section, "otherwise eligible for licensure" means the satisfaction of all the requirements for licensure as listed in section ten of this article and in the legislative rules promulgated hereunder, except the fee requirements of subsections (b) and (d) of said that section and of the legislative rule promulgated by the board relating to fees.

    (e) Nothing in this section may be construed as requiring the board to issue a special volunteer medical license to any physician whose medical license is or has been subject to any disciplinary action or to any physician who has surrendered a medical license or caused such license to lapse, expire and become invalid in lieu of having a complaint initiated or other action taken against his or her medical license, or who has elected to place a medical license in inactive status in lieu of having a complaint initiated or other action taken against his or her medical license, or who have been denied a medical license.

    (f) Any policy or contract of liability insurance providing coverage for liability sold, issued or delivered in this state to any physician covered under the provisions of this article shall be read so as to contain a provision or endorsement whereby the company issuing such policy waives or agrees not to assert as a defense on behalf of the policyholder or any beneficiary thereof, to any claim covered by the terms of such policy within the policy limits, the immunity from liability of the insured by reason of the care and treatment of needy and indigent patients by a physician who holds a special volunteer medical license.


    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to permit practicing medical physicians and osteopathic physicians to apply for special volunteer medical licenses so they may donate their expertise for the medical care and treatment of indigent and needy patients in the clinic setting of clinics organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge. At present only retired physicians and physicians about to retire may be granted these special licenses.


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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