RD580 - Workgroup Study on Testing Postmortem Specimens on Occupational Exposures for First Responders (HB 1943 of 2019)
The 2019 House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions requested the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) convene a work group to (1) study the Commonwealth’s laws governing deemed consent for testing postmortem specimens on occupational exposures for first responders and (2) review and improve the current process for collection and testing of postmortem specimens for such cases. The Chief Medical Examiner and State Project Manager convened the Testing Postmortem Specimens on Occupational Exposure for First Responders Workgroup (“the workgroup") to review the current law and present options to improve the current process for collection and testing of postmortem specimens on occupational exposures for first responders.
There were two general meetings with all known stakeholders and several additional meetings with smaller groups of stakeholders to explore the pertinent problems and possible solutions. The workgroup agreed on the following list of options:
1. Amend the Code of Virginia to extend deemed consent for testing when a first responder has an occupational exposure to any patient whether living or dead.
2. Establish a statewide contract with a single designated laboratory capable of testing postmortem specimens for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
3. Assess and evaluate the need for a state exposure validation and coordination center. The roles of this center would be to validate exposures, provide guidance for specimen collection and testing, referrals for medical management if necessary, document exposures and outcomes including source status, antiviral use, patient outcome and cost, and provide specific training to Designated Infection Control Officers (DICOs).