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...
1/20/2021

12VAC35-115-50. Dignity.

A. Each individual has a right to exercise his legal, civil, and human rights, including constitutional rights, statutory rights, and the rights contained in this chapter, except as specifically limited in this chapter or otherwise by law. Each individual has a right to have services that he receives respond to his needs and preferences and be person-centered. Each individual also has the right to be protected, respected, and supported in exercising these rights. Providers shall not partially or totally take away or limit these rights solely because an individual has a mental health or substance use disorder or an intellectual disability and is receiving services for these conditions or has any physical or sensory condition that may pose a barrier to communication or mobility.

B. In receiving all services, each individual has the right to:

1. Use his preferred or legal name. The use of an individual's preferred name may be limited when a licensed professional makes the determination that the use of the name will result in demonstrable harm or have significant negative impact on the program itself or the individual's treatment, progress, and recovery. The director or his designee shall discuss the issue with the individual and inform the human rights advocate of the reasons for any restriction prior to implementation and the reasons for the restriction shall be documented in the individual's services record. The need for the restriction shall be reviewed by the team every month and documented in the services record.

2. Be protected from harm including abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

3. Have help in learning about, applying for, and fully using any public service or benefit to which he may be entitled. These services and benefits include educational or vocational services, housing assistance, services or benefits under Titles II, XVI, XVIII, and XIX of the Social Security Act, United States Veterans Benefits, and services from legal and advocacy agencies.

4. Have opportunities to communicate in private with lawyers, judges, legislators, clergy, licensed health care practitioners, authorized representatives, advocates, the Office of the State Inspector General (§ 2.2-308 of the Code of Virginia), and employees of the protection and advocacy agency.

5. Be provided with general information about program services, policies, and rules in writing and in the manner, format and language easily understood by the individual.

6. Be afforded the opportunity to have an individual of his choice notified of his general condition, location, and transfer to another facility.

C. In services provided in residential and inpatient settings, each individual has the right to:

1. Have sufficient and suitable clothing for his exclusive use.

2. Receive nutritionally adequate, varied, and appetizing meals that are prepared and served under sanitary conditions, are served at appropriate times and temperatures, and are consistent with any individualized diet program.

3. Live in a humane, safe, sanitary environment that gives each individual, at a minimum:

a. Reasonable privacy and private storage space;

b. An adequate number of private, operating toilets, sinks, showers, and tubs that are designed to accommodate individuals' physical needs;

c. Direct outside air provided by a window that opens or by an air conditioner;

d. Windows or skylights in all major areas used by individuals;

e. Clean air, free of bad odors; and

f. Room temperatures that are comfortable year round and compatible with health requirements.

4. Practice a religion and participate in religious services subject to their availability, provided that such services are not dangerous to the individual or others and do not infringe on the freedom of others.

a. Religious services or practices that present a danger of bodily injury to any individual or interfere with another individual's religious beliefs or practices may be limited. The director or his designee shall discuss the issue with the individual and inform the human rights advocate of the reasons for any restriction prior to implementation. The reasons for the restriction shall be documented in the individual's services record.

b. Participation in religious services or practices may be reasonably limited by the provider in accordance with other general rules limiting privileges or times or places of activities.

5. Have paper, pencil and stamps provided free of charge for at least one letter every day upon request. However, if an individual has funds to buy paper, pencils, and stamps to send a letter every day, the provider does not have to pay for them.

6. Communicate privately with any person by mail and have help in writing or reading mail as needed.

a. An individual's access to mail may be limited only if the provider has reasonable cause to believe that the mail contains illegal material or anything dangerous. If so, the director or his designee may open the mail, but not read it, in the presence of the individual.

b. An individual's ability to communicate by mail may be limited if, in the judgment of a licensed professional, the individual's communication with another person or persons will result in demonstrable harm to the individual's mental health.

c. The director or his designee shall discuss the issue with the individual and inform the human rights advocate of the reasons for any restriction prior to implementation and the reasons for the restriction shall be documented in the individual's services record. The need for the restriction shall be reviewed by the team every month and documented in the services record.

