It is unlawful for any person to practice or offer to practice medicine and surgery as an osteopathic physician and surgeon in this state without a license or permit issued by the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine: Provided, That any license heretofore issued under the laws of this state, authorizing its holder to practice osteopathy and surgery, shall in no way be affected by the enactment of this article; except that the holder of every such license shall be subject to all of the provisions of this article respecting the requirements and obligations herein prescribed for the continuance in force of such license.
(a) "Accredited osteopathic college" means a college of osteopathy and surgery which requires as a minimum prerequisite for admission preprofessional training of at least two years of academic work in specified scientific subjects, as prescribed by the board or by the college accrediting agency of the American Osteopathic Association, in an accredited college of arts and sciences and which requires for graduation a course of study approved by the board in accordance with the minimum standards established by the American Osteopathic Association;
(b) "Approved program of post-graduate clinical training" means a program of clinical training approved by, or subject of approval by, the American Osteopathic Association or approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education for the purposes of intern or resident training;
(c) "Board" means the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine: Provided, That where used elsewhere in the Code, the West Virginia Board of Osteopathy and Board of Osteopathy shall also mean the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine;
(d) "License" means legal authorization issued by the board to a fully qualified osteopathic physician to engage in the regular practice of osteopathic medicine and surgery;
(e) "Osteopathy" means that system of the healing art which places the chief emphasis on the structural integrity of the body mechanism as being the most important single factor in maintaining the well-being of the organism in health and disease;
(f) "Permit" means a limited, legal authorization issued by the board to an osteopathic physician to practice osteopathic medicine and surgery in this state while serving under special circumstances of public need or while undergoing post-graduate clinical training as a prerequisite to licensure;
(g) "Reciprocal endorsement" means a duly authenticated verification of the board, addressed to a board or agency of another country, state, territory, province or the District of Columbia, vouching that a license issued to an osteopathic physician and surgeon pursuant to the laws of this state is currently valid and not suspended or revoked for any cause or causes specified in this article.
(a)The West Virginia Board of Osteopathy is continued and effective July 1, 2012 shall be known as the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine. The members of the board shall continue to serve until a successor is appointed and may be reappointed.
(b) The Governor shall appoint, by and with advice and consent of the Senate, two additional members and stagger their initial terms:
(1) One person who is a licensed osteopathic physician or surgeon; and
(2) One person who is a licensed osteopathic physician assistant.
(c) The board consists of the following seven members, who are appointed to staggered terms by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate:
(1) Four licensed osteopathic physicians and surgeons;
(2) One licensed osteopathic physician assistant; and
(3) Two citizen members, who are not associated with the practice of osteopathic medicine.
(d) After the initial appointment, a board member's term shall be for 5 years.
(e) The West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association may submit recommendations to the Governor for the appointment of an osteopathic physician board member, and the West Virginia Association of Physician Assistants may submit recommendations to the Governor for the appointment of an osteopathic physician assistant board member.
(f) Each licensed member of the board, at the time of his or her appointment, must have held a license in this state for a period of not less than five years immediately preceding the appointment.
(g) Each member of the board must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of this state for a period of not less than five years immediately preceding the appointment and while serving as a member of the board.
(h) A member may not serve more than two consecutive full terms. A member having served two consecutive full terms may not be appointed for one year after completion of his or her second full term. A member may continue to serve until a successor has been appointed and has qualified.
(i) A vacancy on the board shall be filled by appointment by the Governor for the unexpired term of the member whose office is vacant and the appointment shall be made within sixty days of the vacancy.
(j) The Governor may remove any member from the board for neglect of duty, incompetency or official misconduct.
(k) A member of the board immediately and automatically forfeits membership to the board if his or her license to practice is suspended or revoked, he or she is convicted of a felony under the laws of any jurisdiction, or he or she becomes a nonresident of this state.
(l) The board shall elect annually one of its members as a chairperson and one of its members as a secretary who shall serve at the will of the board.
(m) Each member of the board is entitled to compensation and expense reimbursement in accordance with article one of this chapter.
(n) A simple majority of the membership serving on the board at a given time constitutes a quorum.
