The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) will immediately uphold the requirements of Senate Bill 679, which mandates updates to legislative rules regulating behavioral health centers licensure to include forensic group homes. The legislation impacts a group home site under development in Wood County and a planned future site in Kanawha County. DHHR will work with stakeholders to assess future use of those sites. It was previously decided to convert a site in Cabell County that had been under development as a group home site to instead be used as office space.
“With the Governor’s signature on Senate Bill 679, DHHR is ready to implement and uphold the intent of the West Virginia Legislature,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Coben, Interim DHHR Cabinet Secretary. “DHHR looks forward to working closely with members of the Legislature, the Judiciary, experts and community stakeholders, and disability advocacy groups to ensure we are providing the most appropriate levels of care for the state’s forensic population and considering the needs of West Virginia communities."
The Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification (OHFLAC), under DHHR’s Office of Inspector General, has previously followed behavioral health centers licensing requirements for these facilities, and will comply with the guidelines of Senate Bill 679. OHFLAC may grant existing sites a variance of the proximity requirement if the facility demonstrates it has adhered to all other requirements of the amended legislative rule.