7. Communicate privately with any person by telephone and have help in doing so. Use of the telephone may be limited to certain times and places to make sure that other individuals have equal access to the telephone and that they can eat, sleep, or participate in an activity without being disturbed.

a. An individual's access to the telephone may be limited only if, in the judgment of a licensed professional, communication with another person or persons will result in demonstrable harm to the individual or significantly affect his treatment.

b. The director or his designee shall discuss the issue with the individual and inform the human rights advocate of the reasons for any restriction prior to implementation and the reasons for the restriction shall be documented in the individual's services record. The need for the restriction shall be reviewed by the team every month and documented in the individual's services record.

c. Residential substance abuse services providers that are not inpatient hospital settings or crisis stabilization programs may develop policies and procedures that limit the use of the telephone during the initial phase of treatment when sound therapeutic practice requires restriction, subject to the following conditions:

(1) Prior to implementation and when it proposes any changes or revisions, the provider shall submit policies and procedures, program handbooks, or program rules to the LHRC and the human rights advocate for review and approval.

(2) When an individual applies for admission, the provider shall notify him of these restrictions.

8. Have or refuse visitors.

a. An individual's access to visitors may be limited or supervised only when, in the judgment of a licensed professional, the visits result in demonstrable harm to the individual or significantly affect the individual's treatment or when the visitors are suspected of bringing contraband or threatening harm to the individual in any other way.

b. The director or his designee shall discuss the issue with the individual and inform the human rights advocate of the reasons for any restriction prior to implementation and the restriction shall be documented in the individual's services record. The need for the restriction shall be reviewed by the team every month and documented in the individual's services record.

c. Residential substance abuse service providers that are not inpatient hospital settings or crisis stabilization programs may develop policies and procedures that limit visitors during the initial phase of treatment when sound therapeutic practice requires the restriction, subject to the following conditions:

(1) Prior to implementation and when proposing any changes or revisions, the provider shall submit policies and procedures, program handbooks, or program rules to the LHRC and the human rights advocate for review and approval.

(2) The provider shall notify individuals who apply for admission of these restrictions.

9. Nothing in these provisions shall prohibit a provider from stopping, reporting, or intervening to prevent any criminal act.

D. The provider's duties.

1. Providers shall recognize, respect, support, and protect the dignity rights of each individual at all times. In the case of a minor, providers shall take into consideration the expressed preferences of the minor and the parent or guardian.

2. Providers shall develop, carry out, and regularly monitor policies and procedures that assure the protection of each individual's rights.

3. Providers shall assure the following relative to abuse, neglect, and exploitation:

a. Policies and procedures governing harm, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of individuals receiving their services shall require that, as a condition of employment or volunteering, any employee, volunteer, consultant, or student who knows of or has reason to believe that an individual may have been abused, neglected, or exploited at any location covered by this chapter shall immediately report this information directly to the director.

b. The director shall immediately take necessary steps to protect the individual until an investigation is complete. This may include the following actions:

(1) Direct the employee or employees involved to have no further contact with the individual. In the case of incidents of peer-on-peer aggression, protect the individuals from the aggressor in accordance with sound therapeutic practice and this chapter.

(2) Temporarily reassign or transfer the employee or employees involved to a position that has no direct contact with individuals receiving services.

(3) Temporarily suspend the involved employee or employees pending completion of an investigation.

4. Providers shall afford the individual the opportunity to have an individual of his choice notified of his general condition, location, and transfer to another facility.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 18, Issue 03, eff. November 21, 2001; amended, Virginia Register Volume 23, Issue 25, eff. September 19, 2007; Volume 29, Issue 04, eff. November 21, 2012; Volume 31, Issue 01, eff. October 8, 2014; Volume 33, Issue 10, eff. February 9, 2017.

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