(o) The board shall hold at least two meetings each year. Other meetings may be held at the call of the chairperson or upon the written request of two members, at the time and place as designated in the call or request.
(p) Prior to commencing his or her duties as a member of the board, each member shall take and subscribe to the oath required by section five, article four of the Constitution of this state.
(q) The members of the board when acting in good faith, without malice and within the scope of their duties as board members shall enjoy immunity from individual civil liability.
(a) Each applicant for examination by the board, with the exception of assistants to osteopathic physicians and surgeons, as hereinafter provided, shall submit an application therefor on forms prepared and furnished by the board.
(b) Each applicant for a license shall furnish evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the board, establishing that the applicant has satisfied the following requirements:
(1) The applicant is eighteen years of age or over;
(2) The applicant is of good moral character;
(3) The applicant has graduated from an accredited osteopathic college;
(4) The applicant has successfully completed either of the following:
(A) A minimum of one year of post-doctoral, clinical training in a program approved by the American Osteopathic Association; or
(B) A minimum of one year of post-doctoral, clinical training in a program approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and forty hours of continuing medical education in osteopathic manipulative medicine and osteopathic manipulative treatment in courses approved, and classified as Category 1A, by the American Osteopathic Association.
(c) Each applicant for an educational permit shall furnish evidence, verified by oath and satisfactory to the board, establishing that the applicant has satisfied the following requirements:
(1) The applicant is eighteen years of age or over;
(2) The applicant is of good moral character;
(3) The applicant has graduated from an accredited osteopathic college; and
(4) The applicant is under contract as an intern or resident in an approved program of post-graduate clinical training.
(d) The board may not issue a license or permit to any person until the applicant has paid the application fee established by legislative rule of the board.
(e) In order to give timely effect to the amendments to this section and section ten of this article, the board is authorized to propose a legislative rule consistent with these amendments as an emergency rule under the provisions of section fifteen, article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
In order to receive a license to practice osteopathic medicine and surgery, an applicant must satisfactorily complete a standard, national examination, specified through legislative rule of the board or an examination administered by the licensing authority of another state and approved by the board as equivalent to the national examination or to the former West Virginia state examination.
The examination for a license to practice medicine and surgery as an osteopathic physician and surgeon shall cover substantive and clinical knowledge in all the essential branches of medicine and surgery including anatomy, physiology, chemistry, pharmacology, pathology, public health--preventive medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, osteopathic medicine, materia medica principles and practice of osteopathy. The list of subjects may be expanded or regrouped at the discretion of the board.
The board may at its discretion issue a license without examination to an applicant who has been licensed by the national board of examiners for osteopathic physicians and surgeons, and to an applicant who has been licensed by examination in any country, state, territory, province or the District of Columbia, provided the requirements for licensure in the country, state, territory, province or the District of Columbia in which the applicant is licensed are deemed by the board to have been equivalent to requirements for licensure in this state at the date such license was issued. The board may also at its discretion issue a license without examination to an osteopathic physician and surgeon who is a graduate of an accredited osteopathic college and who has passed the examination for admission into the medical corps of any of the armed services of the United States or the United States public health service. But no license shall be issued under the provisions of this section until the person applying therefor shall have paid to the board a reasonable fee, the amount of such reasonable fee to be set by the board rules, and any other fees applicable to investigation.
For the issuance of any reciprocal endorsement, the board shall collect a reasonable fee, the amount of such reasonable fee to be set by the board rules.
A temporary permit to practice in areas where medical services are needed, as determined by the board, may be granted by the board to a qualified applicant eligible for licensure who applies for examination during the period between examinations or regular meetings of the board. A temporary permit may also be granted by the board to a qualified applicant eligible for licensure by national boards or reciprocity for a period of thirty days, in which time applicant must appear before one of the board members for an interview for permanent licensure. Such temporary permit shall be effective until its holder has either been granted or denied a license at the next regular meeting of the board. Such permit shall be subject to revocation when, in the opinion of the board, the terms and conditions prescribed in the permit have been violated.
Acts, 1988 Reg. Sess., Ch. 99.
