In Virginia the General Assembly mandated a study to examine the operations and level of services provided in independent living communities, and to evaluate whether the Commonwealth of Virginia should further regulate these communities. When the report of the study was presented to the Virginia General Assembly in January 2019, one of the eight recommendations was to “Establish and manage an Office of Independent Living Community Ombudsman at the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), and a complaint line to receive, record and respond to concerns by or on behalf of residents.”
Even though for 45-years Virginia has supported ombudsmen for assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, yet in 2019 and 2020 the General Assembly did not pass the Independent Living Ombudsman Bills. These bills were endorsed and promoted by the Virginia Continuing Care Residents Association (VaCCRA), but strongly opposed by LeadingAge Virginia. Several delegates will submit another (3rd) Independent Living Ombudsman Bill to the 2021 General Assembly.
The primary purpose of this Forum is to share experiences related to state legislatures and to determine how many states have Independent Living Ombudsmen and other CCRC regulations. How did these states get legislation passed that provides CCRC residents with increased protections and a greater role in the governance of their communities? For the states that have ombudsmen, how well is the program working?