Virginia Health Law Legislation

Access to Emergency Treatment. 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Notice to Parent Prior to Performing Abortion on Minor. 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)

Mary C. Malone
Ms. Malone is an Associate in the Firm.
E-mail: [email protected]