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Assisted Living Facilities Must Report Employees with Substance Abuse or Mental Health Problems

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Sandra Rohrstaff
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You may decide that your elderly loved one does not need the kind of skilled nursing assistance she would receive in a nursing home, so you decide that an assisted living facility will provide the needed support she needs.

Beware. Assisted living facilities in Virginia are not regulated in the same way as nursing homes or hospitals – because they are not health care facilities and do not fall under the laws that govern such facilities.

That means that, among other things, assisted living facilities have not been required to report an employee with an alcohol or drug abuse problem or with a need for psychiatric care.

The Virginia General Assembly changed that during its just-ended 2011 session when it amended the law to require the administrator of every licensed assisted living facility to report to the Department of Health Professions any information that a health professional may have a substance abuse or mental health problem.

It’s not the whole answer to regulating assisted living facilities, but it is a step in the right direction. More and more of our seniors are in need of the kinds of services provided in assisted living facilities, and these places need to be brought under stricter supervision by the State.

Category: Elder Neglect

Sandra Rohrstaff
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Virginia Child Injury and Elder Abuse Attorney

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