Legislature increases regulations of pain clinics

The 2016 West Virginia Legislature passed legislation increasing the regulation of pain clinics in response to some licensed clinics evading current law and regulations.   Department of Health and Human Resources officials expressed the need for legislation to close “loopholes” in the law passed by lawmakers in 2012.

The new law corrected an ambiguity in current law, which was being abused by some clinics, by deleting language that pain is a “progressive disease that can reasonably be expected to result in a terminal condition ” — thus the need to treat as pain.

Lawmakers closed another “loophole” by identifying a “pain clinic” as a facility whose patients make up at least 50 percent of total patients of the clinic, rather than in any one month, who are prescribed or dispensed opioids or controlled substances.

The new law also prohibits an accredited medical school from allowing pain clinic personnel as instructors at the school.