REGULATIONS
Vol. 37 Iss. 13 - February 15, 2021

TITLE 22. SOCIAL SERVICES
DEPARTMENT FOR THE BLIND AND VISION IMPAIRED
Chapter 100
Fast-Track

Title of Regulation: 22VAC45-100. Regulations Governing Deaf-Blind Services (amending 22VAC45-100-10, 22VAC45-100-20, 22VAC45-100-30).

Statutory Authority: § 51.5-60 of the Code of Virginia.

Public Hearing Information: No public hearings are currently scheduled.

Public Comment Deadline: March 17, 2021.

Effective Date: April 1, 2021.

Agency Contact: Susan K. Davis, MS, CRC, Regulatory Coordinator, Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, 401 Azalea Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227, telephone (804) 371-3184, FAX (804) 371-3157, TDD (804) 371-3140, or email susan.davis@dbvi.virginia.gov.

Basis: The Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) has statutory authority from § 51.5-65 of the Code of Virginia, which identifies the functions, duties, and powers of the DBVI Commissioner to adopt regulations to carry out the applicable provisions of the chapter.

Purpose: The goal of the regulatory action is to change the agency name from the outdated Department for the Visually Handicapped to the current Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired; it is critical that citizens know and can identify the name of the agency in order to access deafblind services.

Rationale for Using Fast-Track Rulemaking Process: The proposed changes to 22VAC45-100 are noncontroversial. There are no additional costs incurred by DBVI and existing deafblind services are not changed. Individuals who are blind, vision impaired, or deafblind will be unharmed therefore the fast-track option is appropriate.

Substance: The current regulation contains obsolete language and definitions. The revisions modernize definitions to incorporate people first language and remove definitions that reference repealed Code of Virginia sections or old terminology. Code of Virginia, Virginia Administrative Code, and federal law citations are brought up to date to reflect current regulations ensuring that constituents are able to determine the source of regulatory authority.

Issues: There are no disadvantages to revising this regulation.

Department of Planning and Budget's Economic Impact Analysis:

Summary of the Proposed Amendments to Regulation. The Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) proposes to amend 22VAC45-100, Regulations Governing Deaf-Blind Services, to update the definitions of key terms to match the Code of Virginia or United States Code, as well as to update the title of the regulation, the name of the agency, and the names of the services they provide.

Background. DBVI seeks to update definitions for terms associated with the communities they serve to be consistent with the Code of Virginia and the United States Code and to reflect the typical contemporary usage of these terms. In particular, DBVI proposes the following definitions:

• "Blind person," as defined in § 51.5-60 of the Code of Virginia, means an individual who has central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, as measured with best correction, or a limitation in the field of vision in the better eye, such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle of 20 degrees or less.1

• "Persons who are deaf," as defined in § 51.5-111(1) of the Code of Virginia, means individuals whose hearing is totally impaired or whose hearing, with or without amplification, is so seriously impaired that the primary means of receiving spoken communication is through visual input such as lip-reading, sign language, finger spelling, reading, or writing.2

• Persons who are hard-of-hearing," as defined in § 51.5-111(2) of the Code of Virginia, means individuals whose hearing is impaired to an extent that makes hearing difficult but does not preclude the understanding of spoken communication through the ear alone, with or without a hearing aid.

• "Persons who are deafblind," pursuant to 29 USC § 1905(2)(A) and 20 USC § 1905(2)(B), means individuals: (i) who have central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses, or a field defect such that the peripheral diameter of visual fields subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees, or a progressive visual loss having a prognosis leading to one or both of these conditions; (ii) who have a chronic hearing impairment so severe that most speech cannot be understood with optimum amplification, or a progressive hearing loss having a prognosis leading to this condition; (iii) for whom the combination of impairments described in this definition cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychological adjustment or obtaining a vocation; and (iv) who, despite the inability to be measured accurately for hearing and vision loss due to cognitive or behavioral constraints, or both, can be determined through functional and performance assessments to have severe hearing and visual disabilities that cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychological adjustment or obtaining vocational objectives.3

Since "deaf-blind" is now written as "deafblind" the title of the regulation would also be amended to reflect this change. Definitions of "severely visually impaired" and "speech discrimination" would remain unchanged.

Estimated Benefits and Costs. The proposed amendments benefit readers of the regulation, especially deafblind individuals, their families, caregivers and advocates, by improving the clarity of the language. It does not introduce any additional costs.

Businesses and Other Entities Affected. Readers of the regulation, especially deafblind individuals, their families, caregivers and advocates would be affected. The proposed amendments do not introduce any new costs for businesses or other entities.

Small Businesses4 Affected. The proposed amendments do not directly affect any small businesses, nor would they face any new costs as a result of the proposed amendments.

Localities5 Affected.6 The proposed amendments do not disproportionately affect any specific localities, nor introduce new costs for local governments.

