H. B. 2388
(By Delegates Jenkins, Mezzatesta and Spencer)
[Introduced January 14, 1998; referred to the
Committee on Health and Human Resources then Government Organization.]
A BILL to amend chapter sixteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twenty-two-a,
relating to the testing of newborn infants for hearing
impairments; legislative findings; testing required;
director of health to prescribe testing methods; fee
schedule; payment of fees; fees for testing to constitute a
reimbursable benefit under most health insurance policies;
advisory committee established; members; compensation;
meetings; powers; and duties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter sixteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated article twenty-two-a, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 22A. TESTING OF NEWBORN INFANTS FOR HEARING IMPAIRMENTS.
§16-22A-1. Legislative findings.
It is hereby declared to be the policy of this state that
every newborn infant be evaluated by procedures approved by the
state division of health for the detection of hearing
impairments, in order to prevent many of the consequences of
these disorders: Provided, That no evaluation to detect hearing
impairments may be made with regard to any newborn infant if the
parent(s) of that child object on the grounds that the test would
conflict with their religious tenets or practices.
§16-22A-2. Testing required.
The physician attending a newborn infant shall cause that
infant to be tested for hearing impairments. The director of the
division of health shall prescribe the test or tests to be used
for evaluating hearing impairments in newborn infants pursuant to
§16-22A-3. Fees for testing; payment of same.
(a) In accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a
of this code, the director of the division of health is
authorized to establish by legislative rule a reasonable fee
schedule for hearing impairment testing to cover program costs
not otherwise covered by federal grant funds specifically secured for this purpose.
(b) Testing required under this article shall be a covered
benefit reimbursable by all health insurers except for health
insurers that offer only supplemental coverage policies or
policies which cover only specified diseases.
(c) The department of health and human resources shall pay
for testing required under this article when the newborn infant
is eligible for medical assistance under the provisions of
section twelve, article five, chapter nine of this code.
(d) In the absence of a third-party payor, charges for the
testing required under this article shall be paid by the hospital
or other health care facility where the infant's birth occurred:
Provided, That nothing contained in this section may be construed
to preclude the hospital or other health care facility from
billing the infant's parent(s) directly.
§16-22A-4. Hearing impairment testing advisory committee
There is hereby established a West Virginia hearing
impairment testing advisory committee which shall advise the
director of the division of health regarding the protocol,
validity, monitoring and cost of testing procedures required
under this article. This committee shall meet at least four
times per year, be chaired by the director of the division of health and be composed of twelve members appointed by the
director from among the following:
(1) A representative of the health insurance industry;
(2) An otolaryngologist or otologist;
(3) An audiologist with experience in evaluating infants;
(4) A neonatologist;
(5) A pediatrician;
(6) A hospital administrator;
(7) A speech or language pathologist;
(8) A teacher or administrative representative from the West
Virginia school of the deaf;
(9) A parent of a hearing-impaired child;
(10) A representative from the office of early intervention
services within the department of health and human resources;
(11) A representative from the state department of
(12) A representative from the West Virginia commission for
the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Members of this advisory committee shall serve without
compensation. A majority of members shall constitute a quorum
for the transaction of all business. Members shall serve for
two-year terms and may not serve for more than two consecutive
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require that newborn
infants be tested for hearing impairments. It also provides for
different methods of payment and established a noncompensated
advisory board to be headed by the director of the division of
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.