Code of Virginia

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

Article 5. Local Health Departments and Directors.

§ 32.1-30. Local health departments.

Each county and city shall establish and maintain a local department of health which shall be headed by a local health director. Each such local health director shall be a physician licensed to practice medicine in this Commonwealth.

1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-31. Operation of local health department under contract with Board; local health services advisory boards; district health departments.

A. The governing body of any county or city may enter into a contract with the Board for the operation of the local health department in such county or city.

B. Each contract between a county or city and the Board shall specify the services to be provided in addition to the services required by law and shall contain such other provisions as the Board and the governing body of the county or city may agree upon.

C. Whenever in the opinion of the State Health Commissioner the operation of any local health departments operated under contractual agreement with the Board may be accomplished in a more efficient and economical manner by the consolidation of such local health departments, the Commissioner may propose the creation of a district health department composed of such local health departments. Such district health department shall be created by resolution duly adopted by the governing body of each county and city to be included in such district.

C1. The governing body of each city or county may appoint a local health services advisory board for the local health department that serves it. If a local health department serves more than one city or county, the governing bodies of the cities or counties that it serves shall be entitled to jointly appoint such a board. The board shall include representatives of health care providers, recipients of health department services, state and local agencies with programs operated in conjunction with the health department, and the public at large. No more than two elected officials shall serve on any board.

The number of members appointed to each local board shall not be less than ten nor more than fifteen.

The local board shall actively participate with community representatives in the formulation of a comprehensive plan for the development, coordination and evaluation of local health services systems and shall make formal recommendations to the governing authority or authorities at least annually concerning the comprehensive plan and its implementation during the ensuing year.

It shall be the responsibility of the local health director to:

1. Attend the meetings of the board;

2. Provide information concerning the operation of the local health department as requested by the board; and

3. Participate with the board in the preparation and review of the comprehensive plan.

D. Whenever a contract is entered into between a county or city and the Board as provided in this section, the Commissioner shall appoint the health director for the local health department. Whenever a district health department is formed as provided in this section, the Commissioner shall appoint a district health director who shall be deemed to be the local health director of each county and city in the district. Each health director appointed by the Commissioner shall be employed full time and shall be a state employee. Such health director shall perform such duties as may be prescribed in the contract or contracts and, with the approval of the Commissioner, any other health-related duties prescribed by local ordinances.

E. Every employee of a local or district health department operated under a contract with the Board shall be a state employee; but if such person was an employee of such political subdivision and a member of the local retirement system on the effective date of any such contract and does not elect, in writing and within sixty days after the effective date of such contract, to become a member of the Commonwealth's retirement system, such employee shall remain a member of the local retirement system.

In any case in which the effective date of such contract of affiliation is prior to July 1, 1977, any member of the Virginia Retirement System who became a member by such election and who has withdrawn his contributions from the local retirement system may be credited with his creditable service in such local system upon payment to the Virginia Retirement System of an amount equal to five percent of his salary rate at the date of payment multiplied by the number of years of service to be credited. Such crediting of service shall be allowed only if such member files written request therefor with the Board prior to October 1, 1977.

Code 1950, §§ 32-40.1, 32-40.2; 1954, c. 508; 1966, c. 535; 1977, c. 620; 1979, c. 711; 1987, c. 206.

§ 32.1-32. Independent local health departments.

A. The governing body of any county or city which does not enter into a contract with the Board for the operation of the local health department shall appoint the local health director and may appoint a local board of health to establish policies and to advise the local health department.

B. Each local health director and local board of health appointed by a governing body as provided in this section shall enforce all health laws of this Commonwealth and regulations of the State Board of Health. In case any such local health director or local board fails to enforce any such laws or regulations, the Commissioner may apply to the appropriate circuit court for an injunction, writ of mandamus or other appropriate remedy to compel such local health director or local board to enforce such laws or regulations.

1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-33. When Board to perform duties of local board.

If any governing body of a county or city which does not enter into a contract with the Board for the operation of the local health department does not appoint a local health director or establish a local health department, the Board may exercise the authority and perform the duties of the local health director or local health department until a local health director is appointed or local health department is established by the governing body. The compensation of all officers and agents appointed by the Board under this section and the expenses incurred by them shall be a charge upon and shall be paid by such governing body.

Code 1950, § 32-40; 1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-34. Scope of local health ordinances and regulations.

No county, city or town ordinance or regulation shall be less stringent in the protection of the public health than any applicable state law or any applicable regulations of the Board.

1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-34.1. Power to seek and receive donations.

Any health department operating under the provisions of this article is empowered to seek and accept grants, bequests or donations of money and resources from private persons in support of projects conducted under the auspices of the Virginia Health Care Foundation or other preventive or primary health care projects. A separate fund shall be established so as to segregate the amounts appropriated and the amounts bequeathed or contributed thereto. No portion of this fund derived from private contributions or bequests and designated for support of Virginia Health Care Foundation projects shall be used for any other purpose. Any money remaining in this fund at the end of the biennium shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the fund described herein. Interest earned on such moneys shall remain in this fund and be credited to it. Money bequeathed or contributed to this fund shall not be used to supplant local or state appropriations.

1995, c. 498.

§ 32.1-34.2. Human trafficking hotline; posted notice required.

Each local department of health shall post notice of the existence of a human trafficking hotline to alert possible witnesses or victims of human trafficking to the availability of a means to report crimes or gain assistance. The notice required by this section shall (i) be posted in a place readily visible and accessible to the public and (ii) meet the requirements specified in subsection C of § 40.1-11.3.

2018, c. 571.