Virginia Health Law Update

Quality of HMO Plans. Creates a framework for statutory and regulatory oversight of Managed Care Health Insurance Plans ("MCHIPs"). MCHIPs are defined as arrangements by which a health carrier undertakes to provide, arrange or pay for, or reimburse any of the cost of health care services for a covered person on a prepaid or insured basis which (i) contains incentive arrangements between health carrier and provider and (ii) requires or creates incentives for covered persons to use providers employed by or contracted by the health carrier. All MCHIPs must receive licensure from the Bureau of Insurance and quality assurance certification from the Department of Health. All presently licensed MCHIPs must receive quality assurance certification by July 1, 2000. Each health carrier must have in place special procedures for guaranteeing quality of care in order to receive a certificate. (SB 712)

Assisted Suicide. Prohibits any person from intentionally and knowingly assisting another to commit suicide by providing the physical means or otherwise participating in a physical act which assists the suicide. The person assisting in the suicide may be liable for compensatory and punitive damages. The family, Commonwealth's attorney or Attorney General may seek an injunction. Health care providers can also have their licenses suspended or revoked. (HB 1378)

Partial Birth Abortions. Prohibits partial birth abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother. The offense is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. (HB 1154)

End of Life Decisions. Revisits various statutes relating to who may be authorized to make certain decisions for a decedent or a person who is incapable of making an informed decision. This bill authorizes a person who is designated, in a signed, notarized writing, or, in certain instances, an agent named in an advance directive, to make decisions regarding the disposition of the decedent's body; authorizes such a person to direct that the body be cremated; and authorizes that person to request an autopsy. (HB 861)

Communications by Attorneys with Physicians. Amends Virginia Code 8.01-399 by creating exceptions to the requirement that lawyers obtain information from practitioners of healing arts only through discovery. The added exceptions are intended to facilitate litigation while maintaining confidentiality. (SB 414)

HMO POS Plans. Requires HMOs to offer a point of service benefit in conjunction with the HMO's health care plan as an additional benefit for its enrollees. The point of service benefit will allow enrollees to receive the full range of covered items and services outside of the provider panel. (HB 1075)

Emergency Medical Services DNR Orders. Authorizes the issuance of a Do Not Resuscitate Order by an attending physician for patients who do not wish to receive medical intervention because of bona fide religious convictions. (HB 631)

Lien for Medical Services. Requires service of a written notice of lien to create a lien for medical services. Service of medical bills no longer creates a lien. (HB 791)

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