"Birthing center" means a type of facility which is a building, house or the equivalent organized to provide facilities and staff to support a birthing service for pregnant clients.
Any person, partnership, association or corporation, or any local governmental unit or any division, department, board or agency thereof desiring a license hereunder shall file with the department of health an application in such form as the department shall prescribe and furnish accompanied by a fee of ten dollars. Information received by the department of health under the provisions of this section shall be confidential. The director of health is authorized to issue licenses for the operation of birthing centers which are found to comply with the provisions of this article and with all rules and regulations promulgated by the department. The license issued shall not be transferred or assignable. The director of health is authorized to suspend or revoke a license issued hereunder if the provisions of this article or of the rules and regulations are violated.
Before any such license is suspended or revoked, however, written notice shall be given the licensee, stating the grounds of the complaint, and the date, time and place set for the hearing on the complaint, which date shall not be less than thirty days from the time notice is given. Such notice shall be sent by registered mail to the licensee at the address where the institution concerned is located. The licensee shall be entitled to be represented by legal counsel at the hearing.
If a license is revoked as herein provided, a new application for a license shall be considered by the director of health if, when and after, the conditions upon which revocation was based have been corrected and evidence of this fact has been furnished. A new license shall then be granted after proper inspection has been made and all provisions of this article and rules and regulations promulgated hereunder have been satisfied.
All of the pertinent provisions of article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code shall apply to and govern any hearing authorized and required by the provisions of this article and the administrative procedure in connection with and following any such hearing, with like effect as if the provisions of said article five were set forth in extenso in this section.
The court shall have the power to affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the department and either the applicant or licensee or the department may appeal from the court's decision to the supreme court of appeals. Pending the final disposition of the matter the status quo of the applicant or licensee shall be preserved.
Any applicant or licensee who is dissatisfied with the decision of the state department of health as a result of the hearing provided in this section may, within thirty days after receiving notice of the decision, appeal to the circuit court, in term or in vacation, of the county in which the applicant or licensee is located for judicial review of the decision.
The director of health shall promulgate rules and regulations not in conflict with any provision of this article, as it finds necessary in order to ensure adequate care and accommodations for consumers of birthing centers. In promulgating such regulations the director shall be limited to simple, necessary provisions which shall not have the effect of hampering the development and licensure of birthing centers. Such regulations shall not address acceptable site characteristics such as the number of minutes of travel time between a birthing center and a hospital, or physical environment, such as acceptable levels of temperature of any refrigerator found in a birthing center, or clinical equipment, such as the number and kind of clocks which a birthing center must have on the premises. Such regulations shall require that all birthing centers submit satisfactory evidence that the center has implemented the paternity program created pursuant to section thirteen of this article along with any application for licensure.
The Legislature hereby finds and declares that it is in the public interest to encourage the development of birthing centers for the purpose of providing an alternative method of birth and therefore, in order to provide for the licensing of such birthing centers to prevent substantial harm to the public interest because of preexisting delay, within sixty days of passage of this article, the director of health shall proceed to promulgate such rules and regulations under the provisions of section fifteen, article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
Notwithstanding the existence or pursuit of any other remedy, the director may, in the manner provided by law, maintain an action in the name of the state for an injunction against any person, partnership, association, corporation, or any local governmental unit, or any division, department, board or agency thereof, to restrain or prevent the establishment, conduct, management or operation of any birthing center without first obtaining a license therefor in the manner hereinbefore provided.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV 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.