Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
Chapter 1. Administration Generally
4/23/2024

Article 4. Procedures; Inspections; Orders; Penalties; Representation by Attorney General.

§ 32.1-24. Applicability of Administrative Process Act.

The provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) shall govern the procedures for rendering all case decisions, as defined in § 2.2-4001, and issuing all orders and regulations under the provisions of this Code administered by the Board, the Commissioner or the Department unless exempt from the Administrative Process Act.

1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-25. Right of entry to inspect, etc.; warrants.

Upon presentation of appropriate credentials and upon consent of the owner or custodian, the Commissioner or his designee shall have the right to enter at any reasonable time onto any property to inspect, investigate, evaluate, conduct tests or take samples for testing as he reasonably deems necessary in order to determine compliance with the provisions of any law administered by the Board, Commissioner or Department, any regulations of the Board, any order of the Board or Commissioner or any conditions in a permit, license or certificate issued by the Board or Commissioner. This right of entry shall not apply to privileged communications pursuant to § 8.01-581.17. If the Commissioner or his designee is denied entry, he may apply to an appropriate circuit court for an inspection warrant authorizing such investigation, evaluation, inspection, testing or taking of samples for testing as provided in Chapter 24 (§ 19.2-393 et seq.) of Title 19.2.

1979, c. 711; 1998, c. 772.

§ 32.1-26. Orders; hearing and notice.

The Board is authorized to issue orders to require any person to comply with the provisions of any law administered by it, the Commissioner or the Department or any regulations promulgated by the Board or to comply with any case decision, as defined in § 2.2-4001, of the Board or Commissioner. Any such order shall be issued only after a hearing with at least thirty days' notice to the affected person of the time, place and purpose thereof. Such order shall become effective not less than fifteen days after mailing a copy thereof by certified mail to the last known address of such person. The provisions of this section shall not affect the authority of the Board to issue separate orders and regulations to meet any emergency as provided in § 32.1-13.

1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-27. Penalties, injunctions, civil penalties and charges for violations.

A. Any person willfully violating or refusing, failing or neglecting to comply with any regulation or order of the Board or Commissioner or any provision of this title shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor unless a different penalty is specified.

B. Any person violating or failing, neglecting, or refusing to obey any lawful regulation or order of the Board or Commissioner or any provision of this title may be compelled in a proceeding instituted in an appropriate court by the Board or Commissioner to obey such regulation, order or provision of this title and to comply therewith by injunction, mandamus, or other appropriate remedy or, pursuant to § 32.1-27.1, imposition of a civil penalty or appointment of a receiver.

C. Without limiting the remedies which may be obtained in subsection B of this section, any person violating or failing, neglecting or refusing to obey any injunction, mandamus or other remedy obtained pursuant to subsection B shall be subject, in the discretion of the court, to a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 for each violation, which shall be paid to the general fund, except that civil penalties for environmental pollution shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Water Supply Assistance Grant Fund created pursuant to § 32.1-171.2. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.

D. With the consent of any person who has violated or failed, neglected or refused to obey any regulation or order of the Board or Commissioner or any provision of this title, the Board may provide, in an order issued by the Board against such person, for the payment of civil charges for past violations in specific sums, not to exceed the limits specified in § 32.1-27.1 and subsection C of this section. Such civil charges shall be instead of any appropriate civil penalty which could be imposed under § 32.1-27.1 and subsection C of this section. When civil charges are based upon environmental pollution, the civil charges shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Water Supply Assistance Grant Fund created pursuant to § 32.1-171.2.

Code 1950, §§ 32-6.4, 32-15; 1975, c. 564; 1976, c. 623; 1979, c. 711; 1980, c. 378; 1989, c. 618; 1999, c. 786; 2003, cc. 753, 762.

§ 32.1-27.1. (Effective until July 1, 2025) Additional civil penalty or appointment of a receiver.

A. In addition to the remedies provided in § 32.1-27, the civil penalties set forth in this section may be imposed by the circuit court for the city or county in which the facility is located as follows:

1. A civil penalty for a Class I violation shall not exceed the lesser of $25 per licensed or certified bed or $1,000 for each day the facility is in violation, beginning on the date the facility was first notified of the violation.

