How This Series Was Reported
Sunday, May 23, 2004; Page A16
The Washington Post used a range of sources to examine Virginia's assisted living facilities and to identify cases in which residents died or were injured after lapses in care.
• The newspaper filed hundreds of public information requests with local, state and federal agencies. The Post analyzed more than 20 years of previously undisclosed computer records from the Department of Social Services, which licenses the homes. The database was studied for patterns and to identify troubled facilities. More detailed public records on those facilities also were studied, including inspection reports, violation notices, complaint investigations, agency e-mails and cost reports filed by the homes.
• The newspaper also studied state sex-offender registry records, computerized death certificate data, disciplinary actions by the Virginia Board of Nursing, Medicaid payments, 911 calls, police and fire reports, code enforcement records and lawsuits.
• When it was possible to identify victims, the newspaper contacted families, friends and caregivers. The Post also surveyed licensing officials in all 50 states and the District on the regulation and funding of assisted living.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company