Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Social Services
State Board of Social Services
Standards for Licensed Assisted Living Facilities [22 VAC 40 ‑ 73]
Action Update Standards to Add Appeal Process for Discharges
Stage Fast-Track
Comment Period Ended on 9/27/2023
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9/20/23  11:34 am
Commenter: Emily Londono, Spring Arbor Senior Living

Objection to Fast Track
Pursuant to Virginia Code §2.2-4012.1, the Virginia Assisted Living Association (VALA) files this formal objection to the fast-track rulemaking process currently in progress to update 22VAC40-73, Standards for Licensed Assisted Living Facilities (Standards), to add an appeal process for the involuntary discharge of residents. We request the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and the State Board of Social Services (SBSS) to utilize the Standard Regulatory Process in amending the Standards to add an appeal process for discharge instead of using the Fast-Track regulatory process.
The 2022 amendments to Virginia Code §63.2-1805 specifically require, among other things, that the State Board of Social Services adopt regulations that establish a process for appeals filed pursuant to the amended subsection addressing the involuntary discharge of residents. The actual process and procedure for an appeal, as currently set forth in the proposed regulations, is vague, undefined, and incomplete. As a result, a number of critical areas of concern involving the proposed appeal process and relevant procedures to be utilized for such an appeal have not been adequately addressed in the proposed regulations or the agency provided discharge notice form. A few examples of these areas of concern include, but are not limited to, the following:
The failure to include a specified and acceptable timeframe for the department to notify the facility and resident of the receipt of the appeal, for setting of the appeal for hearing, and the ruling on an appeal;
A listing of the documents that the facility and/or resident will be required to present for the appeal;
Clarification that the requirement for facilities to assist a resident in the appeal is limited to assistance with the actual filing of the request and does not include assistance in the resident’s preparation for a hearing;
The standard for granting an appeal and the applicable burden of proof;
Information regarding the right to have an administrative or judicial review of the hearing officer’s decision, the timeframe for requesting same and whether the resident’s right to stay in the facility extends to this level of review.
All of the above noted deficiencies in the proposed regulations have significant cost implications to both residents and facilities. Virginia Code §63.2-1805 requires that the resident be allowed to stay in the facility pending finalization of the appeal unless the discharge is an emergency discharge or the resident has developed a prohibited condition or care need. Facilities faced with non-paying residents will already have significant account balances that necessitated discharge. Charges incurred during the required 30-day cure period, the 30-day notice of discharge period, and an appeal that might extend for multiple months will quickly increase the balances owed by the residents and their family members. It will be unlikely that facilities will be able to recover these balances. The obvious burden on the facilities must be addressed through the appeal process and procedures must be implemented to minimize the burden on the facilities.
CommentID: 220361