Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
4/25/2024

Article 7. Assertive Community Treatment Service (Act)

12VAC35-105-1360. Admission and discharge criteria.

A. Individuals must meet the following admission criteria:

1. Diagnosis of a severe and persistent mental illness, predominantly schizophrenia, other psychotic disorder, or bipolar disorder that seriously impairs functioning in the community. Individuals with a sole diagnosis of a substance use disorder or developmental disability , personality disorder, traumatic brain injury, or an autism spectrum disorder are not the intended service recipients and should not be referred to ACT if they do not have a co-occurring psychiatric disorder.

2. Significant challenges to community integration without intensive community support including persistent or recurrent difficulty with one or more of the following:

a. Performing practical daily living tasks;

b. Maintaining employment at a self-sustaining level or consistently carrying out homemaker roles; or

c. Maintaining a safe living situation.

3. High service needs indicated due to one or more of the following:

a. Residence in a state hospital or other psychiatric hospital but clinically assessed to be able to live in a more independent situation if intensive services were provided or anticipated to require extended hospitalization, if more intensive services are not available;

b. Multiple admissions to or at least one recent long-term stay (30 days or more) in a state hospital or other acute psychiatric hospital inpatient setting within the past two years; or a recent history of more than four interventions by psychiatric emergency services per year;

c. Persistent or very recurrent severe major symptoms (e.g., affective, psychotic, suicidal);

d. Co-occurring substance addiction or abuse of significant duration (e.g., greater than six months);

e. High risk or a recent history (within the past six months) of criminal justice involvement (e.g., arrest or incarceration);

f. Ongoing difficulty meeting basic survival needs or residing in substandard housing, homeless, or at imminent risk of becoming homeless; or

g. Inability to consistently participate in traditional office-based services.

B. Individuals receiving ACT services should not be discharged for failure to comply with treatment plans or other expectations of the provider, except in certain circumstances as outlined. Individuals must meet at least one of the following criteria to be discharged:

1. Change in the individual's residence to a location out of the service area;

2. Incarceration of the individual for a period to exceed a year or long-term hospitalization (more than one year); however, the provider is expected to prioritize these individuals for ACT services upon the individual's anticipated return to the community if the individual wishes to return to services and the service level is appropriate to his needs;

3. The individual and, if appropriate, the legally responsible person, choose to withdraw from services and documented attempts by the program to re-engage the individual with the service have not been successful; or

4. The individual and team determine that ACT services are no longer needed based on the attainment of goals as identified in the person centered plan and a less intensive level of care would adequately address current goals.

Statutory Authority

§§ 37.2-302 and 37.2-400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 18, eff. September 19, 2002; amended, Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 5, eff. December 7, 2011; Volume 36, Issue 22, eff. August 1, 2020; Volume 39, Issue 11, eff. February 17, 2023.

12VAC35-105-1370. Treatment team and staffing plan.

A. ACT services are delivered by interdisciplinary teams.

1. ACT teams shall have sufficient staffing composition to meet the varying needs of individuals served by the team as required by this section. Each ACT team shall meet the following minimum position and staffing requirements:

a. Team leader. There shall be one full-time LMHP with three years of work experience in the provision of mental health services to adults with serious mental illness; a resident who is under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor in accordance with 18VAC115-20-10 and who is registered with the Virginia Board of Counseling with three years of experience in the provision of mental health services to adults with serious mental illness; a resident in psychology who is under supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist and is registered with the Virginia Board of Psychology in accordance with 18VAC125-20-10 and who has three years of experience in the provision of mental health services to adults with serious mental illness; a supervisee, in social work who is under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker and who is registered with the Virginia Board of Social Work in accordance with 18VAC140-20-10 and who has three years of experience in the provision of mental health services to adults with serious mental illness; or one full-time registered QMHP-A with at least three years of experience in the provision of mental health services to adults with serious mental illness who was employed by the provider as a team leader prior to July 1, 2020. The team leader shall oversee all aspects of team operations and shall provide direct services to individuals in the community.

b. Nurses. ACT nurses shall be full-time employees or contractors with the following minimum qualifications: a registered nurse shall have one year of experience in the provision of mental health services to adults with serious mental illness, or a licensed practical nurse shall have three years of experience in the provision of mental health services to adults with serious mental illness.