Osteopathic physicians and surgeons licensed hereunder shall have the same rights and privileges as physicians and surgeons of other schools of medicine.
Osteopathic physicians and surgeons shall observe and be subject to all state and municipal regulations relative to reporting births and deaths and all matters pertaining to the public health with equal rights and obligations as physicians of other schools of medicine, and such reports shall be accepted by the officers of the department to which the same are made.
Osteopathic physicians and surgeons licensed hereunder shall have the same rights and privileges as physicians and surgeons of other schools of medicine with respect to the treatment of cases or the holding of health offices or offices in public institutions.
registration; fee; notice to secretary of state of
issuance of certificate; action by secretary of
When one or more osteopathic physicians or surgeons duly licensed to practice osteopathic medicine in the state of West Virginia wish to form an osteopathic medical corporation, such osteopathic physician or surgeon, or osteopathic physicians or surgeons, shall file a written application with the board on a form prescribed by the board, and shall furnish proof satisfactory to the board that the signer or all of the signers of such application is or are a duly licensed osteopathic physician or surgeon or osteopathic physicians or surgeons. A reasonable fee, the amount of such reasonable fee to be set by the board rules, shall accompany each such application, no part of which shall be returnable.
If the board finds that the signer or all of the signers of such application are duly licensed, the board shall notify the secretary of state that a certificate of authorization has been issued to the individual or individuals signing such application.
When the secretary of state receives notification from the board that a certain individual or individuals has or have been issued a certificate of authorization, he or she shall attach such authorization to the corporation application and upon compliance by the corporation with chapter thirty-one of this code shall notify the incorporators that such corporation, through a duly licensed osteopathic physician or surgeon or duly licensed osteopathic physicians and surgeons, may engage in the practice of osteopathic medicine and surgery.
registration; fee; when practice to cease;
admissibility and effect of certificate signed by
(a) An osteopathic medical corporation may practice osteopathic medicine and surgery only through individual osteopathic physicians and surgeons duly licensed to practice osteopathic medicine or surgery in the state of West Virginia, but such osteopathic physicians and surgeons may be employees rather than shareholders of such corporation, and nothing herein contained shall be construed to require a license for or other legal authorization of any individual employed by such corporation to perform services for which no license or other legal authorization is otherwise required. Nothing contained in sections five and nine-a and this section of this article is meant or intended to change in any way the rights, duties, privileges, responsibilities and liabilities incident to the osteopathic physician-patient relationship nor is it meant or intended to change in any way the personal character of the osteopathic physician-patient relationship. A corporation holding such certificate of authorization shall register biennially, on or before the thirtieth day of June, on a form prescribed by the board, and shall pay an annual reasonable registration fee, the amount of such reasonable fee to be set by the board rules.
(b) An osteopathic medical corporation holding a certificate of authorization shall cease to engage in the practice of osteopathic medicine and surgery upon being notified by the board that any of its shareholders is no longer a duly licensed osteopathic physician or surgeon, or when any shares of such corporation have been sold or disposed of to a person who is not a duly licensed osteopathic physician or surgeon: Provided, That the personal representative of a deceased shareholder shall have a period, not to exceed twelve months from the date of such shareholder's death, to dispose of such shares; but nothing contained herein shall be construed as affecting the existence of such corporation or its right to continue to operate for all lawful purposes other than the practice of osteopathic medicine and surgery.
(c) No corporation shall practice osteopathic medicine or surgery, or any of its branches, or hold itself out as being capable of doing so, without a certificate from the board; nor shall any corporation practice osteopathic medicine or surgery or any of its branches, or hold itself out as being capable of doing so, after its certificate has been revoked, or if suspended, during the term of such suspension. A certificate signed by the secretary of the board to which is affixed the official seal of the board to the effect that it appears from the records of the board that no such certificate to practice osteopathic medicine or surgery or any of its branches in the state has been issued to any such corporation specified therein or that such certificate has been revoked or suspended shall be admissible in evidence in all courts of this state and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.
(d) Any officer, shareholder or employee of such corporation who participates in a violation of any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars.
