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Justice signs three more bills into law

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice continues to sign bills into law following the 2021 regular legislative session.

On Wednesday, Justice held a virtual signing ceremony that included three bills going into law: SB 634– Requiring training of certain officers for persons with autism spectrum disorder; HB 2263– Update the regulation of pharmacy benefit managers; SB 714– Relating to physician assistant (PA) practice act.

“SB 634 requires law enforcement and correctional officers to be trained on the best ways to interact with those who have autism,” Justice said.

Mark Ellison, the Director of Autism Training at Marshall, said only two states require autism-specific training for officers and this would put the state out in front of the world.

George Manahan, director of Charleston Parkinson’s Support Group spoke about HB 2263. He said West Virginia would be the first state to require drug discounts or rebates negotiated by insurance companies for patients to be passed on to the patient. The bill requires insurance companies and benefits managers to share savings they receive in the form of rebates from drug manufacturers.

“HB 2263 is a first in the nation legislation that will save West Virginians with commercial health insurance,” he said.

Justice said of HB 2263, “With this bill, West Virginia will lead the country in lowering prescription drug prices for many of our residents. I am honored to do my part to sign this bill that we can help thousands of West Virginians afford prescription drugs.”

SB 714 expands the scope of practice of a PA, allowing them more freedom to work with collaborating physicians with care in line with their education, training and experience, Dean Wright, Clinical Coordinator at Marshall said.

“PAs working in collaboration with a physician. The whole development of the PA program and concept relates to the relationship with physicians. We are part of team practice before there was a team practice of medicine,” Wright said.

Wright said there are 140,000 PAs in the county but only 0.7% working in West Virginia. He expects that number to change based on this law.

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