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WEST VIRGINIA CODE
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WVC 55 - 7 B- 9 C §55-7B-9c. Limit on liability for treatment of emergency conditions for which patient is admitted to a designated trauma center; exceptions; emergency rules.
(a) In any action brought under this article for injury to or death of a patient as a result of health care services or assistance rendered in good faith and necessitated by an emergency condition for which the patient enters a health care facility designated by the office of emergency medical services as a trauma center, including health care services or assistance rendered in good faith by a licensed EMS agency or an employee of an licensed EMS agency, the total amount of civil damages recoverable shall not exceed five hundred thousand dollars, exclusive of interest computed from the date of judgment.

(b) The limitation of liability in subsection (a) of this section also applies to any act or omission of a health care provider in rendering continued care or assistance in the event that surgery is required as a result of the emergency condition within a reasonable time after the patient's condition is stabilized.

(c) The limitation on liability provided under subsection (a) of this section does not apply to any act or omission in rendering care or assistance which: (1) Occurs after the patient's condition is stabilized and the patient is capable of receiving medical treatment as a nonemergency patient; or (2) is unrelated to the original emergency condition.

(d) In the event that: (1) A physician provides follow-up care to a patient to whom the physician rendered care or assistance pursuant to subsection (a) of this section; and (2) a medical condition arises during the course of the follow-up care that is directly related to the original emergency condition for which care or assistance was rendered pursuant to said subsection, there is rebuttable presumption that the medical condition was the result of the original emergency condition and that the limitation on liability provided by said subsection applies with respect to that medical condition.

(e) There is a rebuttable presumption that a medical condition which arises in the course of follow-up care provided by the designated trauma center health care provider who rendered good faith care or assistance for the original emergency condition is directly related to the original emergency condition where the follow-up care is provided within a reasonable time after the patient's admission to the designated trauma center.

(f) The limitation on liability provided under subsection (a) of this section does not apply where health care or assistance for the emergency condition is rendered:

(1) In willful and wanton or reckless disregard of a risk of harm to the patient; or

(2) In clear violation of established written protocols for triage and emergency health care procedures developed by the office of emergency medical services in accordance with subsection (e) of this section. In the event that the office of emergency medical services has not developed a written triage or emergency medical protocol by the effective date of this section, the limitation on liability provided under subsection (a) of this section does not apply where health care or assistance is rendered under this section in violation of nationally recognized standards for triage and emergency health care procedures.

(g) The office of emergency medical services shall, prior to the effective date of this section, develop a written protocol specifying recognized and accepted standards for triage and emergency health care procedures for treatment of emergency conditions necessitating admission of the patient to a designated trauma center.

(h) In its discretion, the office of emergency medical services may grant provisional trauma center status for a period of up to one year to a health care facility applying for designated trauma center status. A facility given provisional trauma center status is eligible for the limitation on liability provided in subsection (a) of this section. If, at the end of the provisional period, the facility has not been approved by the office of emergency medical services as a designated trauma center, the facility will no longer be eligible for the limitation on liability provided in subsection (a) of this section.

(i) The commissioner of the bureau for public health may grant an applicant for designated trauma center status a one-time only extension of provisional trauma center status, upon submission by the facility of a written request for extension, accompanied by a detailed explanation and plan of action to fulfill the requirements for a designated trauma center. If, at the end of the six-month period, the facility has not been approved by the office of emergency medical services as a designated trauma center, the facility will no longer have the protection of the limitation on liability provided in subsection (a) of this section.

(j) If the office of emergency medical services determines that a health care facility no longer meets the requirements for a designated trauma center, it shall revoke the designation, at which time the limitation on liability established by subsection (a) of this section shall cease to apply to that health care facility for services or treatment rendered thereafter.

(k) The Legislature hereby finds that an emergency exists compelling promulgation of an emergency rule, consistent with the provisions of this section, governing the criteria for designation of a facility as a trauma center or provisional trauma center and implementation of a statewide trauma/emergency care system. The Legislature therefore directs the secretary of the department of health and human resources to file, on or before the first day of July, two thousand three, emergency rules specifying the criteria for designation of a facility as a trauma center or provisional trauma center in accordance with nationally accepted and recognized standards and governing the implementation of a statewide trauma/emergency care system. The rules governing the statewide trauma/emergency care system shall include, but not be limited to:

(1) System design, organizational structure and operation, including integration with the existing emergency medical services system;

(2) Regulation of facility designation, categorization and credentialing, including the establishment and collection of reasonable fees for designation; and

(3) System accountability, including medical review and audit to assure system quality. Any medical review committees established to assure system quality shall include all levels of care, including emergency medical service providers, and both the review committees and the providers shall qualify for all the rights and protections established in article three-c, chapter thirty of this code.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
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