Emily Rice Published

House Passes Transportation Requirement For SUD Facilities

A man wearing a purple tie stands in the House of Delegates and speaks into a microphone.
Del. Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, and other opponents of Senate Bill 243 argue that it is unnecessary and a non-issue.
Perry Bennett/WV Legislative Photography

Residential substance use disorder (SUD) service facilities will be required to offer discharged patients a way home if Senate Bill 243 is approved into law.

SB 243 would require transportation back to a person’s place of birth, or other location where the individual has ties.

Opponents of the bill argue that it is unnecessary and a non-issue. 

Del. Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, spoke against the bill on the House floor Wednesday. He said because the bill was considered by a Select Committee that met early in the morning, most lawmakers on the floor were unfamiliar with the legislation.

“Not many of you have seen this bill, I would imagine, because it passed through one select committee and then came directly to the floor. It’s not really clear, really what type of facility this would apply to,” Pushkin said. “But I would say with my familiarity with it, that it would only apply to treatment beds, it doesn’t apply to recovery beds, it only applies to facilities that actually can bill Medicaid.”

While speaking in opposition to SB 243, Pushkin told lawmakers that West Virginia already contracts with a company called Modivcare that provides transportation for Medicaid members.

“And the good news is, well, they’re already doing what we’re asking them to do in this bill,” Pushkin said. “We’re already doing it. What the bill now does, though, says you get 30 miles into a neighboring state, you got to kick them out of the vehicle.”

Pushkin said he thinks the bill is based on a false premise that West Virginia’s substance use issues are coming from outside of the state.

“And, unfortunately, that’s not the case. But see, when you blame other things outside of your control for your problems, I guess that absolves you from the responsibility of actually having to do something about it. So this bill is unnecessary,” Pushkin said.

No lawmakers argued in favor of SB 243 on the House floor Wednesday.

The bill passed the House of Delegates with a vote of 82 ayes, 13 nays and five absent or not voting.

SB 243 now returns to the Senate for further consideration.