2. A civil penalty for a Class II violation shall not exceed the lesser of $5 per licensed or certified bed or $250 per day for each day the facility is in violation, beginning on the date the facility was first notified of the violation.

In the event federal law or regulations require a civil penalty in excess of the amounts set forth above for Class I or Class II violations, then the lowest amounts required by such federal law or regulations shall become the maximum civil penalties under this section. The date of notification under this section shall be deemed to be the date of receipt by the facility of written notice of the alleged Class I or Class II violation, which notice shall include specifics of the violation charged and which notice shall be hand delivered or sent by overnight express mail or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.

All civil penalties received pursuant to this subsection shall be paid into a special fund of the Department for the cost of implementation of this section, to be applied to the protection of the health or property of residents or patients of facilities that the Commissioner or the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services finds in violation, including payment for the costs for relocation of patients, maintenance of temporary management or receivership to operate a facility pending correction of a violation, and for reimbursement to residents or patients of lost personal funds.

B. In addition to the remedies provided in § 32.1-27 and the civil penalties set forth in subsection A of this section, the Commissioner may petition the circuit court for the jurisdiction in which any nursing home or certified nursing facility as defined in § 32.1-123 is located for the appointment of a receiver in accordance with the provisions of this subsection whenever such nursing home or certified nursing facility shall (i) receive official notice from the Commissioner that its license has been or will be revoked or suspended, or that its Medicare or Medicaid certification has been or will be cancelled or revoked; or (ii) receive official notice from the United States Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Medical Assistance Services that its provider agreement has been or will be revoked, cancelled, terminated or not renewed; or (iii) advise the Department of its intention to close or not to renew its license or Medicare or Medicaid provider agreement less than ninety days in advance; or (iv) operate at any time under conditions which present a major and continuing threat to the health, safety, security, rights or welfare of the patients, including the threat of imminent abandonment by the owner or operator, or a pattern of failure to meet ongoing financial obligations such as the inability to pay for essential food, pharmaceuticals, personnel, or required insurance; and (v) the Department is unable to make adequate and timely arrangements for relocating all patients who are receiving medical assistance under this chapter and Title XIX of the Social Security Act in order to ensure their continued safety and health care.

Upon the filing of a petition for appointment of a receiver, the court shall hold a hearing within ten days, at which time the Department and the owner or operator of the facility may participate and present evidence. The court may grant the petition if it finds any one of the conditions identified in (i) through (iv) above to exist in combination with the condition identified in (v) and the court further finds that such conditions will not be remedied and that the patients will not be protected unless the petition is granted.

No receivership established under this subsection shall continue in effect for more than 180 days without further order of the court, nor shall the receivership continue in effect following the revocation of the nursing home's license or the termination of the certified nursing facility's Medicare or Medicaid provider agreement, except to enforce any post-termination duties of the provider as required by the provisions of the Medicare or Medicaid provider agreement.

The appointed receiver shall be a person licensed as nursing home administrator in the Commonwealth pursuant to Title 54.1 or, if not so licensed, shall employ and supervise a person so licensed to administer the day-to-day business of the nursing home or certified nursing facility.

The receiver shall have (i) such powers and duties to manage the nursing home or certified nursing facility as the court may grant and direct, including but not limited to the duty to accomplish the orderly relocation of all patients and the right to refuse to admit new patients during the receivership, (ii) the power to receive, conserve, protect and disburse funds, including Medicare and Medicaid payments on behalf of the owner or operator of the nursing home or certified nursing facility, (iii) the power to execute and avoid executory contracts, (iv) the power to hire and discharge employees, and (v) the power to do all other acts, including the filing of such reports as the court may direct, subject to accounting to the court therefor and otherwise consistent with state and federal law, necessary to protect the patients from the threat or threats set forth in the original petitions, as well as such other threats arising thereafter or out of the same conditions.

The court may grant injunctive relief as it deems appropriate to the Department or to its receiver either in conjunction with or subsequent to the granting of a petition for appointment of a receiver under this section.

