Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 35. Department of Behavioral Health And Developmental Services
Chapter 115. Regulations to Assure the Rights of Individuals Receiving Services from Providers Licensed, Funded, or Operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

12VAC35-115-220. Variances.

A. Variances to these regulations shall be requested and approved only when the provider has tried to implement the relevant requirement without a variance and can provide objective, documented information that continued operation without a variance is not feasible or will prevent the delivery of effective and appropriate services and supports to individuals.

B. Only directors may apply for variances, and they must first be approved by the provider, the governing body of the provider, or the commissioner, as appropriate, before consideration by an LHRC or the SHRC.

C. Upon receiving approval from the governing body or commissioner, and after notifying the human rights advocate and other interested persons, the director shall file a formal application for variance with the LHRC. This application shall reference 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. The application shall also describe time limits and other conditions for duration and the circumstances that will end the applicability of the variance.

1. When the LHRC receives the application, it shall invite, and provide ample time to receive, oral or written statements about the application from the human rights advocate, individuals affected by the variance, and other interested persons.

2. The LHRC shall review the application and prepare a written report of facts, which shall include its recommendation for approval, disapproval, or modification. The LHRC shall send its report, recommendations, and a copy of the original application to the State Human Rights Director, the SHRC, and the director making application for the variance.

D. When the SHRC receives the application and the LHRC's report, the SHRC shall do the following:

1. Invite oral or written statements about the application from the applicant director, LHRC, advocate, and other interested persons by publishing the request for variance in the next issue of the Virginia Register of Regulations;

2. Notify the Office of the State Inspector General (§ 2.2-308 of the Code of Virginia) of the request for variance; and

3. After considering all available information, prepare a written decision deferring, disapproving, modifying, or approving the application. All variances shall be approved for a specific time period and must be reviewed at least annually.

a. A copy of this decision including conditions, time frames, circumstances for removal, and the reasons for the decision shall be given to the applicant director, the commissioner or governing body, the state human rights director, the human rights advocate, any person commenting on the request at any stage, and the LHRC.

b. The decision and reasons shall also be published in the next issue of the Virginia Register of Regulations.

E. Directors shall implement any approved variance in strict compliance with the written application as amended, modified, or approved by the SHRC.

F. Providers shall develop policies and procedures for monitoring the implementation of any approved variances. These policies and procedures shall specify that at no time can a variance approved for one individual be extended to general applicability. These policies and procedures shall assure the ongoing collection of any data relevant to the variance and the presentation of any later report concerning the variance as requested by the commissioner, the state human rights director, the human rights advocate, the LHRC or the SHRC.

G. The decision of the SHRC granting or denying a variance shall be final.

H. Following the granting of a variance, the provider shall notify all individuals affected by the variance about the details of the variance.

I. If an individual is in immediate danger due to a provider's implementation of these regulations, the provider may request a temporary variance pending approval pursuant to the process described in this section. Such a request shall be submitted in writing to the commissioner, chairperson of the SHRC, and state human rights director. The commissioner, chairperson of the SHRC, and state human rights director shall issue a decision within 48 hours of the receipt of such a request.

Statutory Authority

§§ 37.2-203 and 37.2-400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 3, eff. November 21, 2001; amended, Virginia Register Volume 23, Issue 25, eff. September 19, 2007; Volume 31, Issue 1, eff. October 8, 2014.

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