H. B. 2388
(By Delegates Jenkins, Mezzatesta and Spencer)
(Originating in the Committee on Finance)
[March 5, 1998]
A BILL to amend and reenact 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 administration of hearing loss
testing for newborn infants; requiring testing; authorizing
the director of health to promulgate legislative rules to
establish testing protocols and reasonable fee schedules;
and authorizing an advisory committee.
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. Testing required.
The physician or midwife in attendance at, or present immediately after a live birth shall perform, or cause to be
performed, a test for hearing loss in the infant. For any infant
delivered at a nonlicensed facility, including home births, the
physician or other health care provider shall inform the parents
of the need to the obtain testing within the first month of life.
The director of the division of health shall prescribe the test
or tests to be administered in accordance with this article.
§16-22A-2. Rulemaking authorized.
The director of the division of health shall propose
legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of chapter
twenty-nine-a of this code to: (1) Establish a reasonable fee
schedule for tests administered pursuant to this article, which
fees shall be used to cover program costs not otherwise covered
by federal grant funds specifically secured for this purpose;
(2) to establish a cost-effective testing protocol based upon
available technology and national standards; (3) to establish
reporting and referral requirements; and (4) to establish a date
for implementation of the testing protocol, which date shall not
be later than the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred
§16-22A-3. Fees for testing; payment of same.
(a) 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.
(b) 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.
(c) 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 is to meet four times per
year for the initial two years and on the call of the director
thereafter. The director shall serve as the chair and shall
appoint twelve members, one representing each of 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