(a) All holders of licenses to practice as osteopathic physicians and surgeons in this state shall renew the licenses biennially on or before July 1, by the payment of a renewal fee, to the board. The board shall notify each licensee of the necessity of renewing his or her license at least thirty days prior to the expiration of the license.
(b) As a prerequisite to renewal of a license issued by the board, each licensee shall furnish biennially to the board satisfactory evidence of having completed thirty-two hours of educational refresher course training, of which the total amount of hours must be approved by the American Osteopathic Association, and fifty percent of the required thirty-two hours shall be classified as category (1).
(c) The failure to renew a license shall operate as an automatic suspension of the rights and privileges granted by its issuance. The board may propose rules for legislative approval, pursuant to the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, providing that an osteopathic physician may renew a license on an inactive basis.
(d) A license suspended by a failure to make a biennial renewal thereof may be reinstated by the board upon compliance of the licensee with the following requirements:
(1) Presentation to the board of satisfactory evidence of educational refresher training of quantity and standard approved by the board for the previous two years;
(2) Payment of all fees for the previous two years that would have been paid had the suspended licensee maintained his or her license in good standing; and
(3) Payment to the board of a reinstatement fee specified by legislative rule of the board.
(e) An educational permit authorizes the holder to practice osteopathic medicine and surgery only for work performed within an approved program of post-graduate clinical training under the supervision of a duly licensed osteopathic or allopathic physician. The first educational permit issued to a graduate of an accredited osteopathic college may be valid for a period of fifteen months and subsequent educational permits issued to the same person may be valid for not more than twelve months. An educational permit shall expire upon the termination of the permit holder from an approved program of post-graduate clinical training and may also be suspended or revoked by the board at any time upon grounds defined by the board by legislative rule.
(a) The board may either refuse to issue or may suspend or revoke any license for any one or more of the following causes:
(1) Conviction of a felony, as shown by a certified copy of the record of the trial court;
(2) Conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
(3) Violation of any provision of this article regulating the practice of osteopathic physicians and surgeons;
(4) Fraud, misrepresentation or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure admission to practice;
(5) Gross malpractice;
(6) Advertising by means of knowingly false or deceptive statements;
(7) Advertising, practicing or attempting to practice under a name other than one's own;
(8) Habitual drunkenness, or habitual addiction to the use of morphine, cocaine or other habit-forming drugs.
(b) The board shall also have the power to suspend or revoke for cause any certificate of authorization issued by it. It shall have the power to reinstate any certificate of authorization suspended or revoked by it.
(a) The board shall maintain a permanent record of the names of all osteopathic physicians and osteopathic physician assistants, licensed, certified or otherwise lawfully practicing in this state and of all persons applying to be so licensed to practice, along with an individual historical record for each such individual containing reports and all other information furnished the board under this article or otherwise. When the board receives a report submitted pursuant to the provisions of section twelve-a of this article, or when the board receives or initiates a complaint regarding the conduct of anyone practicing osteopathic medicine or surgery, the board shall create a separate complaint file in which the board shall maintain all documents relating to the investigation and action upon the alleged conduct.
(b) Upon a determination by the board that any report submitted to it is without merit, the report shall be expunged from the individual's historical record.
(c) An osteopathic physician, osteopathic physician assistant, or applicant, or authorized representative thereof, has the right, upon request, to examine his or her own individual records maintained by the board pursuant to this article and to place into such record a statement of reasonable length of his or her own view of the correctness or relevance of any information existing in such record. Such statement shall at all times accompany that part of the record in contention.
(d) An osteopathic physician, osteopathic physician assistant or applicant has the right to seek through court action the amendment or expungement of any part of his or her historical record.
(e) An osteopathic physician, osteopathic physician assistant or applicant shall be provided written notice within thirty days of the placement and substance of any information in his or her individual historical record that pertains to him or her and that was not submitted to the board by him or her, other than requests for verification of the status of the individual's license and the board's responses thereto.
(f) Except for information relating to biographical background, education, professional training and practice, a voluntary agreement entered into pursuant to subsection (h) of this section and which has been disclosed to the board, prior disciplinary action by any entity, or information contained on the licensure application, the board shall expunge information in an individual's complaint file unless it has initiated a proceeding for a hearing upon such information within two years of the placing of the information into the complaint file.
