Licensing Regulations to be Effective 1 August

July 31, 2020

The Code of Virginia states:


“If one or more changes with substantial impact are made to a proposed regulation from the time that it is published as a proposed regulation to the time it is published as a final regulation, any person may petition the agency within 30 days from the publication of the final regulation to request an opportunity for oral and written submittals on the changes to the regulation. If the agency receives requests from at least 25 persons for an opportunity to submit oral and written comments on the changes to the regulation, the agency shall (i) suspend the regulatory process for 30 days to solicit additional public comment and (ii) file notice of the additional 30-day public comment period with the Registrar of Regulations, unless the agency determines that the changes made are minor or inconsequential in their impact.” [Emphasis added.]


DBHDS has informed us that there decision was based upon the following:

  • If you look particularly at the language highlighted, you’ll see that it’s not just a question of whether an agency has received 25 or more comments, it’s a question of whether the agency has received requests from 25 or more people specifically asking for an opportunity to submit oral and written comments. To ascertain this, we have carefully gone through all the comments received and also consulted with our legal counsel.
  • Although 167 comments were received for the final stage amendments since the proposed stage, there were not at least 25 people requesting an opportunity to submit oral and written comments on the changes.
  • Therefore, it is our conclusion that a suspension of the regulatory process is not required (§ 2.2-4007.06).  I can assure you, though, that all comments have been reviewed, considered, and will be responded to in coming weeks.
  • Many of the comments focused on the use of the phrase “prevent the recurrence” in relation to corrective action plans. We are currently in the process of revising our proposed guidance to address providers’ concerns about this language.
  • The draft guidance on corrective action plans and incident reporting was extended another 30 days to allow time for edits to be finalized to document the agency’s intent.


While this is disappointing, it was not ever a certainty that having an additional 30 days of public comment would have, in the end, made a difference.  What we did show was that when confronted with a regulation that contained several substantive changes that will have a substantial impact on the provider community, we are engaged and determined in making our voices heard.