ELECTRONIC RECORDS & SIGNATURES, INCIDENT REPORTS, and

REPORTING ABUSE, NEGLECT, & EXPLOITATION

The following is the third in a series of NLG posts summarizing the new Virginia assisted living regulations.  The regulations are scheduled to take effect February 1, 2018.

Remember: This series is intended to summarize what some of the new regulations say.  They should not be confused with advice on how to actually comply with the new requirements.  Compliance with the new regulations will likely require—among other things—new and revised policies and procedures that are specific to your community.

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Electronic Records and Signatures: 22 VAC 40-73-60

The regulations include a new section on the use of electronic records and electronic signatures.  Use of electronic records requires compliance with all provisions of the Virginia Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA).[1]  However, electronic signatures (e-signatures) will only constitute and be given the effect of a signature if—in addition to meeting the requirements of the UETA—the licensee:

  1. Develops, implements, and maintains specific policies and procedures on the use of e-signatures;
  2. Ensures each e-signature identifies the signor by name and title;
  3. Ensures the document cannot be altered after it has been signed;
  4. Ensures that each user signs a statement that the individual is the only one with access to the computer password or user key associated with his/her signature and that the user will not share the password/key with others;
  5. Ensures that “access to the code or key sequence is limited;” and
  6. “Ensures that strong and substantial evidence exists that would make it difficult for the signor or the receiving party to claim the electronic representation is not valid.”

The Facility must also maintain a system for backing up and securing all electronic documents.

 

Incident Reports: 22 VAC 40-73-70

The new regulations require facilities to make initial incident reports to the regional licensing office within 24 hours of the incident, versus the current requirement to make the report “by the next working day.”  The written incident report must then be submitted to the regional licensing office “within seven days from the date of the incident” (emphasis added).  This wording suggests that the 7-day period in which the facility must make its report includes the day on which the incident occurred.  In contrast, the current regulations require that a written report be submitted “within seven days after the incident took place” (emphasis added).  The written report must also include what actions have been or will be taken to prevent reoccurrence of the incident, when applicable.

 

Reports of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation: 22 VAC 40-73-130

In addition to retaining the requirement that all staff receive training on incident reporting and the “[r]equirements and procedures for detecting and reporting suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of residents and[,] for mandated reporters, the consequences for failing to make a required report,” the revised regulations include a new section explicitly requiring that mandated reporters do, in fact, make such reports.  This section also requires that the facility notify the resident’s legal representative or designated contact person when such a report is made and to do so without revealing any confidential information.

 

NLG can assist your community in preparing for and implementing the new regulations — Contact Us today to find out how!  Make sure to also sign up for our newsletter for more summaries and other healthcare updates.