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 emergency service.
(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.
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 appropriate.
(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 provided;
(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 necessary;
(4) Surveillance of human poison exposures. This includes those related chemicals, drugs, biologicals and weapons of mass destruction;
(5) Community education in poison prevention; and
(6) Education in the recognition and management of poisonings for health care providers.
(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 or services;
(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 center; and
(6) Employ adequate professional and technical employees to meet the requirements of this article.
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 common law.