An amendment to West Virginia Code §30-3A-2 will provide protections, under certain circumstances, to providers who decline to prescribe, or decline to continue to prescribe, controlled substances to certain patients. 

Senate Bill 627, an amendment to West Virginia Code §30-3A-2, was approved in March during the legislative session.

From the bill:

“(b) A health care provider, as defined in section two, article seven-b, chapter fifty-five of this code, with prescriptive authority is not subject to disciplinary sanctions by a licensing board or criminal punishment by the state for declining to prescribe, or declining to continue to prescribe, any controlled substance to a patient which the health care provider with prescriptive authority is treating if the health care provider with prescriptive authority in the exercise of reasonable prudent judgment believes the patient is misusing the controlled substance in an abusive manner or unlawfully diverting a controlled substance legally prescribed for their use. (c) A licensed registered professional nurse is not subject to disciplinary sanctions by a licensing board or criminal punishment by the state for administering pain-relieving controlled substances to alleviate or control pain, if administered in accordance with the orders of a licensed physician”.

Chapter 55 of the bill was also modified to make it clear that a practitioner cannot be held liable to a patient for the same conduct. It states:

“A health care provider with prescriptive authority is not liable to a patient or third party for declining to prescribe, or declining to continue to prescribe, any controlled substance to a patient which the health care provider with prescriptive authority is treating if the health care provider with prescriptive authority in the exercise of reasonable prudent judgment believes the patient is misusing the controlled substance in an abusive manner or unlawfully diverting a controlled substance legally prescribed for their use.”

Providers with questions about these amendments can contact Judie Charlton, MD, chief medical officer.