Attorney General Morrisey Lends Support to Ease Regulatory Burden in COVID-19 Response


CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey worked with Governor Jim Justice to utilize his emergency authority to lift specific regulatory and consumer burdens related to the global coronavirus pandemic.
 
Based upon that counsel, the Governor suspended or relaxed eight regulations among others to enhance the state’s medical response and assist consumers throughout the state.
 
“People are hurting very badly right now,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “There’s a lack of calm on economic security and health care security. Some of the things that the Governor and I have been working on are designed to address those issues. These acts offer expanded opportunities for telemedicine. That’s going to help increase the capacity to deliver health care, to diagnose and treat patients who might be affected here in the Mountain State.
 
“We’re working to make people’s lives easier because that’s critical. We’re pledging to do close legal review on other issues that continue to arise so that we can provide good guidance on additional regulatory measures and consumer provisions that are going to help real people in everyday situations.”
 
The Attorney General also announced Friday his office sent two letters to businesses whose conduct may have violated the state’s price gouging law. Specifics regarding the letters were not provided due to the ongoing investigations.
 
Morrisey additionally asked consumers not to hoard precious drug products, such as the prescription drug hydroxychloroquine, a potential treatment for the coronavirus.
 
Regulatory actions taken Friday, by the Governor and based upon the Attorney General’s counsel, are as follows:
  • Telemedicine: Suspends the requirement for telemedicine providers to be licensed in West Virginia so long as they possess a license within their own state.
  • Out-Of-State Practitioners: Relaxes the procedures for applications for licensure by out-of-state medical practitioners.
  • Medical License: Suspends the requirement that any medical provider “hold an active, unexpired license” issued by the Board of Medicine with specific exceptions related to disciplinary matters.
  • Weight Limits: Suspends vehicle size and weight limitations.
  • Vehicle Inspections: Suspends the deadlines for annual vehicle inspections.
  • Video Lottery Machines: Suspends deadlines for renewal and payment of annual fees for video lottery machines.
  • ACBA Permits: Suspends deadline to renew permits from the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Administration to include wholesalers, private clubs and retailers.
  • Hearings: Allows state agencies, political subdivisions or agencies to conduct required hearings by telephonic means at the discretion of the entity.
Friday’s actions are not exhaustive, and the Attorney General’s Office stands ready to assist the Governor in developing additional solutions to this multifaceted crisis.
 
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline – 1-800-368-8808 – remains open to anyone wishing to report scams, price gouging or other manners by which bad actors may try to take advantage of consumers during the pandemic. Written complaints can also be filed at www.wvago.gov.

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