Healthcare, West Virginia Legislature

Senate health approves bills about dentures, non-binary birth certificates, child medical records

MORGANTOWN – The Senate Health Committee moved bills on Thursday dealing with dentures, birth certificates and youth medical records.

HB 4320 deals with children of all ages. As it came to the Senate it grants parents and guardians access to minor children’s medical records, except those who are high school graduates, emancipated or married.

Senate Health added another exception: if the medical provider suspects the patient is a victim of child abuse or neglect.

Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, and Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, raised concerns that the bill doesn’t address such issues as non-custodial biological parents or biological parents whose rights have been terminated or are incarcerated for violent crimes.

The bill goes next to Judiciary, where Weld is vice-chair, and he said he would be offering further changes.

The committee approved the bill in a voice vote with no audible votes against.

HB 4233 would add a single sentence to state code concerning birth registrations: “The birth certificate shall list the child’s sex at birth as male or female and may not use the term ‘non-binary.’”

The committee approved it with no discussion and no dissension in a voice vote. It heads to the full Senate.

HB 4933 concerns Medicaid coverage for dentures. Current code sets a $1,000 annual limit for all dental services.

The House sent over a bill that keeps the $1,000 cap but specifies that dentures are covered but not included in the cap.

Senate Health amended the bill to remove the mention of dentures but to change the cap to $2,000 across two years.

It was explained that a set of dentures – upper and lower – can run as high as $1,200, so Medicaid patients might get one plate at the end of one calendar year and the other plate at the beginning of the next year. This poses a couple problems: one, trying to function with just half a set of teeth; and two, getting that second plate at the beginning of the new year and having little money left for the rest of the year.

Bureau of Medical Services Commissioner Cindy Beane also said that the Senate version will save the state money by not adding the extra coverage for dentures above the $1,000 cap.

Beane told the senators that the state spends about $40 million per year on adult Medicaid benefits, with about 75% of that – $30 million, being federal match.

The senators also approved this bill in a voice vote with no votes against. It goes next to Finance.