Virginia Health Law Legislation
The state of Virginia put in place various laws and regulations for health insurance as well as various health related programs that are available in the state. The insurance laws and regulations passed by the state government are administered by the Bureau of Insurance, which is part of the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Virginia laws direct providers such as a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) to provide access to 24-hour medical care. The laws stipulate 24-hour access via telephone to a licensed health professional or a physician. All Health Maintenance Organizations in the state are required to provide to their members a description or detailed information to follow for access to emergency services.
Amendment to Virginia Code § 38.2-4312.3 provides members of health maintenance organizations (HMOs) with access to a system of 24-hour emergency services. This law directs HMOs to provide either 24-hour access to medical care or 24-hour access by telephone to a physician or licensed health professional with appropriate medical training. HMOs must reimburse hospital emergency facilities for medical screening and stabilization rendered to meet the requirements of the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (the EMTALA provisions of COBRA) if (1) the HMO or its designees or the member’s primary care physician authorizes, directs, or refers a member to use a hospital emergency facility, or (2) the HMO fails to provide a system for providing 24-hour access. The statute requires HMOs to provide their members a description of the procedures to be followed for emergency services. (HB 2062)
Virginia allows the for the Board of Health to determine the income levels an individual of family needs to meet to be recognized as medically indignant. This means that individuals and families who cannot afford any type of health care will have services provided by the State Department of Health free of charge. The Board of Health may also detail the charges or fees to be paid by individuals and families that are not found to be medically indignant.
In Virginia a patient’s medical records cannot be removed from the premises of a health care provider or a facility where they are maintained. Records can only be removed with the approval of the health care entity or a court order or other type or written request. Health care providers do need to disclose health records to an individual who needs information about his health records. Virginia law also makes it a crime to falsify a patient’s medical records. Falsifying records is punishable as a misdemeanor offense.
Copying Patient Records. Amendment and reenactment of Virginia Code §§ 8.01-413 and 54.1-2403.3 and addition of § 32.1-127.1:03 to replace 32.1-127.1:02 revises the laws relating to obtaining, copying, and ownership and storage of patient records. A new provision sets out elaborate procedures for obtaining copies of records pursuant to written request only, subpoenas for records, motions to quash subpoenas for records, and the records of a pro se party or non-party. (HB 2733)
Notice to Parent
Health care providers in Virginia are required under law to notify a parent before performing an abortion procedure on a minor. Virginia law gives juvenile and family courts jurisdiction regarding whom a notification is sent. This can include a parent, a legal guardian or a legal custodian of the minor. Exceptions are given when abuse or neglect is suspected or a procedure is medically necessary to prevent death or physical injury.
Amendment and reenactment of Virginia Code §16.1-241 grants juvenile and family courts jurisdiction over procedures requiring notice to a parent, persons standing in loco parentis, or duly appointed guardian or custodian of an unemancipated minor prior to performing an abortion upon the minor. Exceptions are provided in cases of suspected abuse and neglect and when medically necessary to avert death or serious risk of substantial impairment of major bodily function or substantial physical injury. The penalty for violation of this statute is punishment as a class 3 misdemeanor. (SB 1148)
Continuation of Coverage
Insurance laws in the state of Virginia allow a disabled person as well as surviving dependent or spouse of a disabled person to continue health insurance coverage. Continued coverage will also be afforded to the surviving spouse and dependents of special groups such as police officers and firefighters. The cost of continued coverage is paid for by the general fund of the state treasury. Coverage will only be provided if a disability or death occurs while on the job or while on duty.
Conforming Virginia Law to HIPAA. Article 4.1 is added to Title 38.2, Chapter 34, of the Virginia Code. These statutes require that Virginia health insurance laws comply with the federal requirements contained in the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. (HB 2887)
Disposition of Assets. Sections 55-531, 55-532, and 55-533 are added to the Virginia Code. These statutes require any non-profit, tax-exempt hospital, HMO, or health service plan to provide to the Attorney General written notice of its intent to dispose of assets at least 60 days before such action so that the Attorney General may exercise his common law and statutory authority over the transaction. The statute requires that notice be given by publication to the community as well. (HB 2335)
Falsification of Patient Records. Amendment to Virginia Code § 18.2-260.1 creates a new crime for any person who fraudulently falsifies any patient record, which is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor. (HB 2428)
Program for Impaired Practitioners. Virginia Code § 54.1-2923.1 authorizes the Board of Medicine to establish, through contracts with non-profit corporations and professional organizations, programs for impaired practitioners among those professions regulated by the Board of Medicine. (SB 964)