2006 Code of Virginia § 2.2-713 - Minimum requirements for local programs; authority

2.2-713. Minimum requirements for local programs; authority.

Every local or regional program with which the Department contracts toprovide services as a public guardian or conservator shall (i) furnish bondwith corporate surety in an amount deemed sufficient by the Department toafford adequate financial protection to the maximum number of incapacitatedpersons to be served by the program; (ii) have in place a multi-disciplinarypanel to (a) screen cases for the purpose of ensuring that appointment of aguardian or conservator is appropriate under the circumstances and is theleast restrictive alternative available to assist the incapacitated personand (b) continually review cases being handled by the program as required bythe Department; (iii) accept only appointments as guardian or conservatorthat generate no fee or would generate a minimal fee as defined by regulationpayable from a public source of funds and not from the estate of theincapacitated person; (iv) have a direct service staff to client ratio thatis consistent with that specified by regulation of the Department; and (v)develop a plan, in consultation with the local circuit court and sheriffswhere appropriate, to provide advance notice to the court when the programfalls below or exceeds the ideal range of staff to client ratios in order toassure continuity of services. Volunteers shall not be counted for purposesof ascertaining compliance with the staff to client ratio specified by theDepartment.

A local or regional program that exceeds the specified staff to client ratioshall not be disqualified from serving as a guardian or conservator except asprovided by regulation or if the court or the Department finds that there isan immediate threat to the person or property of any incapacitated person orthat exceeding the specified ratio is having or will have a material andadverse effect on the ability of the program to properly serve all of theincapacitated persons it has been designated to serve.

A local or regional program appointed as a guardian or conservator shall haveall the powers and duties specified in Article 2 ( 37.2-1019 et seq.) ofChapter 10 of Title 37.2, except as otherwise specifically limited by thecourt. In addition, a public guardian or conservator shall have a continuingduty to seek a proper and suitable person who is willing and able to serve asguardian or conservator for the incapacitated person. A public guardian orconservator shall have authority to make funeral, cremation, or burialarrangements if the public guardian or conservator is not aware of any personthat has been otherwise designated to make arrangements for disposition ofremains as set forth in 54.1-2825 of the Code of Virginia. A publicguardian or conservator shall have authority to make funeral, cremation, orburial arrangements after the death of an incapacitated person if the next ofkin of the incapacitated does not wish to make the arrangements and thepublic guardian or conservator has made a good faith effort to locate thenext of kin to determine if the next of kin wishes to make the burial,cremation or funeral arrangements. Good faith effort shall include contactingthe next of kin identified in the petition for appointment of a guardian orconservator. The funeral service licensee, funeral service establishment,registered crematory, public guardian or conservator shall be immune fromcivil liability for any act, decision, or omission resulting from acceptanceof any dead body for burial, cremation or other disposition when theprovisions of this section are met, unless such acts, decisions or omissionsresulted from bad faith or malicious intent.

A public guardian shall not have authority to admit an incapacitated personto a psychiatric hospital or mental health facility without a civilcommitment proceeding, or to approve or authorize a sterilization procedureexcept when specific authority has been given pursuant to a proceeding in thecircuit court. A public guardian may authorize mental health treatment,including the administration of psychotropic medication, unless theappointing court specifically provides otherwise.

A local or regional program appointed as a guardian or conservator maydelegate the powers, duties and responsibilities to individual volunteers orprofessional staff as authorized in the contract with the Department.

In addition to funds received from the Department, a local or regionalprogram may accept private funds solely for the purposes of providing publiceducation, supplemental services for incapacitated persons and supportservices for private guardians and conservators, consistent with the purposesof this article.

(1998, c. 787, 2.1-373.14; 2001, c. 844; 2006, c. 854.)

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