Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
Chapter 1. Administration Generally
4/21/2021

Article 3. Department of Health and State Health Commissioner.

§ 32.1-16. State Department of Health.

A. There shall be a State Department of Health in the executive department responsible to the Secretary of Health and Human Resources. The Department shall be under the supervision and management of the State Health Commissioner. The Commissioner shall carry out his management and supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the policies, rules and regulations of the Board.

B. In addition to other duties imposed on the Department pursuant to this title, the Department shall assist in the plan management functions of the federal health benefit exchange established by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to § 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act codified as 42 U.S.C. § 18041(c) in the Commonwealth, including providing assistance to the State Corporation Commission in its performance of plan management functions as set forth in § 38.2-326. The Department shall be compensated for expenses incurred in providing such services.

1979, c. 711; 2013, cc. 670, 679.

§ 32.1-17. Appointment of Commissioner; qualifications; term.

A. There shall be a State Health Commissioner appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by each house of the General Assembly. The Commissioner shall be a physician licensed to practice medicine in this Commonwealth and shall be certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine or a recognized board in a primary care specialty as approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties, experienced in public health duties, sanitary science and environmental health, and otherwise qualified to execute the duties incumbent upon him by law.

B. The Commissioner shall be appointed for a term coincident with that of the Governor and shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

Code 1950, §§ 32-23, 32-25; 1979, c. 711; 2000, c. 168.

§ 32.1-18. Executive officer of Board.

The Commissioner shall be the executive officer of the Board but shall not be a member thereof.

Code 1950, § 32-24; 1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-19. Duties prescribed by Board.

A. The Commissioner shall perform such duties as the Board may require, in addition to the duties required by law.

B. The Commissioner shall, along with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, work to combat childhood obesity and other chronic health conditions that affect school-age children.

C. The Commissioner shall ensure, in the licensure of health care facilities, that quality of care, patient safety, and patient privacy are the overriding goals of such licensure and related enforcement efforts.

D. The Commissioner shall coordinate the Department's emergency preparedness and response efforts.

E. The Commissioner shall ensure that prevention of disease and protection of public health remain the Department's overriding goals.

F. The Commissioner shall designate a senior staff member of the Department, who shall be a licensed physician, to oversee minority health efforts of the Department.

G. The Commissioner shall designate a senior official of the Department, who shall be a licensed physician or nurse practitioner, to coordinate all women's health efforts in the Department including, but not limited to, the "Every Woman's Life Program," and other efforts to prevent, detect, and treat breast cancer, cervical cancer, and other diseases that primarily affect women.

Code 1950, § 32-27; 1979, c. 711; 2007, cc. 43, 55, 320, 343, 793, 797.

§ 32.1-19.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, c. 683.

§ 32.1-20. Vested with authority of Board.

The Commissioner shall be vested with all the authority of the Board when it is not in session, subject to such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Board.

Code 1950, § 32-28; 1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-21. Salary; teaching activities.

The Commissioner shall receive such salary as is fixed by law and shall devote his entire time to his official duties; provided, however, that the Board, with the approval of the Governor, may authorize the Commissioner to accept or undertake teaching activities.

Code 1950, § 32-26; 1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-22. Personnel; Deputy Commissioner.

A. The Commissioner may employ such personnel as are necessary for the proper performance of his duties as executive officer of the Board.

B. The Commissioner, subject to the approval of the Board, may appoint a Deputy Commissioner of Health who shall meet the qualifications for appointment as Commissioner and who may exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Commissioner in the case of the absence or inability to act of the Commissioner.

Code 1950, § 32-31; 1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-23. Publication of information.

A. The Commissioner may provide for the publication and distribution of such information as may contribute to the preservation of the public health and the prevention of disease.

B. The Commissioner shall establish, maintain and publicize a toll-free number to provide resource and referral information on pharmaceutical companies' free and discount drug programs for persons who demonstrate financial hardship or otherwise meet program eligibility criteria. Such information shall include, but not be limited to, available drugs, participating pharmaceutical companies, and application procedures for each of the pharmaceutical companies and dispensing methods. Such information shall also include the locations of various Pharmacy Connect programs accessible by that person. The Commissioner may contract with one or more public or private organizations to administer this resource and referral program.

Code 1950, § 32-11; 1979, c. 711; 2001, c. 823; 2002, c. 896.

§ 32.1-23.01. Information about and resources on palliative care.

The Department shall make information about and resources on palliative care available to the public, health care providers, and health care facilities on its website. Such information shall include information about the delivery of palliative care in the home and in primary, secondary, and tertiary environments; best practices for the delivery of palliative care; consumer education materials and referral information for palliative care; and continuing education opportunities for health care providers.

2017, cc. 471, 746.

