H. B. 4651
(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss)
[Passed March 11, 2006; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §18B-11B-1,
§18B-11B-2, §18B-11B-3, §18B-11B-4, §18B-11B-5 and §18B-11B-6,
all relating to continuing the statewide poison center
generally; setting forth legislative findings; providing for
the continuation of the poison center as the West Virginia
Poison Control Center; requiring certification; establishing
an advisory board; providing for an annual report; setting
forth certain responsibilities of the West Virginia Poison
Control Center; setting forth certain powers and
responsibilities of the director of the center; and providing
for general immunity for the center and its employees for
actions taken in good faith.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §18B-11B-1, §18B-11B-2,
§18B-11B-3, §18B-11B-4, §18B-11B-5 and §18B-11B-6, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 11B. WEST VIRGINIA POISON CENTER.
The Legislature hereby finds that the current level of
scientific information regarding the chemicals, hazardous and
noxious substances, biochemical agents, toxic household products
and various combinations of them that lead to human poisoning with
the added risks associated with criminal activity and clandestine
terrorism involving toxic materials and agents requires the
immediate availability of accurate information, resources and
services to assess toxic threats to the public, prevent human
poisoning and assist the general public, the police, firefighters,
public health officials, emergency service workers, health care
providers and other first responding emergency personnel.
It is the intent of the Legislature that poison control
services be provided throughout the state on a consistent and
prompt basis by any and all electronic means as well as by a toll
free telephone network in order that illness or death that may
result from the exposure of an individual to poisonous substances
may be avoided. The Legislature also finds that the West Virginia
Poison Center located at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center,
West Virginia University, Charleston Division and operated by West
Virginia University meets these criteria and is hereby continued as
the West Virginia Poison Center.
The Legislature further finds that effective poison control,
not only saves lives and protects the public welfare but also reduces emergency medical costs and is considered an essential
§18B-11B-2. West Virginia poison center continued; certification.
(a) The West Virginia Poison Center (hereinafter referred to
as "the Center") currently a part of and located at the Robert C.
Byrd Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University, Charleston
Division and operated by West Virginia University, is hereby
continued as a special service under West Virginia University.
(b) The center shall be certified by the American Association
of Poison Centers or other similar organization with the same or
higher certification standards, and shall have a director who is a
board certified toxicologist.
(c) The West Virginia Poison Center is exempt from temporary
budget hiring freezes that may apply to colleges and universities
under the Higher Education Policy Commission.
§18B-11B-3. Advisory Board.
There is hereby created the West Virginia Poison Center
Advisory Board (hereinafter referred to as the board). The board
shall be composed of eight members. The members include: The
Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
or his or her designee; the Secretary of the Department of Military
Affairs and Public Safety or his or her designee; the Commissioner
of the Bureau for Public Health or his or her designee; the
Associate Vice President of West Virginia University, Health
Sciences Center, West Virginia University, Charleston, West
Virginia, who shall be chairman of the board; the president of the West Virginia Hospital Association or his or her designee; two
members appointed by the Director of the Poison Center who shall
represent professional health care organizations in this state with
extensive experience in public health education, research or
administration; and one member appointed by the Director of the
Poison Center to represent the general public. All appointed
members shall serve terms of four years and may be reappointed.
Appointed members of the advisory board shall serve without
compensation, but may be reimbursed for any necessary and
reasonable expenses incurred in attending meetings on the same
basis as members of the Legislature are reimbursed for expenses.
The board shall provide advice and assistance to the director
of the center in providing services as set out in this article.
The board shall meet not less than two times each year on the call
of the chair. Not later than the first day of July of each year,
the board shall prepare an annual report for the calendar year for
submission to the Governor and the Legislature. The report shall
include an analysis of the activities of the center and any
recommendations for improvement the board may deem necessary or
§18B-11B-4. Center responsibilities.
The center shall provide:
(1) Twenty-four hour, seven days a week emergency telephone
management and treatment referral of victims of poisoning to
include determining whether treatment can be accomplished at the
scene of the incident or transport to an emergency treatment or other facility is required and carrying out telephone follow-up to
families and other individuals to assure that adequate care is
(2) Emergency telephone treatment recommendations for all
types of poisonings, chemical exposures, drug overdoses and
exposure to weapons of mass destruction. This information shall
be provided to medical and nonmedical providers;
(3) Telephone follow-up for hospitalized and nonhospitalized
patients to assess progress and recommend additional treatment as
(4) Surveillance of human poison exposures. This includes
those related chemicals, drugs, biologicals and weapons of mass
(5) Community education in poison prevention; and
(6) Education in the recognition and management of poisonings
for health care providers.
§18B-11B-5. Powers and responsibilities of the director.
The Director of the West Virginia Poison Center:
(1) Shall ensure that the center is certified by the American
Association of Poison Control Centers and remains in good standing
with that organization;
(2) Is authorized to enter into agreements with other state
agencies or departments, with public or private colleges or
universities, schools of medicine or hospitals for the use of
laboratories, personnel, equipment and other fixtures, facilities
(3) May accept federal funds granted by the United States
Congress or by executive order of the President of the United
States as well as gifts, grants, endowments and donations from
individuals and private organizations or foundations for all or any
of the functions of the center;
(4) Develop and advocate for an annual budget for the center;
(5) Maintain a central office at the current location of the
(6) Employ adequate professional and technical employees to
meet the requirements of this article.
§18B-11B-6. Immunity of center and staff.
Neither the director nor any employee of the center staff
shall be considered a member of any patient treatment team, or
acting in concert with any responsible treating entity, including
emergency personnel, hospital or clinic employees, or private
medical practitioners of any health care treatment team.
The center and its employees are immune from any and all
liability arising from the good faith provision of services
provided under the provisions of this article. The immunity
granted by this section is in addition to any other immunity now
existing or granted under any other provision of this code or by