Senate
House
Joint
Bill Status
WV Code
Audits/ Reports
Educational
Contact
home
home
WEST VIRGINIA CODE
‹ Back  |  print page Print
WVC 16- CHAPTER 16. PUBLIC HEALTH.
WVC 16 - 28 - ARTICLE 28. ASSISTANCE TO KOREAN AND VIETNAM VETERANS EXPOSED TO CERTAIN CHEMICAL DEFOLIANTS OR HERBICIDES OR OTHER CAUSATIVE AGENTS, INCLUDING AGENT ORANGE.

WVC 16 - 28 - 1 §16-28-1. Definitions.
As used in this article, unless otherwise indicated by the context:

(1) "Veteran" means a person who was a resident of this state at the time of his induction into the armed forces of the United States of America, or was a resident of this state as of the thirty-first day of March, one thousand nine hundred eighty-one, who served in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos during the Vietnam conflict, or who served in Korea during the Korean conflict;

(2) "Agent Orange" means the herbicide composed primarily of trichlorophenoxyacetic acid and dichlorophenoxyacetic acid;

(3) "Department" means the West Virginia department of health; and

(4) "Director" means the director of the department of health.

WVC 16 - 28 - 2 §16-28-2. Reports to the department of health.
(a) A physician who has primary responsibility for treating a veteran who believes he may have been exposed to chemical defoliants or herbicides or other causative agents, including agent orange, while serving in the armed forces of the United States, shall, at the request of the veteran, submit a report to the department on a form provided by the department. If there is no physician having primary responsibility for treating the veteran, the hospital treating the veteran shall, at the request of the veteran, submit the report to the department.

(b) The form provided by the department to the physician shall request the following information:

(1) Symptoms of the veteran which may be related to exposure to a chemical defoliant or herbicide or other causative agent, including agent orange;

(2) Diagnosis of the veteran; and

(3) Methods of treatment prescribed.

(c) The department may require the veteran to provide such other information as determined by the director.

WVC 16 - 28 - 3 §16-28-3. Reports by the department; studies on veterans; consent required.
(a) The department, in consultation and cooperation with a board-certified medical toxicologist, shall compile and evaluate information submitted under this article into a report to be distributed annually to members of the Legislature and to the veterans administration, the West Virginia department of veterans affairs and other veterans' groups. The report shall contain current research findings on the effects of exposure to chemical defoliants or herbicides or other causative agents, including agent orange, and statistical information compiled from reports submitted by physicians or hospitals.

(b) The department, in consultation and cooperation with a board-certified medical toxicologist, shall conduct epidemiological studies on veterans who have cancer or other medical problems associated with exposure to a chemical defoliant or herbicide or any other causative agent, including agent orange, or who have children born with birth defects after the veteran's suspected exposure to a chemical defoliant or herbicide or any other causative agent, including agent orange. The department must obtain consent from each veteran to be studied under this subsection. The department shall compile and evaluate information obtained from these studies into a report to be distributed as provided by subsection (a) of this section.

WVC 16 - 28 - 4 §16-28-4. Confidentiality.
The identity of a veteran about whom a report has been made under section two or three of this article may not be disclosed unless the veteran consents to the disclosure. Statistical information collected under this article is public information.

WVC 16 - 28 - 5 §16-28-5. Immunity from liability.
A physician or a hospital subject to this article who complies with this article may not be held civilly or criminally liable for providing the information required.

WVC 16 - 28 - 6 §16-28-6. Class action representation by attorney general.
The attorney general may represent a class of individuals composed of veterans who may have been injured because of contact with chemical defoliants or herbicides or other causative agents, including agent orange, in a suit for release of information relating to exposure to such chemicals during military service and for release of individual medical records.

WVC 16 - 28 - 7 §16-28-7. Assistance programs.
(a) The department of health, the West Virginia University school of medicine, the Marshall University school of medicine, and the West Virginia School of osteopathic medicine, shall institute a cooperative program to:

(1) Refer veterans to appropriate state and federal agencies for the purpose of filing claims to remedy medical and financial problems caused by the veterans' exposure to chemical defoliants or herbicides or other causative agents, including agent orange; and

(2) Provide veterans with fat tissue biopsies, genetic counseling and genetic screening to determine if the veteran has suffered physical damage as a result of substantial exposure to chemical defoliants or herbicides or other causative agents, including agent orange.

(b) The director of the department of health shall adopt rules necessary to the administration of the programs authorized by this section.

WVC 16 - 28 - 8 §16-28-8. Application.
Sections two and three of this article apply to all cases of veterans treated on or after the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred eighty-two, for symptoms typical of a person who has been exposed to a chemical defoliant or herbicide or any other causative agent, including agent orange. Sections six and seven of this article apply to all veterans.

WVC 16 - 28 - 9 §16-28-9. Termination of programs and duties.
If the director of the department of health determines that an agency of the federal government is performing the referral and screening functions required by section seven of this article, the director may discontinue any program required by this article or any duty required of a physician or hospital under this article.

WVC 16 - 28 - 10 §16-28-10. Limitation of actions and suits.
An action to recover damages under the provisions of this article for personal injury caused by contact with or exposure to chemical defoliants or herbicides, including agent orange, during either the Korean or Vietnam conflict, may be commenced within two years from the date of discovery of such injury, or within two years from the date when through the exercise of reasonable diligence the cause of such injury should have been discovered, whichever is later.

Every cause of action for an injury or death caused by contact with or exposure to chemical defoliants or herbicides, including agent orange, during either the Korean or Vietnam conflict, which is barred as of the effective date of this section because the applicable period of limitation has expired is hereby revived and an action thereon may be commenced and prosecuted provided such action is commenced within two years of the effective date of this section.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2014 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.

This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2014 West Virginia Legislature ***