Delegate Fleischauer introduced HB 4746 in 2020. This bill was prompted by a suggestion from a constituent who heard about a similar law in Ohio. The example she described was of a family with an autistic child. The child would become very upset upon hearing a siren, and any type of stopping of the car was a change of routine which could cause a meltdown. When HB 4746 stalled on the House floor, Delegate Fleischauer amended it into a Senate bill, SB 175. Now law enforcement can be advised a disabled person in a car may need “special handling.” Any person diagnosed with a communication disability, or a parent or family member of a person diagnosed with a disability that can impair communication, may enroll with the division of motor vehicles for inclusion on an enrollment list by submitting a completed verification form to the Division of Motor Vehicles. It is entirely voluntary. The division is required to make the enrollment list available to state and local law enforcement officers through a law-enforcement automated data system so that, when needed, officers are made aware of the need for “special handling” in advance.
The Ken Ervin Health Maintenance Act (HB 2731), passed in 2013, allows trained personnel to perform tasks such as tube feedings and ostomy care in people’s homes. It is named after Ken Ervin, an ardent disability activist and Morgantown resident who died unexpectedly in 2007. At the bill signing for HB 2731, the Governor was given a ruby slipper pin as a reminder that for the disabled, just like everyone else, “there’s no place like home.” Delegate Fleischauer originally sponsored the bill to help two young men from North Central West Virginia who need ventilators to survive. They lost Medicaid coverage for nursing care when they turned 21. Their families valiantly tried to provide them with 24-hour care at home.
In 2014, Delegate Fleischauer was the lead sponsor of HB 4287. This bill expanded the health maintenance tasks that could be provided in homes by trained personnel, supervised by licensed health care providers, to include ventilator and respirator patients. Now those families who lost nursing care after age 21 will have access to other trained personnel to assist with health maintenance tasks.
In 2011 (HB 2693) and 2012 (HB 4260), Delegate Fleischauer was the lead sponsor of autism legislation that increased funding and insurance coverage for children with autism spectrum disorder. Six million dollars was added to the state budget to cover increased costs in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Public Employees Insurance (PEIA). These programs and most private insurance companies operating in West Virginia are now required to provide coverage for behavioral therapy - up to $30,000 per year for the first three years, and up to $24,000 thereafter. This coverage is available under these insurance plans to children with autism from the date of diagnosis to age 18, so long as a physician certifies that the treatment is medically necessary. With intensive early treatment, most children with autism can become productive members of society. This was a huge heart-warming win for children and families.