Advocacy success: West Virginia Governor Jim Justice vetoes bill to eliminate osteopathic medical board

By AOA Media


In a win for osteopathic physicians (DOs) and their patients across West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice vetoed Senate Bill 714 yesterday. Senate Bill 714 would have eliminated the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine (WVBOM) and transferred the regulation of DOs to the allopathic medical board, which oversees MDs. In his veto message, the Governor acknowledged that the WVBOM has been providing the practice of osteopathic medicine with effective oversight since its inception over 100 years ago, at no additional cost to the state, due to its self-sustaining financial model.

The Governor also recognized that there are two separate and distinct categories of the medical profession and should be treated as such, in order to best uphold the values and principles of each. His message states that “[h]aving separate boards to regulate separate categories of the medical profession will continue to encourage diversity in practice, increase innovative approaches to care and preserve the integrity of each distinct practice.”

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome regarding SB 714 and appreciate Governor Justice’s support and recognition of the value of maintaining a separate and distinct osteopathic medical board,” said AOA President Ira P. Monka, DO. “This is a great win for not only the 1,703 licensed DOs and the over 800 osteopathic medical students in West Virginia, but equally important, the patients whom they serve.”

This outcome demonstrates the importance of political engagement and the power that osteopathic physicians, students and patients can have when we work together. Throughout the legislative session, the AOA partnered with the West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians and their West Virginia chapter, as well as additional osteopathic specialty colleges and their members, to advocate for the profession and its distinctive contributions in West Virginia.

“This historic win in West Virginia illustrates the AOA’s commitment to working with our partners and advocating on behalf of all of our physicians and medical students,” said AOA CEO Kathleen S. Creason, MBA. “In total, our advocacy team sent eight letters and grassroots alerts, resulting in 246 grassroots actions sent to 73 legislators. In addition, we appreciate the efforts made by everyone involved, most notably the leaders of the West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association, to bring this to such a positive conclusion for the entire osteopathic profession.”