The court may terminate the receivership on the motion of the Department, the receiver, or the owner or operator, upon finding, after a hearing, that either (i) the conditions described in the petition have been substantially eliminated or remedied, or (ii) all patients in the nursing home or certified nursing facility have been relocated. Within thirty days after such termination, the receiver shall file a complete report of his activities with the court, including an accounting for all property of which he has taken possession and all funds collected.

All costs of administration of a receivership hereunder shall be paid by the receiver out of reimbursement to the nursing home or certified nursing facility from Medicare, Medicaid and other patient care collections. The court, after terminating such receivership, shall enter appropriate orders to ensure such payments upon its approval of the receiver's reports.

A receiver appointed under this section shall be an officer of the court, shall not be liable for conditions at the nursing home or certified nursing facility which existed or originated prior to his appointment and shall not be personally liable, except for his own gross negligence and intentional acts which result in injuries to persons or damage to property at the nursing home or certified nursing facility during his receivership.

The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to relieve any owner, operator or other party of any duty imposed by law or of any civil or criminal liability incurred by reason of any act or omission of such owner, operator, or other party.

1989, c. 618; 1996, cc. 788, 797.

§ 32.1-27.1. (Effective July 1, 2025) Additional civil penalty or appointment of a receiver.

A. In addition to the remedies provided in §§ 32.1-27 and 32.1-27.2, the civil penalties set forth in this section may be imposed by the circuit court for the city or county in which the facility is located as follows:

1. A civil penalty for a Class I violation shall not exceed the lesser of $25 per licensed or certified bed or $1,000 for each day the facility is in violation, beginning on the date the facility was first notified of the violation.

2. A civil penalty for a Class II violation shall not exceed the lesser of $5 per licensed or certified bed or $250 per day for each day the facility is in violation, beginning on the date the facility was first notified of the violation.

In the event federal law or regulations require a civil penalty in excess of the amounts set forth above for Class I or Class II violations, then the lowest amounts required by such federal law or regulations shall become the maximum civil penalties under this section. The date of notification under this section shall be deemed to be the date of receipt by the facility of written notice of the alleged Class I or Class II violation, which notice shall include specifics of the violation charged and which notice shall be hand delivered or sent by overnight express mail or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.

All civil penalties received pursuant to this subsection shall be paid into a special fund of the Department for the cost of implementation of this section, to be applied to the protection of the health or property of residents or patients of facilities that the Commissioner or the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services finds in violation, including payment for the costs for relocation of patients, maintenance of temporary management or receivership to operate a facility pending correction of a violation, and for reimbursement to residents or patients of lost personal funds.

B. In addition to the remedies provided in §§ 32.1-27 and 32.1-27.2 and the civil penalties set forth in subsection A, the Commissioner may petition the circuit court for the jurisdiction in which any nursing home or certified nursing facility as defined in § 32.1-123 is located for the appointment of a receiver in accordance with the provisions of this subsection whenever such nursing home or certified nursing facility shall (i) receive official notice from the Commissioner that its license has been or will be revoked or suspended, or that its Medicare or Medicaid certification has been or will be cancelled or revoked; or (ii) receive official notice from the United States Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Medical Assistance Services that its provider agreement has been or will be revoked, cancelled, terminated or not renewed; or (iii) advise the Department of its intention to close or not to renew its license or Medicare or Medicaid provider agreement less than ninety days in advance; or (iv) operate at any time under conditions which present a major and continuing threat to the health, safety, security, rights or welfare of the patients, including the threat of imminent abandonment by the owner or operator, or a pattern of failure to meet ongoing financial obligations such as the inability to pay for essential food, pharmaceuticals, personnel, or required insurance; and (v) the Department is unable to make adequate and timely arrangements for relocating all patients who are receiving medical assistance under this chapter and Title XIX of the Social Security Act in order to ensure their continued safety and health care.

Upon the filing of a petition for appointment of a receiver, the court shall hold a hearing within ten days, at which time the Department and the owner or operator of the facility may participate and present evidence. The court may grant the petition if it finds any one of the conditions identified in (i) through (iv) to exist in combination with the condition identified in (v) and the court further finds that such conditions will not be remedied and that the patients will not be protected unless the petition is granted.

