1. Your loved one lives in an assisted living facility in Virginia. That facility is:

(a) a health care provider;
(b) has a duty to provide medical care to your loved one;
(c) none of the above.

2. Your loved one’s facility sends you a letter that says they will provide the same services but will no longer be a “licensed” assisted living facility.
(a) changes nothings;
(b) is good, less paper work, more time to help;
(c) is frightening and reason enough to find a new place;
(d) could never happen.

Correct answers – (c)… and it does happen – read about a facility doing this exact thing, getting rid of their license, effectively becoming an apartment building.

The article states:

Iowa’s largest assisted living center has found a loophole in the law that will enable it to avoid all future government oversight and regulation even though it has been repeatedly penalized for poor quality care.

The Dubuque Retirement Community, which is currently home to 116 seniors, is giving up its state license to operate as an assisted living center. The home’s owner, Assisted Living Concepts, plans to operate the building as if it were an apartment complex subject only to landlord-tenant laws.

Residents of the home who are dependent and need medical assistance will be able to stay in the building and pay for 24-hour health care provided by Swan Home Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of Assisted Living Concepts.

By separating the housing from the health care services, the company will be able to provide the same care to the same seniors in the same building, but without a license and all of the regulations that go with it. That means state health inspectors and the long-term-care ombudsman won’t be visiting the home and checking on the quality of care that’s being delivered.

This is pretty scary folks. No legal duty to help your loved one? That is the other company’s job.

If you want to learn about the legal duties and differences between facilities in Virginia (retirement communities, assisted living and nursing home) – read my article on this exact topic found on our website.

Please know what these choices mean

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at