BECKLEY – The Raleigh County Commission has decided to pay the health department to help with the cost of hepatitis and HIV testing for former patients of Raleigh Heart Clinic.

The commission voted on Tuesday to pay more than $8,000 to its health department. It plans to press the heart clinic to reimburse the county.

Dave Tolliver, the Raleigh County Commission President, said the commission voted to pay part of the cost of testing patients and has already sent a letter to the heart clinic requesting reimbursement.

Should the clinic refuse, the commission will then go to the clinic’s insurance for payment.

Earlier this year, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources set letters to approximately 2,300 patients who had been at Raleigh Heart Clinic between March 1, 2012, and March 27, 2015.

The letter warned former patients of their potential exposure to Hepatitis B and C and HIV.

There have been more than one dozen Hepatitis cases linked to the clinic. So far, no HIV cases have been discovered, but patients are still recommended to get tested.

Two lawsuits were filed in March in Raleigh Circuit Court regarding the possible transmission of Hepatitis and HIV. Both plaintiffs alleged that while so far they had not been diagnosed with either disease, they would have to continue testing for years to make sure they did not have the diseases.

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