(g) Orders of the board relating to disciplinary action against a physician, or physician assistant are public information.
(h) (1) In order to encourage voluntary participation in monitored alcohol, chemical dependency or major mental illness programs and in recognition of the fact that major mental illness, alcoholism and chemical dependency are illnesses, an osteopathic physician or osteopathic physician assistant licensed, certified, or otherwise lawfully practicing in this state or applying for a license to practice in this state may enter into a voluntary agreement with the board-designated physician health program. The agreement between the physician or physician assistant and the physician health program shall include a jointly agreed upon treatment program and mandatory conditions and procedures to monitor compliance with the program of recovery.
(2) Any voluntary agreement entered into pursuant to this subsection shall not be considered a disciplinary action or order by the board, shall not be disclosed to the board and shall not be public information if:
(A) Such voluntary agreement is the result of the physician or physician assistant self-enrolling or voluntarily participating in the board-designated physician health program;
(B) The board has not received nor filed any written complaints regarding said physician or physician assistant relating to an alcohol, chemical dependency or major mental illness affecting the care and treatment of patients, nor received any written reports pursuant to subsection (b), section fourteen of this article relating to an alcohol or chemical dependency impairment; and
(C) The physician or physician assistant is in compliance with the voluntary treatment program and the conditions and procedures to monitor compliance.
(3) If any osteopathic physician or osteopathic physician assistant enters into a voluntary agreement with the board-approved physician health program, pursuant to this subsection and then fails to comply with, or fulfill the terms of said agreement the physician health program shall report the noncompliance to the board within twenty-four hours. The board may initiate disciplinary proceedings pursuant to section eleven of this article or may permit continued participation in the physician health program or both.
(4) If the board has not instituted any disciplinary proceeding as provided in this article, any information received, maintained, or developed by the board relating to the alcohol or chemical dependency impairment of any osteopathic physician or osteopathic physician assistant and any voluntary agreement made pursuant to this subsection shall be confidential and not available for public information, discovery or court subpoena, nor for introduction into evidence in any medical professional liability action or other action for damages arising out of the provision of or failure to provide health care services.
In the board's annual report of its activities to the Governor and the Legislature required under section twelve, article one of this chapter, the board shall include information regarding the success of the voluntary agreement mechanism established therein: Provided, That in making such report the board shall not disclose any personally identifiable information relating to any osteopathic physician or osteopathic physician assistant participating in a voluntary agreement as provided herein.
Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions, the board may cooperate with and provide documentation of any voluntary agreement entered into pursuant to this subsection to licensing boards in other jurisdictions of which the board has become aware and as may be appropriate.
(i) Any physician-patient privilege does not apply in any investigation or proceeding by the board or by a medical peer review committee or by a hospital governing board with respect to relevant hospital medical records, while any of the aforesaid are acting within the scope of their authority: Provided, That the disclosure of any information pursuant to this provision shall not be considered a waiver of any such privilege in any other proceeding.
Each of the following acts shall constitute a misdemeanor, punishable upon conviction by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than ten thousand dollars:
(a) The practice or attempting to practice as an osteopathic physician and surgeon without a license or permit;
(b) The obtaining of or an attempt to obtain a license or permit to practice in the profession for money or any other thing of value, by fraudulent misrepresentation;
(c) The making of any willfully false oath or affirmation whenever an oath or affirmation is required by this article;
(d) Advertising, practicing or attempting to practice under a name other than one's own.
(a) The board may independently initiate suspension or revocation proceedings as well as initiate suspension or revocation proceedings based on information received from any person.
The board shall initiate investigations as to professional incompetence or other reasons for which a licensed osteopathic physician and surgeon may be adjudged unqualified if the board receives notice that three or more judgments or any combination of judgments and settlements resulting in five or more unfavorable outcomes arising from medical professional liability have been rendered or made against such osteopathic physician within a five-year period.
