Senate Bill No. 260
(By Senators Dugan, Anderson and Ross)
[Introduced January 30, 1998; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section one, article twenty-nine,
chapter sixteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand
nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to release of
health care records by health care provider; to whom
released; and providing immunity for health care providers
who release records based on a good faith belief that
patient's signature is authentic.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section one, article twenty-nine, chapter sixteen of
the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one,
as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 29. HEALTH CARE RECORDS.
§16-29-1. Copies of health care records to be furnished to
Any licensed, certified or registered health care provider
so licensed, certified or registered under the laws of this state
shall, upon the written request of a patient which contains his
or her signature, his or her authorized agent or authorized
representative, within a reasonable time, furnish a copy, as
requested, of all or a portion of the patient's record to the
patient, his or her authorized agent or authorized representative
or to the patient's new health care provider subject to the
(a) In the case of a patient receiving treatment for
psychiatric or psychological problems, a summary of the record
shall be made available to the patient, his or her authorized
agent or authorized representative following termination of the
(b) Nothing in this article shall be construed to require a
health care provider responsible for diagnosis, treatment or
administering health care services in the case of minors for
birth control, prenatal care, drug rehabilitation or related
services or venereal disease according to any provision of this
code, to release patient records of
such the diagnosis, treatment
or provision of health care as aforesaid to a parent or guardian,
without prior written consent therefor from the patient, nor
shall anything in this article be construed to apply to persons
regulated under the provisions of chapter eighteen of this code or the rules and regulations established thereunder.
(c) The furnishing of a copy, as requested, of the reports
of X ray examinations, electrocardiograms and other diagnostic
procedures shall be deemed to comply with the provisions of this
article: Provided, That original radiological study film from a
radiological exam conducted pursuant to a request from a patient
or patient's representative shall be provided to the patient or
patient's representative upon written request and payment for the
exam. The health care provider
shall may not be required to
interpret or retain copies of the film and shall be immune from
liability resulting from any action relating to the absence of
the original radiological film from the patient's record.
(d) This article
shall does not apply to records subpoenaed
or otherwise requested through court process.
(e) The provisions of this article may be enforced by a
patient, authorized agent or authorized representative, and any
health care provider found to be in violation of this article
shall pay any attorney fees and costs, including court costs
incurred in the course of such enforcement.
(f) Nothing in this article shall be construed to apply to
health care records maintained by health care providers governed
by the AIDS-related medical testing and records confidentiality
act under the provisions of article three-c of this chapter.
(g) Any health care provider who releases health care records based upon a good faith belief that the document making
the request contains the authentic signature of the patient shall
be immune from any civil liability as a result of such release.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require health care
providers to release the patient's health care records upon the
presentation of a written document containing the patient's
signature. The bill further provides immunity for health care
providers who in good faith believe the patient's signature to be
authentic when releasing health care records.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.