The West Virginia (WV) Legislature has encouraged healthcare providers to donate their time and talents to care for indigent patients, including creating special licenses that aid qualified professionals in volunteering at free clinics, as well as providing civil immunity for that free care. See e.g. W. Va. Code § 30-3-10a. Donated healthcare in WV works because it allows licensed professionals to donate their time caring for the poor in a clinical setting.
WV Law Aids Donated Healthcare in WV
Passed in 2017, WV Senate Bill 4 incentivizes donated healthcare for indigent patients by making it easier for retired and retiring medical professionals to donate their services. The law establishes special volunteer medical licenses for retired professionals. It also eliminates barriers for qualified professionals from other states to offer donated healthcare for West Virginians.
Special Medical Licensure for Retired Medical Professionals
Of course, the special license provided for by WV law requires continued training just like any other medical license. Continuing education units ("CEUs") are rewarded in a one-to-one ratio of hours volunteered to CEUs received.
In exchange for volunteering to provide uncompensated care to indigent patients, medical professionals receive the following CEU credits:
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
j. An occupational therapist can earn up to five (5) CEU hours per reporting period.
Additional Options for Locations of Donated Healthcare in WV
SB4 permits healthcare professionals to provide the donated services at a free clinic or at their own offices, based upon the written arrangement that they reach with a free clinic.
Donated Healthcare Services by Out-of-State Professionals
When disasters strike and there is an increase in need for donated healthcare services, many kind professionals offer to donate their medical services to Mountaineers. Past legislation has inhibited these unselfish professionals from working in the state, but WV Senate Bill 4 addressed that problem by offering a seven-day license for qualified medical professionals to provide donated healthcare. The result? A true win-win situation for both indigent West Virginians and healthcare providers.