(a) There is continued a special volunteer dentist and dental hygienist license for dentist and dental hygienists retired or retiring from the active practice of dentistry and dental hygiene who wish to donate their expertise for the 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 dentist or dental hygienist license shall be issued by the board to dentist or dental hygienists licensed or otherwise eligible for licensure under this article and the legislative rules promulgated hereunder without the payment of an application fee, license fee or renewal fee, shall be issued for the remainder of the licensing period and renewed consistent with the boards other licensing requirements. The board shall develop application forms for the special license provided in this subsection which shall contain the dental hygienist's acknowledgment that:
(1) The dentist or dental hygienist's practice under the special volunteer dentist or dental hygienist license will be exclusively devoted to providing dentistry or dental hygiene care to needy and indigent persons in West Virginia;
(2) The dentist or dental hygienist will not receive any payment or compensation, either direct or indirect, or have the expectation of any payment or compensation, for any dentistry or dental hygiene services rendered under the special volunteer dentist or dental hygienist license;
(3) The dentist or dental hygienist will supply any supporting documentation that the board may reasonably require; and
(4) The dentist or dental hygienist agrees to continue to participate in continuing professional education as required by the board for the special volunteer dentist or dental hygienist.
(b) Any dentist or dental hygienist who renders any dentistry or dental hygiene service to indigent and needy patients of a clinic organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge under a special volunteer dentist or dental hygienist 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 dental hygiene service at the clinic unless the act or omission was the result of the dentist's or dental hygienist's gross negligence or willful misconduct. In order for the immunity under this subsection to apply, there shall be a written agreement between the dentist or dental hygienist and the clinic pursuant to which the dentist or dental hygienist will provide voluntary uncompensated dental hygiene services under the control of the clinic to patients of the clinic before the rendering of any services by the dentist or dental hygienist at the clinic: Provided, That any clinic entering into such written agreement is required to maintain liability coverage of not less than one million dollars per occurrence.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, a clinic organized, in whole or in part, for the delivery of health care services without charge is not relieved from imputed liability for the negligent acts of a dentist or dental hygienist rendering voluntary dental hygiene services at or for the clinic under a special volunteer dentist or dental hygienist 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 eight of this article and in the legislative rules promulgated thereunder, except the fee requirements of subdivision (6) of said section and of the legislative rules promulgated by the board relating to fees.
(e) Nothing in this section may be construed as requiring the board to issue a special volunteer dentist or dental hygienist license to any dental hygienist whose license is or has been subject to any disciplinary action or to any dentist or dental hygienist who has surrendered a 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 dentist or dental hygienist license, or who has elected to place a dentist or dental hygienist license in inactive status in lieu of having a complaint initiated or other action taken against his or her license, or who has been denied a dentist or dental hygienist license.
(f) Any policy or contract of liability insurance providing coverage for liability sold, issued or delivered in this state to any dentist or dental hygienist 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 dentist or dental hygienist who holds a special volunteer dentist or dental hygienist license.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
The West Virginia 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.