H. B. 4437
(By Delegates Douglas, Linch,
Amores, Hutchins and Compton)
[Introduced February 8, 2000; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact sections five and six, article
five-d, chapter forty-nine of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, all relating
to child welfare and child abuse or neglect; child fatality
review team; and updating terms and clarifying
confidentiality of findings of review team.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That sections five and six, article five-d, chapter
forty-nine of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to
read as follows:
ARTICLE 5D. MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS.
§49-5D-5. Child fatality review team.
(a) The state child fatality review team is hereby
established under the office of
medical examinations the chief
medical examiner which shall be a multidisciplinary team created
to review the deaths of children under the age of eighteen years
as provided for in this section. It shall include among its
membership the following, appointed by the governor, to serve
(1) The state medical examiner, who shall serve as the
chairperson of the state child fatality review team;
(2) One prosecuting attorney or his or her designee;
(3) The state superintendent of the West Virginia state
police or his or her designee;
(4) One law-enforcement official other than a member of the
West Virginia state police;
(5) One child protective services worker currently employed
in investigating reports of child abuse or neglect;
(6) One health care provider, specializing in the practice
of pediatric medicine or family medicine; and
(7) One social worker who may be employed in the area of
Members of the state child fatality review team shall, unless sooner removed, continue to serve until their respective
terms expire and until their successors have been appointed and
have qualified. Each appointment of a prosecuting attorney,
whether for a full term or to fill a vacancy, shall be made by
the governor from among three nominees therefor selected by the
West Virginia prosecuting attorneys institute. Each
appointment of a law-enforcement officer, whether for a full
term or to fill a vacancy, shall be made by the governor from
among three nominees therefor selected by the state fraternal
order of police or the West Virginia deputy sheriff's
association. Each appointment of a child protective services
worker and a social worker, whether for a full term or to fill a
vacancy, shall be made by the governor from among three nominees
therefor selected by the West Virginia social work licensing
board. Each appointment of a physician, whether for a full term
or to fill a vacancy, shall be made by the governor from among
three nominees therefor selected by the West Virginia state
medical association or the West Virginia academy of pediatrics.
When an appointment for a full term, the nomination shall be
submitted to the governor not later than eight months prior to
the date on which the appointment shall become effective. In the case of an appointment to fill a vacancy,
such the nominations
shall be submitted to the governor within thirty days after the
request for the nomination has been made by the governor to the
chairperson or president of the organization. When an
association fails to submit to the governor nominations for the
appointment in accordance with the requirements of this section,
the governor may make the appointment without nominations.
Each member of the state child fatality review team shall
serve without additional compensation and may not be reimbursed
for any expenses incurred in the discharge of the duties under
the provisions of this article.
(b) The state child fatality review team shall, pursuant to
the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a, promulgate rules
applicable to the following:
(1) The standard procedures for the establishment, formation
and conduct of the state child fatality review team;
(2) Guidelines for hospitals, physicians and other
health-care providers to utilize in order to report the deaths of
children to the state child fatality review team; and
(3) Recommend protocols for the review of child fatalities
where other than natural causes are suspected.
(c) The state child fatality review team shall submit an
annual report to the governor and to the Legislature concerning
its activities and the incidents of child fatalities within the
state. The first
such report shall be due on the first day of
July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-seven. Thereafter, a
report shall be due annually on the first day of July December.
The report shall include statistics setting forth the number of
child fatalities. Such The statistical analysis may include
information regarding the causes of child fatalities in the
state. The report shall also include the number of children
whose deaths have been determined to have been unexpected or
unexplained and whether court proceedings regarding criminal
prosecution have commenced.
(d) The local multidisciplinary team created pursuant to the
provisions of section two of this article shall review all cases
referred to the team pursuant to the provisions of that section:
Provided, That a local team may refer any or all cases for review
of deaths to the state multidisciplinary team. Further, the
local multidisciplinary team shall provide all information to the
state child fatality review team necessary for the state child
fatality review team to create and submit any report required by this section.
(e) All information,
and records and opinions acquired
generated by the state team or by a local team in the exercise of
its purpose and duties pursuant to this article shall be
confidential and are not subject to subpoena, discovery or
introduction as evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding,
except that information, documents, records and opinions
otherwise available from other sources are not immune from
subpoena, discovery or introduction as evidence solely because
they are presented during proceedings of the state or local team.
For purposes of this section, the term confidential shall be
defined consistent with the definition set forth in section
one, article seven, chapter forty-nine of this code.
§49-5D-6. Other agencies of government required to cooperate.
State, county and local agencies, hospitals, healthcare
facilities and healthcare providers shall provide the
multidisciplinary teams with any information requested in writing
by the team as allowable by law or upon receipt of a certified
copy of the circuit court's order directing
said the agencies to
release information in its possession relating to the child. The
team shall assure that all information received and developed in connection with the provisions of this article remain
confidential. For purposes of this section, the term
"confidential" shall be construed in accordance with the
provisions of section one, article seven of this chapter.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to update certain terms
and to clarify the confidentiality of findings of the child
fatality review team.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.