WEST virginia legislature
2017 regular session
House Bill 2812
By Delegates Rohrbach, Foster, G., Lewis, Hanshaw and Boggs
[Introduced March 7,
to the Committee on Government Organization then Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-52-1, §16-52-2 and §16-52-3, all relating to the creation of the Office of Rural Health within the Center for Rural Health Development, Inc.; creating a steering committee; and establishing structure and responsibilities.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-52-1, §16-52-2 and §16-52-3, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 52. OFFICE OF RURAL HEALTH POLICY.
§16-52-1. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds:
(1) The majority of West Virginia citizens live in rural West Virginia;
(2) A viable rural health care delivery system is an integral part of the economic infrastructure, like water, sewer, roads, schools and broadband, needed in rural communities to attract and retain businesses and jobs;
(3) A healthy workforce is also needed to attract jobs and business development throughout West Virginia;
(4) Rural West Virginia typically experiences higher rates of poverty, an older population, a higher number of people who do not complete high school, and a more challenged health care system;
(5) These findings indicate that rural West Virginia has some unique factors that are important to policymakers as they make decisions that impact health and health care in rural West Virginia; and
(6) The health and economic well-being of West Virginia and its citizens requires the development of a comprehensive rural health plan focused on the quality of care, economic viability of health care delivery systems, access to health and dental care services, and workforce development with the goal of strengthening rural health systems and improving the health of the citizens of West Virginia.
§16-52-2. Establishment of the Office of Rural Health Policy.
(a) The Office of Rural Health Policy is created and shall be managed and operated in the private sector within the Center for Rural Health Development, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary purpose is to strengthen West Virginia’s rural health care delivery systems and improve the health of our citizens.
(1) The Center for Rural Health Development, Inc. is able to annually provide $3.00 in matching funds using private funds to every $1.00 of federal funds provided through the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s funding to establish a state office of rural health policy in each state. The funds are to be used to carry out the goals of the Office of Rural Health Policy as stated in this article. The $3.00 in matching funds is not required of other federal funding managed by the Office of Rural Health Policy.
(b) The Office of Rural Health Policy shall:
(1) Provide advice on rural health issues to the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Governor, the Legislature and other state government agencies;
(2) Administer grant programs designed to build health care capacity, improve access to care, promote the use of tele-health technologies, develop rural health leaders, and improve health of West Virginians; including, but not limited to, the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant, Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program Grant and other grants offered through the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy or other federal agencies;
(3) Coordinate provider and allied health recruitment and retention efforts in West Virginia;
(4) Partner with statewide quality improvement initiatives;
(5) Engage stakeholders, especially the Department of Health and Human Resources, to develop and implement the rural health plan to provide policymakers, funders and stakeholder organizations with a common vision and steps to improve rural health in West Virginia;
(6) Coordinate and provide technical assistance to strengthen the rural health infrastructure in West Virginia;
(7) Engage stakeholders, including those in other sectors, to develop and implement evidence-based strategies to build healthy communities throughout rural communities in West Virginia;
(8) Establish relationships with federal policymakers and agencies, and rural health organizations and agencies in the United States to serve as an advocate for West Virginia;
(9) Employ staff and develop policies as necessary to perform the duties of the Office of Rural Health Policy; and
(10) Prepare a budget using available resources from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, funds from other available resources and any other public and private sources to carry out these stated duties.
§16-52-3. Creation of a steering committee.
(a) The board of the Center for Rural Health Development, Inc., designated as the Office of Rural Health Policy, shall establish a steering committee responsible for advising the development of the rural health plan and implementation of all activities established in this article.
(b) The members of the steering committee shall reflect balanced geographical representation and diverse backgrounds.
(c) The steering committee shall consist of between nine and fifteen voting members, including:
(1) One representative chosen by the West Virginia Rural Health Association;
(2) One representative chosen by the West Virginia Hospital Association;
(3) One representative chosen by each of West Virginia’s two United States Senators;
(4) One representative of the Department of Health and Human Resources chosen by the secretary;
(5) One representative chosen by the board of the Center for Rural Health Development, Inc.; and
(6) The remaining members selected by the above designated steering committee members to bring expertise, skills and experience to the steering committee’s deliberations.
(d) All steering committee members serve for three-year terms, except that a member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which a predecessor was appointed serves the remainder of the unexpired term. A member may not serve more than two consecutive three-year terms.
(e) Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the steering committee shall be filled in the same manner as the initial membership provided in subsection (c) of this section. A vacancy does not affect the ability of the remaining members to carry out the duties of the steering committee.
(f) The Office of Rural Health Policy may reimburse members of the steering committee for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, including attending steering committee meetings.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish the Office of Rural Health Policy.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.