(1) Small ACT teams shall have at least one full-time nurse, who shall be either an RN or an LPN;

(2) Medium ACT teams shall have at least one full-time RN and at least one additional full-time nurse who shall be an LPN or RN; and

(3) Large ACT teams shall have at least one full-time RN and at least two additional full-time nurses who shall be LPNs or RNs.

c. Vocational specialist. There shall be one or more full-time vocational specialist, who shall be a registered QMHP with demonstrated expertise in vocational services through experience or education.

d. Co-occurring disorder specialist. There shall be one or more full-time co-occurring disorder specialists, who shall be a LMHP; a resident who is under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor in accordance with 18VAC115-20-10 and who is registered with the Virginia Board of Counseling; a resident in psychology who is under supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist and is registered with the Virginia Board of Psychology in accordance with 18VAC125-20-10; a supervisee in social work who is under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker and who is registered with the Virginia Board of Social Work in accordance with 18VAC140-20-10; registered QMHP; or certified substance abuse specialist (CSAC) with training or experience working with adults with co-occurring serious mental illness and substance use disorder.

e. ACT peer specialists. There shall be one full-time equivalent peer recovery specialists who is or has been a recipient of mental health services for severe and persistent mental illness. The peer specialist shall be certified as a peer recovery specialist in accordance with 12VAC35-250, or shall become certified in the first year of employment. The peer specialist shall be a fully integrated team member who provides peer support directly to individuals and provides leadership to other team members in understanding and supporting each individual's recovery goals.

f. Program assistant. There shall be one full-time or two part-time program assistants with skills and abilities in medical records management shall operate and coordinate the management information system, maintain accounts and budget records for individual and program expenditures, and perform administrative support activities.

g. Psychiatric care provider. There shall be one physician who is board certified in psychiatry or who is board eligible in psychiatry and is licensed to practice medicine in Virginia or a psychiatric nurse practitioner practicing within the scope of practice as defined in 18VAC90-30-120. An equivalent ratio of 16 hours of psychiatric time per 50 individuals served must be maintained. The psychiatric care provider shall be a fully integrated team member who attends team meetings and actively participates in developing and implementing each individual ISP.

h. Generalist clinical staff. There shall be additional clinical staff with the knowledge, skill, and ability required, based on the population and age of individuals being served, to carry out rehabilitation and support functions, at least 50% of whom shall be LMHPs, QMHP-As, QMHP-Es, or QPPMHs.

(1) Small ACT teams shall have at least one generalist clinical staff;

(2) Medium ACT teams shall have at least two generalist clinical staff; and

(3) Large ACT teams shall have at least three generalist clinical staff.

2. Staff-to-individual ratios for ACT Teams:

a. Small ACT teams shall maintain a caseload of no more than 50 individuals and shall maintain at least one staff member per eight individuals, in addition to a psychiatric care provider and a program assistant.

b. Medium ACT teams shall maintain a caseload of no more than 74 individuals and shall maintain at least one staff member per nine individuals, in addition to a psychiatric care provider and a program assistant.

c. Large ACT teams shall maintain a caseload of no more than 120 individuals and shall maintain at least one staff member per nine individuals, in addition to a psychiatric care provider and a program assistant.

B. ACT teams shall be available to individuals 24 hours per day and shall operate a minimum of 12 hours each weekday and eight hours each weekend day and each holiday.

C. The ACT team shall make crisis services directly available 24 hours a day but may arrange coverage through another crisis services provider if the team coordinates with the crisis services provider daily.

D. The ACT team shall operate an after-hours on-call system and shall be available to individuals by telephone and in person when needed as determined by the team.

E. ACT teams in development may submit a transition plan to the department for approval that will allow for "start-up" when newly forming teams are not in full compliance with the ACT model relative to staffing patterns and individuals receiving services capacity. Approved transition plans shall be limited to a six-month period.

Statutory Authority

§§ 37.2-302 and 37.2-400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 18, eff. September 19, 2002; amended, Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 5, eff. December 7, 2011; Volume 35, Issue 19, eff. June 15, 2019; Volume 39, Issue 11, eff. February 17, 2023.

12VAC35-105-1380. Contacts.

A. The ACT team shall provide multiple contacts per week to individuals experiencing severe symptoms or significant problems in daily living.

B. Each individual receiving ACT services shall be seen face-to-face by an employee or contractor as specified in the individual's ISP. Providers shall document all attempts to make contact, and if contact is not made, the reasons why contact was not made.

Statutory Authority

§§ 37.2-302 and 37.2-400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 18, eff. September 19, 2002; amended, Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 11, eff. February 17, 2023.

12VAC35-105-1390. ACT service daily operation and progress notes.

