HB 4334, which Delegate Fleischauer co-sponsored, addresses the licensing of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and allows them to practice nursing to the extent of their education. Previously, APRNs could only prescribe and practice when they were in a collaborative relationship with a WV physician. With passage, APRNs can prescribe (except opioids) and practice nursing independently after completion of three years of practice in a collaborative relationship. This will help increase access to the medical care patients need, especially in rural areas.
Since 1978, our state has required pharmacies to always offer consumers generic drugs and to pass on the savings between the generic drug and the brand name drug to the consumer. Pharmacies in our state were sued when several companies began keeping a portion of the savings. Delegate Fleischauer successfully fought off attempts to legalize this practice in 2009 (HB 2513) and 2011 (HB 3828).
According to the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC), people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 75 percent higher risk of melanoma. Prior to adoption of SB 464, West Virginia had no regulation of the tanning bed industry. Delegate Fleischauer was the lead sponsor of the House companion bill, HB 2738 in 2013. Passage of SB 464 means local public health departments can conduct inspections, tanning bed facilities will be required to check for proof of age and customers must sign consent forms warning them of the risks of using tanning beds. The final version of the bill banned indoor tanning by children under age 14. Because of the high risk of cancer to children, Delegate Fleischauer intends to continue to work on this issue until children under 18 are prohibited from using tanning beds.
For years, Delegate Fleischauer sponsored legislation to close an insurance loophole that allowed the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) and some private insurers to avoid paying for maternity care and contraception for dependents (HB 2185). Passage of the Senate version, SB 22 in 2013, closed half the loophole, so now maternity care for dependents must be covered, just like other medically necessary healthcare. However, there was still an exception that allowed insurance companies to avoid paying for contraception for minor dependents. Delegate Fleischauer will keep working to end this discriminatory practice until the problem is fixed.
As a result of passage of HB 2729 in 2013, sponsored by Delegate Fleischauer and passed in 2013, trained school staff, supervised by school nurses, are able to administer epinephrine in cases of severe allergic reactions. Deaths of children in other states prompted similar legislation and thanks to Mylan, an international pharmaceutical company which started in Morgantown, over 20,000 EpiPens (™) were distributed to schools in West Virginia at no charge.
In 1995, women Legislators asked the Bureau for Public Health to study the cost to the state of injuries resulting from osteoporosis. The Bureau issued a report estimating the expense to the state of osteoporotic fractures to be in the range of $46 million per year. As a result of this data, Delegate Fleischauer became a co-sponsor of HB 4198, the Osteoporosis Treatment and Prevention Education Act, which began state planning and provided funding in the budget for programs to reduce the incidence of this disease, which at the time was not well known. A similar program was established by a bill she authored in 2006 (HB 4685) to deal with arthritis, another painful, crippling disease.
Delegate Fleischauer championed the need for improving our state's oral health by sponsoring and passing HB 3107 in 2002. The bill established an office of Oral Health with a Director, who must be a dentist, and sets forth duties, which include adopting a comprehensive plan to improve dental care in the state, setting standards for oral cancer screening, educating the public and working with other health professionals to prevent oral diseases.
Having benefited from care from alternative health care providers, Delegate Fleischauer sponsored and passed legislation that for the first time regulated the acupuncture profession (HB 4200 in 1996) and the massage therapy profession (HB 2609 in 1997 and HB 4305 in 1998) to ensure the safety of the public.
Prompted by contacts from students as well as officials with Well WVU, Delegate Fleischauer introduced legislation in 2014 (HB 4189) and 2015 (HB 2045) relating to providing amnesty for persons who call 911 to prevent a death from an alcohol or drug overdose. After extensive work in the House and Senate Health and Human Resources committees during interim and regular sessions, the Governor introduced legislation which ultimately passed, SB 523.
West Virginia has had the highest opioid drug overdose rate in the country and the House's Health and Human Resources Committee, on which Delegate Fleischauer has served as Vice Chair and Minority Chair, has been working diligently to produce legislation that would increase access to nalaxone, a medication which can reverse the effect of an overdose. She sponsored bills in 2014 (HB 4161) and 2015 (HB 2044), but these proposals were revamped by the Governor and passed in 2015 as SB 335.