The entity designated by the Department to operate the programs of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman pursuant to the Older Americans Act (42 U.S.C. § 3001 et seq.) shall, in the investigation of complaints referred to the program, have access to the facilities providing services; the clients, patients, and individuals receiving services; and the records of such clients, patients, and individuals in (i) licensed assisted living facilities and adult day care centers as those terms are defined in § 63.2-100; (ii) home care organizations as defined in § 32.1-162.7; (iii) hospice facilities as defined in § 32.1-162.1; (iv) certified nursing facilities and nursing homes as those terms are defined in § 32.1-123; (v) providers as defined in § 37.2-403; (vi) state hospitals operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services; and (vii) providers of services by an area agency on aging or any private nonprofit or proprietary agency whenever the entity has the consent of the client, patient, or individual receiving services or his legal representative. However, if a client, patient, or individual receiving services is unable to consent to the review of his medical and social records and has no legal representative and access to the records is necessary to investigate a complaint, access shall be granted to the extent necessary to conduct the investigation. Further, access shall be granted to the entity if a legal representative of the client, patient, or individual receiving services refuses to give consent and the entity has reasonable cause to believe that the legal representative is not acting in the best interests of the client, patient, or individual receiving services. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 32.1-125.1, the entity designated by the Department to operate the programs of the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman shall have access to state hospitals in accordance with this section. Access to patients, residents, and individuals receiving services and their records and to facilities and state hospitals shall be available during normal working hours except in emergency situations. Records that are confidential under federal or state law shall be maintained as confidential by the entity and shall not be further disclosed, except as permitted by law. However, notwithstanding the provisions of this section, there shall be no right of access to privileged communications pursuant to § 8.01-581.17.
1980, c. 477, § 2.1-373.1; 1982, c. 345; 1989, c. 160; 1993, cc. 333, 957, 993; 1996, cc. 113, 341; 2001, c. 844, § 2.2-705; 2009, cc. 813, 840; 2012, cc. 476, 507, 803, 835; 2014, cc. 98, 120.