RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8News’ investigations continue to reveal that about a dozen assisted living facilities statewide are operating in subpar conditions.

Our April investigation into Fillmore Place in Petersburg revealed it was one of 11 across Virginia operating with a provisional license, meaning they all failed to substantially comply with state standards.

Two months later, two of those facilities had managed to clean up their acts and get new one-year licenses. Others, like Fillmore Place, missed their license expiration deadlines and remained under investigation. And three new others joined the list after their renewal inspections unveiled major problems.

And AARP’s Virginia Director of Advocacy David DeBiasi says those provisionally licensed are just the tip of the iceberg. He says Covid-19 exposed the depth of problems in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“We all admit there’s a problem, we just don’t know how to solve it,” DeBiasi said.

He said lawmakers are funding studies of the issue, but that will bring help down the road and many families need to learn what to look out for in the medium term or even right now when it comes to long-term care facilities.

“A facility is never measured by how much does it cost or are their chandeliers hanging from the ceiling,” DeBiasi said, adding, “It’s about how are their staffed.”

Here are his recommendations for how to best evaluate staff and what to look for:

  • After meeting with an administrator, speak with or at least observe staff too.
  • Make sure staff get down to the eye level of residents and use their names.
  • Go back to the facility several times to see if it’s neat, clean, smells fresh, and is calm and quiet at different times of the day.
  • Review the level of care they’re able to provide, especially if they’re an assisted living facility because they’re not considered healthcare and are not inspected or licensed by the health department as nursing homes are.
  • Before you visit, check the facility’s inspection reports on the Department of Social Services website.

“One violation is probably not a red flag, because people make mistakes, and you can correct your mistakes,” DeBiasi said. “But if there’s [sic] serial violations, if you look, and you see, you know, violation, violation, violation, violation, which there’s plenty of sites like that, that’s one to stay away from.”

To see what to Google and search to find inspection reports for an assisted living facility, watch this video:

There is currently no way to view all facilities with provisional licenses, so 8News has continued making periodic public records requests for those lists.

As of late June, the list included:

  • Banister Residential Care Facility Inc. – Halifax
  • Brighter Living Assisted Living – Hopewell
  • Brightview Baldwin Park – Staunton
  • Candis Assisted Living – Roanoke
  • Carriage Hill Retirement – Bedford
  • Colonial Manor – Williamsburg
  • Fillmore Place – Petersburg
  • Nehemiah Assisted Living – Hampton
  • Commonwealth Senior Living at Radford – Radford
  • The Mayflower – Stratford
  • Runk & Pratt of Forest – Lynchburg

We are still waiting on a response to our latest request for an updated list.

State officials tell 8News that the results of the state’s investigation of Fillmore Place will be available this week.