No receivership established under this subsection shall continue in effect for more than 180 days without further order of the court, nor shall the receivership continue in effect following the revocation of the nursing home's license or the termination of the certified nursing facility's Medicare or Medicaid provider agreement, except to enforce any post-termination duties of the provider as required by the provisions of the Medicare or Medicaid provider agreement.

The appointed receiver shall be a person licensed as nursing home administrator in the Commonwealth pursuant to Title 54.1 or, if not so licensed, shall employ and supervise a person so licensed to administer the day-to-day business of the nursing home or certified nursing facility.

The receiver shall have (i) such powers and duties to manage the nursing home or certified nursing facility as the court may grant and direct, including but not limited to the duty to accomplish the orderly relocation of all patients and the right to refuse to admit new patients during the receivership, (ii) the power to receive, conserve, protect and disburse funds, including Medicare and Medicaid payments on behalf of the owner or operator of the nursing home or certified nursing facility, (iii) the power to execute and avoid executory contracts, (iv) the power to hire and discharge employees, and (v) the power to do all other acts, including the filing of such reports as the court may direct, subject to accounting to the court therefor and otherwise consistent with state and federal law, necessary to protect the patients from the threat or threats set forth in the original petitions, as well as such other threats arising thereafter or out of the same conditions.

The court may grant injunctive relief as it deems appropriate to the Department or to its receiver either in conjunction with or subsequent to the granting of a petition for appointment of a receiver under this section.

The court may terminate the receivership on the motion of the Department, the receiver, or the owner or operator, upon finding, after a hearing, that either (i) the conditions described in the petition have been substantially eliminated or remedied or (ii) all patients in the nursing home or certified nursing facility have been relocated. Within 30 days after such termination, the receiver shall file a complete report of his activities with the court, including an accounting for all property of which he has taken possession and all funds collected.

All costs of administration of a receivership hereunder shall be paid by the receiver out of reimbursement to the nursing home or certified nursing facility from Medicare, Medicaid and other patient care collections. The court, after terminating such receivership, shall enter appropriate orders to ensure such payments upon its approval of the receiver's reports.

A receiver appointed under this section shall be an officer of the court, shall not be liable for conditions at the nursing home or certified nursing facility which existed or originated prior to his appointment and shall not be personally liable, except for his own gross negligence and intentional acts which result in injuries to persons or damage to property at the nursing home or certified nursing facility during his receivership.

The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to relieve any owner, operator or other party of any duty imposed by law or of any civil or criminal liability incurred by reason of any act or omission of such owner, operator, or other party.

1989, c. 618; 1996, cc. 788, 797; 2023, cc. 482, 483.

§ 32.1-27.2. (Effective July 1, 2025) Administrative sanctions.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commissioner may impose administrative sanctions in accordance with this section on any certified nursing facility, if that certified nursing facility does not comply with the provisions of regulations promulgated pursuant to subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127. The Commissioner shall not impose any administrative sanctions authorized under this section until regulations are promulgated pursuant to subsection G.

B. The Commissioner shall have authority to annually determine whether or not to impose any sanctions under subsection C for noncompliance with the provisions of regulations promulgated pursuant to subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127, if the certified nursing facility:

1. Was affected by a declared emergency, or an act of God, that had an impact on the ability to hire or retain staff at levels required under subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127. To the extent necessary, the Commissioner may review trended employment data for direct care staff, as provided by the certified nursing facility, to determine the effect of such emergencies or acts of God in assessing this criterion. Failure to provide adequate data may remove this criterion from the Commissioner's consideration;

2. Has made a concerted effort to recruit and retain direct care staff as evidenced through position advertisements, interviews, offers, financial incentives, and nonfinancial incentives. The certified nursing facility shall provide such evidence upon request of the Commissioner for consideration. Failure to provide adequate evidence may remove this criterion from the Commissioner's consideration; or

3. Was located in a medically underserved area and such location severely limited the ability of the certified nursing facility to recruit and retain direct care staff despite a concerted effort to recruit and retain direct care staff. The certified nursing facility shall provide evidence upon request of the Commissioner for consideration. Failure to provide adequate evidence may remove this criterion from the Commissioner's consideration.