A. ACT teams shall conduct organizational meetings Monday through Friday at least four days per week at a regularly scheduled time to review the status of all individuals and the outcome of the most recent employee or contractor contact, assign daily and weekly tasks to employees and contractors, revise treatment plans as needed, plan for emergency and crisis situations, and to add service contacts that are identified as needed.

B. A daily log that provides a roster of individuals served in the ACT services program and documentation of services provided and contacts made with them shall be maintained and utilized in the team meeting. Daily logs shall not be considered progress notes.

C. There shall also be individual progress notes documenting services provided in accordance with the ISP each time the individual receives services, which shall be included within the individual's record. ACT teams shall also document within the individual's record attempts at outreach and engagement.

Statutory Authority

§§ 37.2-302 and 37.2-400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 18, eff. September 19, 2002; amended, Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 5, eff. December 7, 2011; Volume 39, Issue 11, eff. February 17, 2023.

12VAC35-105-1400.  ACT assessment.

The provider shall solicit the individual's own assessment of his needs, strengths, goals, preferences, and abilities to identify the need for recovery oriented treatment, rehabilitation, and support services and the status of his environmental supports within the individual's cultural context. With the participation of the individual, the provider shall assess:

1. Psychiatric history, mental status and diagnosis, including the content of an advance directive;

2. Medical, dental, and other health needs;

3. Extent and effect of drug or alcohol use;

4. Education and employment, including current daily structured use of time, school or work status, interests and preferences, and supports and barriers to educational and employment performance;

5. Social development and functioning, including childhood and family history, religious beliefs, leisure interests, and social skills;

6. Housing and daily living skills, including the support needed to obtain and maintain decent, affordable housing integrated into the broader community; the current ability to meet basic needs such as personal hygiene, food preparation, housekeeping, shopping, money management, and the use of public transportation and other community based resources;

7. Family and social network, including the current scope and strength of an individual's network of family, peers, friends, and co-workers, and their understanding and expectations of the team's services;

8. Finances and benefits, including the management of income, the need for and eligibility for benefits, and the limitations and restrictions of those benefits; and

9. Legal and criminal justice involvement, including guardianship, commitment, representative payee status, and experience as either a victim or an accused person.

Statutory Authority

§ 37.2-203 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 18, eff. September 19, 2002; amended, Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 5, eff. December 7, 2011.

12VAC35-105-1410. Service requirements.

ACT teams shall document that the following services are provided consistent with the individual's assessment and ISP.

1. Ongoing assessment to ascertain the needs, strengths, and preferences of the individual;

2. Case management;

3. Nursing;

4. Support for wellness self-management, including the development and implementation of individual recovery plans, symptom assessment, and recovery education;

5. Psychopharmacological treatment, administration, and monitoring;

6. Co-occurring diagnosis substance use disorder services that are nonconfrontational, trauma informed, person-centered, consider interactions of mental illness and substance use, and have goals determined by the individual;

7. Empirically supported interventions and psychotherapy;

8. Psychiatric rehabilitation, which may include skill-building, coaching, and facilitating access to necessary resources to help individuals with personal care, safety skills, money management, grocery shopping, cooking, food safety and storage, purchasing and caring for clothing, household maintenance and cleaning skills, social skills, and use of transportation and other community resources;

9. Work-related services that follow evidence-based supported employment principles, such as direct assistance with job development, locating preferred jobs, assisting the individual through the application process, and communicating with employers;

10. Support for resuming education;

11. Support, education, consultation, and skill-teaching to family members , significant others, and broader natural support systems, which shall be directed exclusively to the well-being and benefit of the individual;

12. Collaboration with families and development of family and other natural supports;

13. Assistance in obtaining and maintaining safe, decent, and affordable housing that follows the individual's preferences in level of independence and location, consistent with an evidence-based supportive housing model;

14. Direct support to help individuals obtain legal and advocacy services, financial support, money-management services, medical and dental services, transportation, and natural supports in the community;

15. Crisis assessment, interventions to prevent or resolve potential crises, and admission to and discharge from psychiatric hospitals;

16. Assistance in developing and maintaining natural supports and social relationships;

17. Medication education, assistance, and support; and

18. Peer support services, such as coaching, mentoring, assistance with self-advocacy and self-direction, and modeling recovery practices.

Statutory Authority

§§ 37.2-302 and 37.2-400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 18, eff. September 19, 2002; amended, Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 5, eff. December 7, 2011; Volume 39, Issue 11, eff. February 17, 2023.

12VAC35-105-1420. (Reserved.).

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