Learn About Assisted Living Regulations in West Virginia
By Joelle Besnette for Assisted Living Directory
West Virginia’s overall population is declining according to the U.S. Census bureau, however, the population of those 65 and older has been increasing. As the population ages, it becomes necessary for many of us to consider options to take care of those we love.
Who regulates Assisted Living facilities in West Virginia?
Assisted Living facilities are overseen by the Department of Health & Human Resources, Office of Health Facility Licensure & Certification.
Their site looks like this (at the time of this writing):
What types of assisted living facilities are there?
In West Virginia, there are several types of assisted living facilities that fall under the Assisted Living Program for the state. These include the Alzheimer’s Unit, Assisted Living Residence, Legally Unlicensed facilities, Medical Adult Day Care, Residential Board and Care Home, and Residential Care Community.
In this article, I’ll focus on Assisted Living Residence. This is defined as “A housing alternative for older adults who may need help with dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting, but do not require the intensive medical and nursing care provided in nursing homes.” There is a minimum of 4 residents per facility.
The state differentiates between a Small Assisted Living Residence (with bed capacity ranging from 4-16) and a Large Assisted Living Residence (with 17 or more beds).
How can I find a facility?
In 2013, West Virginia launched an online search tool to find facilities.
The tool (at this time) looks like this:
Under the Assisted Living Residence search, you may narrow your search by small facilities, large facilities, or personal care homes. You may also search for all types of assisted living facilities. Other options include limiting searches by county, zip code, or by full or partial facility name.
There is also an Advanced search feature where you may narrow your search even further; here, you may search for facilities which accept Medicare, Medicaid, or those which are private pay. The Advanced Search also includes a map of the state with counties:
A note of caution: my searches did not yield the information I requested (or thought I was requesting!). I tried several advanced searches, using different criteria and de-selecting counties (which by default are all selected), however, every search result listed the same 98 facilities statewide. I am hoping this is a simple case of “user error”. The good news in this is that I received more information than I requested – certainly better than receiving less.
Your results may be saved as a .pdf or downloaded as a .csv file (which you can open using Excel). The great advantage of exporting the results to a .csv file is that you will be able to sort them in Excel. If your results are as extensive as mine were, you will probably want to sort and filter your results.
How can I find a list of facility inspection reports?
Go to the Facility Lookup page to pull a list of all assisted living facilities.
On the results page, you may click on any of the facility names to see information including an overview with basic facility information, and tabs for Health Investigations, Life Safety Inspections, and even a Map feature where you can get driving directions to the facility.
The inspections reports section looks like this:
How can I view, and get a copy of West Virginia’s Assisted Living Regulations?
These are located under Title 64, Legislative Rule, Bureau for Public Health, Series 14, Assisted Living Residences:
The current and previous versions of the code are provided at this web page as well.
How are complaints handled?
If a formal complaint is necessary, contact the Office of Health Facility Licensure & Certification (OHFLAC) via phone, fax, or mail. They do not accept complaints via email. Complaints may be made anonymously by any individual. The Health Care Facility Complaints line is (304) 558-0050.
Where can I go for further information?
The WV Bureau of Senior Services has a wealth of information. For starters, here is a great list of FAQs concerning senior issues. They also offer an online brochure called Consumer Guide: Helping Families Make Informed Choices About Care. It contains an impressive amount of useful information covering a range of healthcare resources.
Also, the Aging & Disability Resource Network provides assistance in locating long-term care for seniors as well as individuals with disabilities.
Finally, for a list of senior centers in each county, the Bureau of Senior Services offers a provider list.