Notice of action: The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), in accordance with Part VI, Variances (12VAC35-115-220), of the Regulations to Assure the Rights of Individuals Receiving Services from Providers Licensed, Funded, or Operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (12VAC35-115), hereafter referred to as the “Human Rights Regulations,” is announcing an opportunity for public comment on an application for proposed renewal of existing variances to the Human Rights Regulations submitted to the State Human Rights Committee (SHRC). The purpose of the regulations is to ensure and protect the legal and human rights of individuals receiving services in facilities or programs operated, licensed, or funded by DBHDS.
Each variance application references the specific part of these regulations to which a variance is needed, the proposed wording of the substitute rule or procedure, and the justification for a variance. Such application also describes time limits and other conditions for duration and the circumstances that will end the applicability of the variance. After considering all available information including comments, the SHRC intends to submit a written decision deferring, disapproving, modifying, or approving each variance application. All variances shall be approved for a specific time period. The decision and reasons for variance will be published in a later issue of this Register.
Purpose of notice: The SHRC is seeking comment on the application for proposed renewal of existing variances to the Human Rights Regulations for DBHDS’ Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR).
Variance to Procedures for 12VAC35-115-150 General Provisions;
12VAC35-l 15-175 Human Rights Complaint Process; l2VAC35-115-180 Local Human Rights Committee (LHRC) Hearing and Review Procedures; 12VAC35-115-190 Special Procedures for Emergency Hearings by the LHRC; 12VAC35-115-200 Special Procedures for LHRC Reviews Involving Consent and Authorization; and 12VAC35-115-210 State Human Rights Committee Appeals Procedures.
Explanation: Prior to 2010, VCBR followed the complaint process outlined in the Human Rights Regulations. As the census of the facility grew, the volume of complaints from residents overburdened the LHRC and became a treatment distraction for residents. The decision was made not to utilize a different LHRC for matters involving VCBR due to the volume. The modified resident complaint process provides a similar level of review to the regulations listed above. This modified complaint process allows for a review of complaints at a "Formal" and "Director" level within the facility. The complaints coordinator of the facility meets with the resident at the Formal level in an attempt to resolve the issue at hand. At the Director level, the facility director or designee reviews the complaint and attempts to resolve the issue at hand. If the resident is not satisfied with the determination or actions by the facility, the resident may appeal the decision to the VCBR Complaints Appeal Committee. This Appeal Committee is comprised of two members of the SHRC and the Director of the DBHDS Office of Human Rights. Of note, having the Appeal Committee ensures that there is still a process in place for a final review by individuals not affiliated with the facility.
Public comment period: January 29, 2024 – February 28, 2024.
How to comment: The SHRC accepts written comments by email, fax, and postal mail. In order to be considered, comments must include the full name, address, and telephone number of the person commenting and be received by DBHDS by the last day of the comment period. DBHDS will provide all comments received to the SHRC. All information received is part of the public record.
To review a proposal: Variance applications and any supporting documentation may be obtained by contacting the DBHDS representative named below.
Contact Information: Taneika Goldman, Director, Office of Human Rights, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, 1220 East Bank Street, P.O. Box 1797, Richmond, VA 23218-1797, telephone (804) 371-0064, FAX (833) 734-1241, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.