Emily Rice Published

Bill Passes The Senate To Amend State Definitions Of Hospital And Certificate Of Need

A woman stands on the Senate floor in a brown suit speaking into a microphone.
Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, spoke in support of Senate Bill 613.
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

A bill that was laid over on third reading with the right to amend during the West Virginia Legislature’s special Saturday session passed the Senate to the House with all present voting in the affirmative.

The laws surrounding how hospitals determine what services they provide in rural counties will change if Senate Bill 613 becomes a law. It passed the Senate Monday with changes to temper the concerns of some who opposed the bill.

The bill aims to amend the state code relating to a certificate of need (CON). Two sections relate to birthing centers, which are healthcare facilities, staffed by nurse midwives, midwives, and/or obstetricians, for mothers in labor, who may be assisted by doulas and coaches.

Sen. Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, explained the bill and its amendments on the Senate floor. He said the bill changes the minimum expenditure and CON for West Virginia from $5 million to $100 million.

In addition, Senate Bill 613 redefines hospital services and adds a definition of inpatient services. The bill also removes constructing, developing, acquiring, or establishing a birthing center as a reviewable service.

Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, spoke in support of Senate Bill 613.

“I want to thank the chair of the Health Committee for his work. This is something that is very important to the Eastern Panhandle and something we’ve been working on for many years,” Rucker said. “Is this perfect? No. Is there more we could do regarding CON? Absolutely. But this is a great first step. And I consider it a really important bill. So thank you and I urge support.”