Jack Walker Published

Senate Bill Aims To Bring More Forensic Pathologists To West Virginia

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, speaks on the Senate floor Friday night, March 10, 2023. He wears a blue jacket over a white shirt with a light blue tie. In one hand he holds a microphone while gesturing with his other hand, which holds a pen.
Pictured here from the 2023 legislative session, Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, is sponsoring a bill in the West Virginia Senate that would fund student loan repayments for forensic pathologists.
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

Both nationally and in West Virginia, a shortage of forensic pathologists — doctors specially trained to perform autopsies — has slowed medical examinations of the deceased.

Now, lawmakers aim to incentivize more of the doctors to practice in West Virginia.

Senate Bill 572 would grant forensic pathologists student loan repayments from the West Virginia Department of Health. The repayments would occur over a period of ten years, provided that the doctors remain licensed within the state.

Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, sponsored the bill. He said that this would help forensic pathologists establish roots in West Virginia and encourage newcomers to pursue the field.

“Hopefully, it gets them here in plenty of time to grow roots and help us get these death certificates done in a timely fashion,” he said Tuesday in a meeting of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.

At the meeting, members of the committee voted in favor of the bill, but first referred it to the Senate Finance Committee for further discussion.