C. Prior to restricting or prohibiting new admissions to a certified nursing facility, suspending or refusing to renew or reinstate any nursing home license, or revoking any nursing home license issued pursuant to Article 1 (§ 32.1-123 et seq.) of Chapter 5, the Commissioner shall first impose the following iterative administrative sanctions:

1. When a certified nursing facility is not in compliance with subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127 and the conditions under subsection B do not exist, the Commissioner shall require the submission of an annual corrective action plan by a certified nursing facility and, upon approval of such plan by the Commissioner, compliance with such plan. A corrective action plan shall only articulate strategies to be utilized to increase direct care staffing with the goal of compliance with subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127 or improvement on the total nurse staffing hours metric, as defined by the Virginia Medicaid Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program. The Commissioner shall consider evidence of direct care staff hours provided in addition to the payroll based journal report, if requested by a certified nursing facility, and may or may not impose a corrective action plan under this section. The Commissioner shall consider the following:

a. If the annual measurement immediately subsequent to issuance of the corrective action plan shows compliance with subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127, no additional administrative sanctions are warranted, and the corrective action plan is deemed inactive but shall be retained by the Commissioner pursuant to the Virginia Public Records Act (§ 42.1-76 et seq.); or

b. If the annual measurement immediately subsequent to issuance of the corrective action plan still shows noncompliance with subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127, but the VBP program, as administered by the Department of Medical Assistance Services, indicates defined improvement on the total nurse staffing hours metric, the Commissioner shall repeat the provisions of subdivision 1; or

c. If the annual measurement immediately subsequent to issuance of the corrective action plan still shows noncompliance with subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127, and the VBP program, as administered by the Department of Medical Assistance Services, does not indicate defined improvement on the total nurse staffing hours metric, the Commissioner shall repeat the provisions of subdivision 1 and may, under circumstances described, provide additional sanctions under subdivisions 2 and 3;

2. To the extent that any consecutive annual corrective action plan is required and results articulated in subdivision 1 c are obtained a second consecutive time, the Commissioner may impose a monetary penalty of up to $50,000 for each subsequent consecutive annual period in which compliance with subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127 or defined improvement on the total nurse staffing hours metric under the VBP program is not attained; and

3. To the extent that a certified nursing facility is out of compliance with subdivision B 32 of § 32.1-127 or fails to show defined improvement on the total nurse staffing hours metric under the VBP program after three consecutive corrective action plans, the Commissioner may place the nursing home or certified nursing facility on probation.

D. A certified nursing facility sanctioned by the Commissioner shall retain responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of any person under its care, including the timely transfer or relocation of such persons as may be deemed necessary by the Commissioner in compliance with state and federal discharge rights and protections for nursing home residents.

E. After deduction of the administrative costs of the Commissioner and the Department in furtherance of this section, any penalties collected under this section shall be paid to the special fund as set forth in § 32.1-27.1.

F. Prior to imposing administrative sanctions, the Commissioner shall provide the facility with reasonable notice. To the extent that sanctions are imposed, the facility shall be entitled to all rights under the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) and to a de novo appeal to circuit court.

G. The Board shall promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of this section consistent with the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

2023, cc. 482, 483.

§ 32.1-28. When Attorney General to represent Board; special counsel.

The Attorney General shall represent the Board and Commissioner in all actions and proceedings for the enforcement of regulations or orders of the Board or Commissioner or the provisions of this title except actions or proceedings to which the Commonwealth or any of its agencies or institutions is a party defendant. Upon approval by the Governor, the Board is authorized to employ special counsel in such actions or proceedings.

1979, c. 711.

§ 32.1-29. Employment of attorney to defend Board members, employee, etc.

If the Commissioner, any Board member or any officer or employee of the Department is arrested, indicted or otherwise prosecuted on any criminal charge arising out of any act committed in the discharge of his duties as such, the Commissioner may employ an attorney approved by the Attorney General to defend such person. The compensation for such attorney shall, subject to the approval of the Attorney General, be paid out of the funds appropriated for the administration of the Department.

1979, c. 711.