Projected Impact on Employment. The proposed amendments are unlikely to cause any changes to total employment.

Effects on the Use and Value of Private Property. The proposed amendments are unlikely to affect the use or value of private property. Real estate development costs are unlikely to be affected.

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1See § 51.5-60 of the Code of Virginia: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191 ful CHAP0088

2See § 51.5-111(1) of the Code of Virginia: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title51.5/chapter13/section51.5-111/

3See https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/29/1905

4Pursuant to § 2.2-4007.04 of the Code of Virginia, small business is defined as "a business entity, including its affiliates, that (i) is independently owned and operated and (ii) employs fewer than 500 full-time employees or has gross annual sales of less than $6 million."

5"Locality" can refer to either local governments or the locations in the Commonwealth where the activities relevant to the regulatory change are most likely to occur.

6§ 2.2-4007.04 defines "particularly affected" as bearing disproportionate material impact.

Agency's Response to the Economic Impact Analysis: Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired concurs with the economic impact analysis performed by the Department of Planning and Budget.

Summary:

The amendments update (i) the definitions of key terms to match the Code of Virginia or United States Code and (ii) the title of the regulation, the name of the department, and the names of the services the department provide.

Chapter 100

Regulations Governing Deaf-Blind DeafBlind Services

Part I

Introduction

22VAC45-100-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Blindness, legal blindness" means the condition as defined in §§ 63.1-142 and 63.1-166 of the Code of Virginia.

"Client" means any person receiving a service provided by Deaf-Blind Services of the Department for the Visually Handicapped.

"Deaf" means those individuals who cannot hear and understand speech through the ear alone under normal conditions, with or without amplification; a hearing loss greater than 70 decibels in the better ear without amplification; a speech discrimination score below 40%; or both.

"Blind person," as defined in § 51.5-60 of the Code of Virginia, means an individual who has central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, as measured with best correction, or a limitation in the field of vision in the better eye, such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle of 20 degrees or less.

"Deaf-Blind "DeafBlind Services" means special services assistance and supports a client would need due to person needs because of a combined loss of vision and hearing; i.e., including an interpreter for the deaf-blind a person who is deafblind; communication skills assessment and training; and assessment of special aids and devices such as tactile or visual signaling systems, telecommunication devices, and assistive listening devices.

"DBVI" means the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired.

"Department" means the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired.

"Persons who are deaf," as defined in subdivision 1 of § 51.5-111 of the Code of Virginia, means individuals whose hearing is totally impaired or whose hearing, with or without amplification, is so seriously impaired that the primary means of receiving spoken communication is through visual input such as lip-reading, sign language, finger spelling, reading, or writing.

"Persons who are deafblind," pursuant to 20 USC § 1905(2)(B) and 29 USC § 1905(2)(A), means individuals: (i) who have central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses, or a field defect such that the peripheral diameter of visual fields subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees, or a progressive visual loss having a prognosis leading to one or both of these conditions; (ii) who have a chronic hearing impairment so severe that most speech cannot be understood with optimum amplification, or a progressive hearing loss having a prognosis leading to this condition; (iii) for whom the combination of impairments described in this definition cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychological adjustment, or obtaining a vocation; and (iv) who, despite the inability to be measured accurately for hearing and vision loss due to cognitive or behavioral constraints, or both, can be determined through functional and performance assessments to have severe hearing and visual disabilities that cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychological adjustment or obtaining vocational objectives.

"Hard of hearing," "Persons who are hard-of-hearing," as defined in subdivision 2 of § 51.5-111 of the Code of Virginia, means those individuals whose hearing is impaired to an extent that makes hearing difficult but does not preclude the understanding of spoken communication through the ear alone, with or without amplification. Hearing loss is in the range of 30 decibels to 70 decibels, a speech discrimination score below 75%, or both a hearing aid.

"Severely visually impaired" means vision no better than 20/70 in the better eye with correction or a field of vision restricted to 70 degrees or less in the better eye.

"Speech discrimination" means the ability to hear and understand spoken communication.

Part II

Eligibility

22VAC45-100-20. Eligibility.

An individual who is blind or severely visually impaired, and also deaf or hard of hearing hard-of-hearing is eligible for deaf-blind deafblind services.

Part III

Services

22VAC45-100-30. Delivery of services.

It is the intent of these regulations that deaf-blind clients persons who are deafblind be fully integrated into the service programs provided by the department to the extent practical.

Procedures for the delivery of deaf-blind services can may be found in the DBVI manuals of the following agency programs: Intake and Social Services; Independent Living Rehabilitation Services; Rehabilitation Teaching Services; Vocational Rehabilitation Services; Program for Infants, Children, Youth; Volunteer Services; and Low Vision. Rehabilitation Teaching and Independent Living Services, Education Services, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

VA.R. Doc. No. R21-6236; Filed January 19, 2021