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General Assembly requests study into staffing levels at assisted living facilities

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RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia General Assembly commission focused on health care opted Tuesday to move forward with a study into staffing ratio requirements for assisted living facilities in Virginia.

The decision comes more than ten months after CBS 6 investigative reporter Melissa Hipolit initiated an ongoing investigation into staffing levels at assisted living facilities in the Commonwealth.

Her series highlighted staffing concerns raised by people with loved ones in assisted living communities, and former employees of assisted living facilities.

Her initial story featured a woman whose mother went to the Emergency Room five times in the eleven weeks she lived at an assisted living community in Midlothian.

The new study, which was proposed by State Senator Rosalyn Dance and requested by the Joint Commission on Health Care, will analyze current staff-to-resident ratio requirements at assisted living facilities.

It will also make recommendations for changes to such ratio requirements that would lead to better care.

In February, the Virginia Board of Social Services approved several new regulations for Assisted Living Facilities in the Commonwealth.

Among the new requirements, there must be at least two direct care staff members awake and on duty when there are 20 or fewer residents present in a special care unit, and for every additional 10 residents, or portion thereof, there must be at least one more direct care staff member awake and on duty in the unit.

Currently, the state only requires two direct care staff members awake and on duty in a special care unit, no matter the number of residents.

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