The West Virginia State Senate passed a bill today, on the first day of the Legislative session, that would split the DHHR into three separate departments. The vote was 32-1.

One department would be the Department of Health Care Facilities, and would oversee the state’s health care facilities: Bateman, Sharpe, Hopemont, John Manchin, Jackie Withrow, Lakin and Welch Community Hospital. Historically, most of UE Local 170’s membership work in these health care facilities.

The Senate also passed a bill 33-0 regarding hospital inpatient reimbursement rates by PEIA, raising those reimbursements. Wheeling Hospital recently announced that it will no longer serve PEIA plan members, and legislators fear more hospitals will follow suit.

The Senate approved similar bills in 2021. The DHHR split-up was vetoed by Governor Jim Justice; the PEIA bill did not get past the House of Delegates.

On both occasions, senators suspended rules requiring bills be read on three separate days.