(b) Upon request of the board, any medical peer review committee in this state shall report any information that may relate to the practice or performance of any osteopathic physician known to that medical peer review committee. Copies of such requests for information from a medical peer review committee may be provided to the subject osteopathic physician if, in the discretion of the board, the provision of such copies will not jeopardize the board's investigation. In the event that copies are provided, the subject osteopathic physician has fifteen days to comment on the requested information and such comments must be considered by the board.
After the completion of a hospital's formal disciplinary procedure and after any resulting legal action, the chief executive officer of such hospital shall report in writing to the board within sixty days the name of any member of the medical staff or any other osteopathic physician practicing in the hospital whose hospital privileges have been revoked, restricted, reduced or terminated for any cause, including resignation, together with all pertinent information relating to such action. The chief executive officer shall also report any other formal disciplinary action taken against any osteopathic physician by the hospital upon the recommendation of its medical staff relating to professional ethics, medical incompetence, medical malpractice, moral turpitude or drug or alcohol abuse. Temporary suspension for failure to maintain records on a timely basis or failure to attend staff or section meetings need not be reported.
Any professional society in this state comprised primarily of osteopathic physicians or physicians and surgeons of other schools of medicine which takes formal disciplinary action against a member relating to professional ethics, professional incompetence, professional malpractice, moral turpitude or drug or alcohol abuse, shall report in writing to the board within sixty days of a final decision the name of such member, together with all pertinent information relating to such action.
Every person, partnership, corporation, association, insurance company, professional society or other organization providing professional liability insurance to an osteopathic physician in this state shall submit to the board the following information within thirty days from any judgment, dismissal or settlement of a civil action or of any claim involving the insured: The date of any judgment, dismissal or settlement; whether any appeal has been taken on the judgment, and, if so, by which party; the amount of any settlement or judgment against the insured; and such other information required by the board.
Within thirty days after a person known to be an osteopathic physician licensed or otherwise lawfully practicing medicine and surgery in this state or applying to be licensed is convicted of a felony under the laws of this state, or of any crime under the laws of this state involving alcohol or drugs in any way, including any controlled substance under state or federal law, the clerk of the court of record in which the conviction was entered shall forward to the board a certified true and correct abstract of record of the convicting court. The abstract shall include the name and address of such osteopathic physician or applicant, the nature of the offense committed and the final judgment and sentence of the court.
Upon a determination of the board that there is probable cause to believe that any person, partnership, corporation, association, insurance company, professional society or other organization has failed or refused to make a report required by this subsection, the board shall provide written notice to the alleged violator stating the nature of the alleged violation and the time and place at which the alleged violator shall appear to show good cause why a civil penalty should not be imposed. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. After reviewing the record of such hearing, if the board determines that a violation of this subsection has occurred, the board shall assess a civil penalty of not less than one thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars against such violator. The board shall notify anyone assessed of the assessment in writing and the notice shall specify the reasons for the assessment. If the violator fails to pay the amount of the assessment to the board within thirty days, the attorney general may institute a civil action in the circuit court of Kanawha County to recover the amount of the assessment. In any such civil action, the court's review of the board's action shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of section four, article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
Any person may report to the board relevant facts about the conduct of any osteopathic physician in this state which in the opinion of such person amounts to professional malpractice or professional incompetence.
The board shall provide forms for filing reports pursuant to this section. Reports submitted in other forms shall be accepted by the board.
The filing of a report with the board pursuant to any provision of this article, any investigation by the board or any disposition of a case by the board does not preclude any action by a hospital, other health care facility or professional society comprised primarily of osteopathic physicians or physicians and surgeons of other schools of medicine to suspend, restrict or revoke the privileges or membership of such osteopathic physician.
(c) In every case considered by the board under this article regarding suspension, revocation or issuance of a license whether initiated by the board or upon complaint or information from any person or organization, the board shall make a preliminary determination as to whether probable cause exists to substantiate charges of cause to suspend, revoke or refuse to issue a license as set forth in subsection (a), section eleven of this article. If such probable cause is found to exist, all proceedings on such charges shall be open to the public who are entitled to all reports, records, and nondeliberative materials introduced at such hearing, including the record of the final action taken: Provided, That any medical records, which were introduced at such hearing and which pertain to a person who has not expressly waived his right to the confidentiality of such records, shall not be open to the public nor is the public entitled to such records. If a finding is made that probable cause does not exist, the public has a right of access to the complaint or other document setting forth the charges, the findings of fact and conclusions supporting such finding that probable cause does not exist, if the subject osteopathic physician consents to such access.
