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
11/30/2021

12VAC35-115-70. Participation in decision making and consent.

A. Each individual has a right to participate meaningfully in decisions regarding all aspects of services affecting him. This includes the right to:

1. Consent or not consent to receive or participate in services.

a. The ISP and discharge plan shall incorporate the individual's preferences consistent with his condition and need for service and the provider's ability to address them;

b. The individual's services record shall include evidence that the individual has participated in the development of his ISP and discharge plan, in changes to these plans, and in all other significant aspects of his treatment and services; and

c. The individual's services record shall include the signature or other indication of the individual's or his authorized representative's consent.

2. Give or not give informed consent to receive or participate in treatment or services that pose a risk of harm greater than ordinarily encountered in daily life and to participate in human research except research that is exempt under § 32.1-162.17 of the Code of Virginia. Informed consent is always required for surgical procedures, electroconvulsive treatment, or use of psychotropic medications.

a. To be informed, consent for any treatment or service must be based on disclosure of and understanding by the individual or his authorized representative of the following information:

(1) An explanation of the treatment, service, or research and its purpose;

(2) When proposing human research, the provider shall describe the research and its purpose, explain how the results of the research will be disseminated and how the identity of the individual will be protected, and explain any compensation or medical care that is available if an injury occurs;

(3) A description of any adverse consequences and risks associated with the research, treatment, or service;

(4) A description of any benefits that may be expected from the research, treatment, or service;

(5) A description of any alternative procedures that might be considered, along with their side effects, risks, and benefits;

(6) Notification that the individual is free to refuse or withdraw his consent and to discontinue participation in any treatment, service, or research requiring his consent at any time without fear of reprisal against or prejudice to him; and

(7) A description of the ways in which the individual or his authorized representative can raise concerns and ask questions about the research, treatment, or service to which consent is given.

b. Evidence of informed consent shall be documented in an individual's services record and indicated by the signature of the individual or his authorized representative on a form or the ISP.

c. Informed consent for electroconvulsive treatment requires the following additional components:

(1) Informed consent shall be in writing, documented on a form that shall become part of the individual's services record. This form shall:

(a) Specify the maximum number of treatments to be administered during the series;

(b) Indicate that the individual has been given the opportunity to view an instructional video presentation about the treatment procedures and their potential side effects; and

(c) Be witnessed in writing by a person not involved in the individual's treatment who attests that the individual has been counseled and informed about the treatment procedures and potential side effects of the procedures.

(2) Separate consent, documented on a new consent form, shall be obtained for any treatments exceeding the maximum number of treatments indicated on the initial consent form.

(3) Providers shall inform the individual or his authorized representative that the individual may obtain a second opinion before receiving electroconvulsive treatment and the individual is free to refuse or withdraw his consent and to discontinue participation at any time without fear of reprisal against or prejudice to him. The provider shall document such notification in the individual's services record.

(4) Before initiating electroconvulsive treatment for any individual under age 18 years, two qualified child psychiatrists must concur with the treatment. The psychiatrists must be trained or experienced in treating children or adolescents and not directly involved in treating the individual. Both must examine the individual, consult with the prescribing psychiatrist, and document their concurrence with the treatment in the individual's services record.

3. Have an authorized representative make decisions for him in cases where the individual has been determined to lack the capacity to consent or authorize the disclosure of information.

a. If an individual who has an authorized representative who is not his legal guardian objects to the disclosure of specific information or a specific proposed treatment or service, the director or his designee shall immediately notify the human rights advocate and authorized representative. A petition for LHRC review of the objection may be filed under 12VAC35-115-200.

b. If the authorized representative objects or refuses to consent to a specific proposed treatment or service for which consent is necessary, the provider shall not institute the proposed treatment, except in an emergency in accordance with this section or as otherwise permitted by law.

4. Be accompanied, except during forensic evaluations, by a person or persons whom the individual trusts to support and represent him when he participates in services planning, assessments, evaluations, including discussions and evaluations of the individual's capacity to consent, and discharge planning.

5. Request admission to or discharge from any service at any time.

B. The provider's duties.

1. Providers shall respect, protect, and help develop each individual's ability to participate meaningfully in decisions regarding all aspects of services affecting him. This shall be done by involving the individual, to the extent permitted by his capacity, in decision making regarding all aspects of services.

2. Providers shall ask the individual to express his preferences about decisions regarding all aspects of services that affect him and shall honor these preferences to the extent possible.

3. Providers shall give each individual the opportunity and any help he needs to participate meaningfully in the preparation of his services plan, discharge plan, and changes to these plans, and all other aspects of services he receives. Providers shall document these opportunities in the individual's services record.