§ 32.1-23.1. Alternative delivery of certain information; Commissioners to develop single application form for pharmaceutical assistance programs and pharmaceutical discount purchasing cards; certain analysis of access to The Pharmacy Connection program.

A. The Commissioner shall create links from the Virginia Department of Health's website to the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services' website and its affiliated sites pertaining to pharmaceutical assistance programs and pharmaceutical discount purchasing cards. The Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services shall cooperate with the Commissioner of Health by ensuring that such information is available on the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services' website.

B. The Commissioner shall ensure that all clinical sites administered by local health departments are provided with adequate information concerning the services of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, including, but not limited to, its toll-free telephone number and its website information on pharmaceutical assistance programs and pharmaceutical discount purchasing cards.

C. The Commissioner of Health and the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services shall coordinate the dissemination of information to the public regarding any pharmaceutical discount purchasing card programs while maintaining a neutral posture regarding such programs.

In addition, with such funds as may be made available, the Commissioner of Health and the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services shall disseminate information to the public concerning recent congressional actions relating to pharmaceutical benefits to be provided under the Medicare program and how such benefits may help senior citizens with the costs of pharmaceutical benefits.

D. The Commissioner shall establish a toll-free telephone number, to be administered by the Virginia Department of Health, which shall provide recorded information concerning services available from the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, the Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and other appropriate organizations for senior citizens.

E. The Commissioner of Health and the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services shall develop a strategy, in coordination with the Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging and other private and nonprofit organizations, for disseminating information to the public concerning the availability of pharmaceutical assistance programs and for training senior citizen volunteers to assist in completing applications for pharmaceutical assistance programs and pharmaceutical discount purchasing cards.

F. In addition to the responsibilities set forth in subsections A through E, the Commissioner of Health and the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services shall encourage pharmaceutical manufacturers to include application forms for pharmaceutical discount purchasing card programs on their respective websites in a format capable of being downloaded and printed by consumers. When practicable, the website maintained by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services shall include direct links to such forms. Further, the Commissioner of Health and the Commissioner for Aging and Rehabilitative Services shall report to the Governor and General Assembly by October 30, 2004, on the feasibility of developing a single application form for Virginians to use to seek eligibility for the nearly 50 pharmaceutical assistance programs and pharmaceutical discount purchasing cards.

In determining feasibility, the Commissioners shall obtain copies of the application forms used by such pharmaceutical assistance programs and pharmaceutical discount purchasing cards in Virginia, compile a list of the various information required to complete such application forms, identify common elements, and analyze the forms for readability and simplicity. Upon completion of this analysis, the Commissioners shall assess the feasibility of designing a single, concise application form that is logically formatted, written in clear and easily comprehensible language, and covers any and all data that may be required to obtain eligibility for any such pharmaceutical assistance program or pharmaceutical discount purchasing card.

G. In order to maximize the benefits of the new Medicare pharmaceutical discount card program for Virginia's senior citizens, the Commissioner of Health shall annually for two years commencing on July 1, 2005, (i) analyze access to The Pharmacy Connection program vis-a-vis the Medicare pharmaceutical discount card program, the $600 transitional coverage provided under federal law, and pharmaceutical companies' offers of "wrap-around" coverage for low-income seniors; and (ii) recommend, to the Virginia Health Care Foundation, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and the Governor, appropriate localities for expansion of access to The Pharmacy Connection program in Virginia, particularly in areas having high concentrations of low-income seniors. The goal of the Commissioner's analysis shall be to facilitate statewide implementation of The Pharmacy Connection program. The Commissioner shall complete this analysis by October 31 of each year and shall immediately request an estimate of the costs of the recommended expansion of such access from the Virginia Health Care Foundation to be forwarded to the Secretary and the Governor, for inclusion in the appropriation act, in so far as possible and appropriate to promote the health and safety of Virginia's senior citizens.

H. To assist them in completing the responsibilities set forth in subsections E, F, and G, the Commissioners may appoint an advisory task force of stakeholders.

2003, cc. 661, 674; 2004, cc. 73, 318; 2005, c. 715; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 32.1-23.2. Sexual assault nurse examiner information.

A. The Department shall develop and make available on a website maintained by the Department information about the availability of certified sexual assault nurse examiners in the Commonwealth. Such information shall include the name of the hospital at which a certified sexual assault nurse examiner is employed; the location, including street address, of the hospital; and the contact information for the hospital. A link to the information shall be prominently displayed on the Department's website, and such information shall be made available in a format that is easily accessible to and navigable by members of the public.

B. Every hospital licensed by the Department shall quarterly report to the Department, in a form and by such date as shall be designated by the Department, the total number of certified sexual assault nurse practitioners employed by the hospital and the location, including street address, and contact information for each location at which such certified sexual assault nurse practitioner provides services.

2020, c. 1088.