For the purposes of this article, the following words and terms have the meanings ascribed to them, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
(1) "Board" means the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses.
(2) "Major mental illness" means a diagnosis of a mental disorder within the axis of psychotic or affective or mood, alcohol or chemical abuse or alcohol or chemical dependency as stipulated in the International Code of Diagnosis.
(3) "Nurse" means those health care professionals licensed by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses.
(4) "Nurse health program" means a program meeting the requirements of this article.
(5) "Qualifying illness" means the diagnosis of alcohol or substance abuse, alcohol or substance dependency or major mental
(a) The board is authorized to designate one or more nurse health programs. To be eligible for designation by the board, a nurse health program shall:
(1) Enter into an agreement with the board outlining specific requirements of the program;
(2) Agree to make its services available to all licensed West Virginia registered professional nurses with a qualifying illness;
(3) Provide for the education of nurses with respect to the recognition and treatment of alcohol, chemical dependency and mental illness and the availability of the nurse health program for qualifying illnesses;
(4) Offer assistance to any person in referring a nurse for purposes of assessment or treatment or both for a qualifying illness;
(5) Monitor the status of a nurse who enters treatment for a qualifying illness pursuant to a written, voluntary agreement during treatment;
(6) Monitor the compliance of a nurse who enters into a written, voluntary agreement for a qualifying illness with the nurse health program setting forth a course for recovery;
(7) Agree to accept referrals from the board to provide monitoring services pursuant to a board order; and
(8) Include such other requirements as the board deems necessary.
(b) A designated nurse health program shall:
(1) Set and collect reasonable fees, grants and donations for administration and services provided;
(2) Work collaboratively with the board to develop model compliance agreements;
(3) Work collaboratively with the board to identify qualified providers of services as may be needed by the individuals participating in the nurse health program;
(4) Report to the board, no less than annually, statistics including the number of individuals served; the number of compliant individuals; the number of individuals who have successfully completed their agreement period; and the number of individuals reported to the board for suspected noncompliance: Provided, That in making such report the nurse health program shall not disclose any personally identifiable information relating to any nurse participating in a voluntary agreement as provided herein: Provided, however, That in the case of a nurse not in compliance with the requirements, full disclosure of information will be provided to the board.
(c) The fact that a nurse is participating in a designated nurse health program is confidential, as is all nurse patient information acquired, created or used by the nurse health program, and it shall remain confidential and may not be subject to discovery or subpoena in a civil case. The disclosure of participation and noncompliance to the board, as required by a compliance agreement, waives the confidentiality as to the board for disciplinary purposes.
(d) The nurse health program and all persons engaged in nurse health program activities are immune from civil liability and no civil action may be brought or maintained while the nurse health program and all persons engaged in nurse health program activities are acting in good faith and within the scope of their duties.
(e) The board is immune from civil liability and no civil action may be brought or maintained against the board or the state for an injury alleged to have been the result of the activities of the nurse health program or the board referral of an individual to the nurse health program when they are acting in good faith and within the scope of their duties.
The West Virginia Board of Examiners of Registered Professional Nurses has the sole discretion to designate nurse health programs for licensees of the board and no provision of this article may be construed to entitle any nurse to the creation or designation of a nurse health program for any individual qualifying illness or group of qualifying illnesses.
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.