4. Providers shall obtain and document in the individual's services record the individual's or his authorized representative's consent for any treatment before it begins. If the individual is a minor in the legal custody of a natural or adoptive parent, the provider shall obtain this consent from at least one parent. The consent of a parent is not needed if a court has ordered or consented to treatment or services pursuant to § 16.1-241 C or D, 16.1-275, or 54.1-2969 A 1 or B of the Code of Virginia, or a local department of social services with custody of the minor has provided consent. Reasonable efforts must be made, however, to notify the parent or legal custodian promptly following the treatment or services. Additionally, a competent minor may independently consent to treatment for sexually transmitted or contagious diseases, family planning or pregnancy, or outpatient services or treatment for mental illness, emotional disturbance, or substance use disorders pursuant to § 54.1-2969 E of the Code of Virginia.

5. Providers may initiate, administer, or undertake a proposed treatment without the consent of the individual or the individual's authorized representative in an emergency. All emergency treatment or services and the facts and circumstances justifying the emergency shall be documented in the individual's services record within 24 hours of the treatment or services.

a. Providers shall immediately notify the authorized representative of the provision of treatment without consent during an emergency.

b. Providers shall continue emergency treatment without consent beyond 24 hours only following a review of the individual's condition and if a new order is issued by a professional who is authorized by law and the provider to order treatment.

c. Providers shall notify the human rights advocate if emergency treatment without consent continues beyond 24 hours.

d. Providers shall develop and integrate treatment strategies into the ISP to address and prevent future emergencies to the extent possible following provision of emergency treatment without consent.

6. Providers shall obtain and document in the individual's services record the consent of the individual or his authorized representative to continue any treatment initiated in an emergency that lasts longer than 24 hours after the emergency began.

7. Providers may provide treatment in accordance with a court order or in accordance with other provisions of law that authorize such treatment or services including § 54.1-2970 of the Code of Virginia and the Health Care Decisions Act (§ 54.1-2981 et seq. of the Code of Virginia). The provisions of these regulations are not intended to be exclusive of other provisions of law but are cumulative.

8. Providers shall respond to an individual's request for discharge set forth in statute and shall make sure that the individual is not subject to punishment, reprisal, or reduction in services because he makes a request. However, if an individual leaves a service against medical advice, any subsequent billing of the individual by his private third party payer shall not constitute punishment or reprisal on the part of the provider.

a. Voluntary admissions.

(1) Individuals admitted under § 37.2-805 of the Code of Virginia to state hospitals operated by the department who notify the director of their intent to leave shall be discharged when appropriate, but no later than eight hours after notification, unless another provision of law authorizes the director to retain the individual for a longer period.

(2) Minors admitted under § 16.1-338 or 16.1-339 of the Code of Virginia shall be released to the parent's or legal guardian's custody within 48 hours of the consenting parent's or legal guardian's notification of withdrawal of consent, unless a petition for continued hospitalization pursuant to § 16.1-340.1 or 16.1-341 of the Code of Virginia is filed.

b. Involuntary admissions.

(1) When a minor involuntarily admitted under § 16.1-345 of the Code of Virginia no longer meets the commitment criteria, the director shall take appropriate steps to arrange the minor's discharge.

(2) When an individual involuntarily admitted under § 37.2-817 of the Code of Virginia has been receiving services for more than 30 days and makes a written request for discharge, the director shall determine whether the individual continues to meet the criteria for involuntary admission. If the director denies the request for discharge, he shall notify the individual in writing of the reasons for denial and of the individual's right to seek relief in the courts. The request and the reasons for denial shall be included in the individual's services record. Anytime the individual meets any of the criteria for discharge set out in § 37.2-837 or 37.2-838 of the Code of Virginia, the director shall take all necessary steps to arrange the individual's discharge.

(3) If at any time it is determined that an individual involuntarily admitted under Chapter 11 (§ 19.2-167 et seq.) or Chapter 11.1 (§ 19.2-182.2 et seq.) of Title 19.2 of the Code of Virginia no longer meets the criteria under which the individual was admitted and retained, the director or commissioner, as appropriate, shall seek judicial authorization to discharge or transfer the individual. Further, pursuant to § 19.2-182.6 of the Code of Virginia, the commissioner shall petition the committing court for conditional or unconditional release at any time he believes the acquittee no longer needs hospitalization.

c. Certified admissions. If an individual certified for admission to a state training center or his authorized representative requests discharge, the director or his designee shall contact the individual's community services board to finalize and implement the discharge plan.

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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