Senate Bill No. 234
(By Senators Prezioso, Foster, Hunter, Sharpe, Stollings, Boley,
Caruth, Jenkins and Kessler)
[Originating in the Committee on Health and Human Resources;
reported January 25, 2008.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §48-25A-1, §48-25A-2
and §48-25A-3, all relating to the creation of a Maternal
Mortality Review Team; members; and responsibilities.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §48-25A-1, §48-25A-2
and §48-25A-3, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 25A. MATERNAL MORTALITY REVIEW TEAM.
§48-25A-1. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds that there is a need for a process to
study the causes of maternal deaths. It has been found that
comprehensive studies indicate that maternal mortalities are more
extensive than first appear on death certificates. The Legislature finds that more extensive studies would enable a more fully
developed plan to avoid these deaths in the future.
§48-25A-2. Maternal Mortality Review Team.
(a) The Maternal Mortality Review Team is hereby established
under the office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The Maternal
Mortality Review Team is a multidisciplinary team created to review
the deaths of women who die during pregnancy, at the time of birth
or within one year of the birth of a child.
(b) The Maternal Mortality Review Team is to consist of the
following members, appointed by the Governor:
(1) The Chief Medical Examiner, who is to serve as the
chairperson of the Maternal Mortality Review Team and is
responsible for calling and coordinating all meetings;
(2) The Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health or a
(3) The Director of the Office of Maternal Child and Family
Health Program in the Bureau of Public Health or a designee;
(4) The Director of the Division of Vital Statistics or a
(5) Representation from each of the three medical schools in
(6) The Director of Obstetrics, the Director of the Neonatal
Intensive Care Unit and the Director of Pediatrics at each of the
tertiary care hospitals in the state;
(7) One representative of the State Medical Association;
(8) One representative of the State Nurses Association;
(9) One representative of the State Osteopathic Association;
(10) One representative of private practice physicians;
(11) One representative of the West Virginia Chapter of the
State College of Nurse Midwifery;
(12) One representative of the West Virginia Chapter of the
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology;
(13) One representative of the West Virginia Chapter of the
American Academy of Pediatrics;
(14) The Director of the Child Fatality Review Team; and
(15) Any additional person that the chair of the team
determines is needed on a particular case being considered.
(c) Each member shall serve for a term of five years. Of the
members of the commission first appointed, one shall be appointed
for a term ending the thirtieth day of June, two thousand nine, and
one each for terms ending one, two, three and four years
(d) Members of the Maternal Mortality Review Team shall,
unless sooner removed, continue to serve until their respective
terms expire and until their successors have been appointed and
(e) An appointment of a physician, whether for a full term or
to fill a vacancy, is to be made by the Governor from among three
nominees selected by the West Virginia State Medical Association or
the organization to be represented on the team. When an
appointment is for a full term, the nomination is to be submitted
to the Governor not later than eight months prior to the date on which the appointment is to become effective. In the case of an
appointment to fill a vacancy, the nominations are to be submitted
to the Governor within thirty days after the request for the
nomination has been made by the Governor to the chairperson or
president of the organization. When an association fails to submit
to the Governor nominations for the appointment in accordance with
the requirements of this section, the Governor may make the
appointment without nominations.
(f) Each member of the Maternal Mortality Review Team shall
serve without additional compensation and may not be reimbursed for
any expenses incurred in the discharge of his or her duties under
the provisions of this article.
§48-25A-3. Responsibilities of the Maternal Mortality Review Team.
(a) The Maternal Mortality Review Team shall, pursuant to the
provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a, promulgate rules applicable to
(1) The standard procedures for the establishment, formation
and conduct of the Maternal Mortality Review Team; and
(2) The protocols for the review of maternal mortalities.
(b) The Maternal Mortality Review Team shall:
(1) Review all deaths of women who die during pregnancy, at
the time of birth or within one year of the birth of a child;
(2) Establish the trends, patterns and risk factors;
(3) Provide statistical analysis regarding the causes of
maternal fatalities in West Virginia; and
(4) Promote public awareness of the incidence and causes of maternal fatalities, including recommendations for their reduction.
(c) The Maternal Mortality Review Team shall submit an annual
report to the Governor and to the Legislature concerning its
activities and the incidents of maternal fatalities within the
state. The report is due annually on the first day of December.
The report is to include statistics setting forth the number of
maternal fatalities, identifiable trends in maternal fatalities in
the state, including possible causes, if any, and recommendations
to reduce the number of preventable maternal fatalities in the
state. The report is to also include the number of mothers whose
deaths have been determined to have been unexpected or unexplained.
(d) The Maternal Mortality Review Team, in the exercise of its
duties as defined in this section, may not:
(1) Call witnesses or take testimony from individuals involved
in the investigation of a maternal fatality;
(2) Contact a family member of the deceased mother, except if
a member of the team is involved in the investigation of the death
and must contact a family member in the course of performing his or
her duties outside of the team; or
(3) Enforce any public health standard or criminal law or
otherwise participate in any legal proceeding, except if a member
of the team is involved in the investigation of the death or
resulting prosecution and must participate in a legal proceeding in
the course of performing in his or her duties outside of the team.
(e) Proceedings, records and opinions of the Maternal
Mortality Review Team are confidential, in accordance with section one, article seven, chapter forty-nine of this code, and are not
subject to discovery, subpoena or introduction into evidence in any
civil or criminal proceeding. Nothing in this subsection is to be
construed to limit or restrict the right to discover or use in any
civil or criminal proceeding anything that is available from
another source and entirely independent of the proceedings of the
Maternal Mortality Review Team.
(f) Members of the Maternal Mortality Review Team may not be
questioned in any civil or criminal proceeding regarding
information presented in or opinions formed as a result of a
meeting of the team. Nothing in this subsection may be construed
to prevent a member of the Maternal Mortality Review Team from
testifying to information obtained independently of the team or
which is public information.
(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create a Maternal
Mortality Review Team and to establish its members and
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.
This bill was recommended for passage during the 2008 Regular
Session of the Legislature by the Legislative Oversight Commission
on Health and Human Resources Accountability.)