(d) If the board receives notice that an osteopathic physician has been subjected to disciplinary action or has had his or her credentials suspended or revoked by the board, a medical peer review committee, a hospital or professional society, as defined in subsection (b) of this section, for three or more incidents in a five-year period, the board shall require the osteopathic physician to practice under the direction of another osteopathic physician for a specified period to be established by the board.
(a) There is hereby established a special volunteer medical license for physicians retired or retiring from the active practice of osteopathy who wish to donate their expertise for the medical care and treatment of indigent and needy patients in the clinic setting of clinics organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge. The special volunteer medical license shall be issued by the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine to physicians licensed or otherwise eligible for licensure under this article and the rules promulgated hereunder without the payment of any application fee, license fee or renewal fee, shall be issued for a fiscal year or part thereof, and shall be renewable annually. The board shall develop application forms for the special license provided for in this subsection which shall contain the physician's acknowledgment that: (1) The physician's practice under the special volunteer medical license will be exclusively and totally devoted to providing medical care to needy and indigent persons in West Virginia; (2) the physician will not receive any payment or compensation, either direct or indirect, or have the expectation of any payment or compensation, for any medical services rendered under the special volunteer medical license; (3) the physician will supply any supporting documentation that the board may reasonably require; and (4) the physician agrees to continue to participate in continuing medical education as required of physicians in active practice.
(b) Any physician who renders any medical service to indigent and needy patients of clinics organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge under a special volunteer medical license authorized under subsection (a) of this section without payment or compensation or the expectation or promise of payment or compensation is immune from liability for any civil action arising out of any act or omission resulting from the rendering of the medical service at the clinic unless the act or omission was the result of the physician's gross negligence or willful misconduct. In order for the immunity under this subsection to apply, there must be a written agreement between the physician and the clinic pursuant to which the physician will provide voluntary noncompensated medical services under the control of the clinic to patients of the clinic before the rendering of any services by the physician at the clinic: Provided, That any clinic entering into such written agreement shall be required to maintain liability coverage of not less than one million dollars per occurrence.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a clinic organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge shall not be relieved from imputed liability for the negligent acts of a physician rendering voluntary medical services at or for the clinic under a special volunteer medical license authorized under subsection (a) of this section.
(d) For purposes of this section, "otherwise eligible for licensure" means the satisfaction of all the requirements for licensure as listed in section ten of this article and in the legislative rules promulgated hereunder, except the fee requirements of subsections (b) and (d) of said section and of the legislative rule promulgated by the board relating to fees.
(e) Nothing in this section may be construed as requiring the board to issue a special volunteer medical license to any physician whose medical license is or has been subject to any disciplinary action or to any physician who has surrendered a medical license or caused such license to lapse, expire and become invalid in lieu of having a complaint initiated or other action taken against his or her medical license, or who has elected to place a medical license in inactive status in lieu of having a complaint initiated or other action taken against his or her medical license, or who have been denied a medical license.
(f) Any policy or contract of liability insurance providing coverage for liability sold, issued or delivered in this state to any physician covered under the provisions of this article shall be read so as to contain a provision or endorsement whereby the company issuing such policy waives or agrees not to assert as a defense on behalf of the policyholder or any beneficiary thereof, to any claim covered by the terms of such policy within the policy limits, the immunity from liability of the insured by reason of the care and treatment of needy and indigent patients by a physician who holds a special volunteer medical license.
The practice of medicine and surgery by persons possessing the degree of doctor of medicine and authorized by the laws of this state to practice medicine and surgery shall in no way be affected by the provisions of this article.
The terms of this article are declared to be separable; and should any word, phrase, sentence or section hereof be declared unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, the remainder of this article shall not thereby be affected, but shall remain in full force and effect.
All acts or parts of acts in conflict with this article are hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.
Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 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.