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Senate Bill 4 - Incentivizing Indigent Care

Photo of Charlotte Hoffman Norris

In the past, the West Virginia Legislature has encouraged healthcare providers to donate their time and talents to care for indigent patients, including creating special licenses for retired providers to continue practicing for the limited purpose of volunteering at free clinics and also providing civil immunity for that free care. See e.g. W.Va. Code § 30-3-10a.

Through SB4, a new incentive for donating care to the indigent patient is contemplated-namely, awarding continuing education units ("CEUs") in a one to one ratio of hours volunteered to continuing education units received. Thus, in exchange for volunteering to provide uncompensated care to indigent patients:

a. A medical doctor can earn up to ten (10) CEU hours per reporting period;

b. An osteopathic physician can earn up to seven (7) CEU hours per reporting period;

c. A dentist can earn up to eight (8) CEU hours per reporting period;

d. A dental hygienist can earn up to five (5) CEU hours per reporting period;

e. A pharmacist can earn up to six (6) CEU hours per reporting period;

f. A registered nurse can earn up to three (3) CEU hours per reporting period;

g. An optometrist can earn up to nine (9) CEU hours per reporting period;

h. A physical therapist can earn up to five (5) CEU hours per reporting period;

i. A psychologist can earn up to four (4) CEU hours per reporting period; and,

j. An occupational therapist can earn up to five (5) CEU hours per reporting period.

Additionally, SB4 includes language that would permit the healthcare professionals to provide the volunteer services at the free clinic or at their own offices, based upon the written arrangement that they reach with the free clinic.

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