Resident abuse, neglect focus of VA proposal

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Preventing the mistreatment, abuse and neglect of community residential care facility residents is the purpose of many amendments to Department of Veterans Affairs regulations proposed Nov. 12 in the Federal Register. The VA is accepting comments on the proposed rule through Jan. 11.

The amendments would apply to VA-approved assisted living homes, medical foster homes, group living homes, family care homes and psychiatric CRC homes across the country, according to the department.

Because state laws vary, VA officials write, “We do not believe we can rely on state law to ensure that veterans can trust and rely on VA-recommended CRCs to provide a certain, uniform minimum level of safety and care. VA believes that all veterans residing in a CRC should have the same level of assurance that a CRC staff member or other covered individual does not have a criminal history, regardless of where that facility is located.”

The rule, if finalized as proposed, would prohibit CRCs from:

  • Employing anyone who had been convicted of abusing, neglecting or mistreating anyone.
  • Employing anyone listed in a state registry or with a licensing authority because of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of individuals or misappropriation of property.

It also would require CRCs to:

  • Develop and implement policies prohibiting the mistreatment, neglect or abuse of residents and the misappropriation of resident property.
  • Report policy violations within 24 hours of discovery.
  • Investigate policy violations and report investigation findings within five days.
  • Screen and monitor individuals who are not CRC residents but have direct access to veterans living in a CRC.

The proposed rule also would reduce the number of beds allowed in a newly established bedroom for residents from four to two, to help ensure privacy and a good quality of life.

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