Adopted by House 4-9-2013
SB108 HH&HR AM 4-4
The Committee on Health and Human Resources moves to amend the bill, by striking everything after the enacting clause and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
“That §48-25A-1, §48-25A-2, and §48-25A-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed; that §48-27A-1, §48-27A-2, and §48-27A-3 of said code be repealed; that §49-5D-5 of said code be repealed; that said code be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §61-12A-1, §61-12A-2, §61-12A-3, §61-12A-4 and §61-12A-5, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 12A. FATALITY REVIEW TEAM.
§61-12A-1. Fatality Review Team.
(a) A fatality review team is created under the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The fatality review team combines the Maternal Mortality Review Team, the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team and the Child Fatality Review Team. The fatality review team is a multidisciplinary team created to examine, review and analyze the deaths of all persons in West Virginia who die as a result of unintentional prescription or pharmaceutical drug overdoses; the deaths of children under the age of eighteen years; the deaths resulting from suspected domestic violence; and the deaths of all infants and of all women who die during pregnancy, at the time of birth or within one year of the birth of a child.
(b) The fatality review team shall consist of the following:
(1) The Chief Medical Examiner in the Bureau for Public Health or his or her designee, who is to serve as the chairperson and who is responsible for calling and coordinating all meetings;
(2) The Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health or his or her designee;
(3) The Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police or his or her designee; and
(4) A prosecuting attorney or his or her designee, as appointed by the Governor.
(c) Each member serve for a term of three years, unless otherwise reappointed to a second or subsequent term. Members shall continue to serve until their respective terms expire or until their successors have been appointed.
(d) Each member 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.
§61-12A-2. Responsibilities of the Fatality Review Team.
(a) The Fatality Review Team shall:
(1) Review and analyze all deaths as required by this article;
(2) Ascertain and document the trends, patterns and risk factors;
(3) Provide statistical information and analysis regarding the causes of certain fatalities.
(b) During the review process, the team may include any additional persons with expertise or knowledge in a particular field that it determines is needed in the review and consideration of a particular case as a result of a death in subsection (a) of section one.
(c) The fatality 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 fatality;
(2) Contact a family member of the deceased;
(3) Enforce any public health standard or criminal law or otherwise participate in any legal proceeding; or
(4) Otherwise take any action which, in the determination of a prosecuting attorney or his or her assistants, impairs the ability of the prosecuting attorney, his or her assistants or any law-enforcement officer to perform his or her statutory duties.
(d) The fatality review team shall submit an annual report to the Governor and to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability concerning its activities within the state. The report is due annually on December 1. The report is to include statistical information concerning cases reviewed during the year, trends and patterns concerning these cases and the team’s recommendations to reduce the number of unintentional pharmaceutical drug overdose fatalities in the state.
§61-12A-3. Access to information; other agencies of government required to cooperate.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, the fatality review team may request information and records as necessary to carry out its responsibilities. Records and information that may be requested under this section include:
(1) Medical, dental and mental health records;
(2) Substance abuse records to the extent allowed by federal law; and
(3) Information and records maintained by any state, county and local government agency, except as provided in subsection (c), section two of this article.
(b) State, county and local government agencies shall provide the fatality review team with any information requested in writing by the team.
(a) Proceedings, records and opinions of the fatality review team are confidential and are not subject to discovery, subpoena or introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding. This section does not 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 fatality review team.
(b) Members of the fatality 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. This subsection does not prevent a member of the fatality review team from testifying to information obtained independently of the team or which is public information.
(c) Proceedings, records and opinions of the fatality review team are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, as provided in chapter twenty-nine-b of this code.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, in consultation with the fatality review team, shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. Those rules shall include, at a minimum:
(1) The standard procedures for the conduct of the fatality review team;
(2) The processes and protocols for the review and analysis of fatalities of those who were not suffering from mortal diseases shortly before death;
(3) The processes and protocols to ensure confidentiality of records obtained by the fatality review team; and
(4) Other rules as may be deemed necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article.