How to Check for Assisted Living Violations
One challenge for caregivers and families who are searching for assisted living is that it’s not always easy to find information about the licensing and background of the communities that they are exploring. While there is a national nursing home website to view licensing and audit histories of Medicare approved nursing homes, there is no such website for assisted living communities. That’s because assisted living is regulated at the state level, as opposed to nursing homes, which are regulated at both the state and federal level.
A Place for Mom provides a list of assisted living state licensing websites across the U.S., but this post ranks each state based on the amount of information available online, and the usability of the website or websites that provide that information.
Accessible and Transparent State Websites for Assisted Living
How is your state performing in terms of providing information about care providers and making their histories available on the web? These rankings should give you a good indication of a quality state website.
The criteria that we used to build this list includes:
- Frequently updated assisted living information.
- Accessible information via a search form rather than a mere downloadable list.
- Assisted living records are centralized on one website rather than across a few websites.
- There is detailed information about the community, like:
- License number and expiration date
- Address, contact information, contact name, owner
- History of state inspections and documented violations
- Viewable documentation for inspections and violations
- The assisted living website is intuitive and easy to navigate.
Unfortunately, not all websites are up to par. For instance, in Massachusetts, you are only able to download a list of licensed communities and no information about inspections reports is viewable online. Massachusetts ranked #36 on our list.
If you would like information about an assisted living community’s background but cannot find it on your state website, don’t hesitate to call your local Area Agency on Aging (AAoA) to make an appointment to speak with your local Long Term Care Ombudsman, who can provide this type of information over the phone or via mail. You can locate your local AAoA office at: www.eldercare.gov.
Top 10 State Websites for Assisted Living
Some states have led the way by providing consumers websites where they can investigate assisted living communities that they are considering.
The top 10 states that are listed below have created consumer friendly, easy to use websites for researching online whether a community is licensed and if it has any issues or regulation violations in its recent history.
The top 10 state websites for assisted living include:
- Florida | Agency for Health Care Adminstration’s FloridaHealthFinder.gov | We liked: Easy to use form, frequently updated data, all records fully accessible
- Alabama | Department of Public Health’s Healthcare Facilities Directory | ADPH – Statement of Deficiencies | We liked: Straightforward web form, clean look, and abundant information
- Washington | Department of Social and Health Services Adult Family Home Locator | We liked: Simple search form and easy to find enforcement letters
- Arizona | Department of Health Services Assisted Living Facility Search | We liked: Up to date info and centralized search form
- Georgia | Department of Community Health Map2Care Facility Finder | We liked: Convenient search tool and with facility compliance forms available
- Texas | Department of Aging of Disability Services Facility Directory | We liked: Relatively easy to use website and quality ratings for many provider types
- Virginia | Department of Social Services Facility Finder | We liked: Convenient search form and detailed inspections info
- Nevada | Nevada Health Statistics Portal | We liked: Easy to search by name of facility, although it would also be helpful to search by care type.
- New Mexico | Department of Health | We liked: Good, accessible info despite somewhat clunky search form
- New York | Department of Health Assisted Living Resources| Adult Care Reports (includes listing of reports of assisted living communities and other senior care providers dating back to 2002) | We liked: Detailed information about providers is accessible, although one disadvantage is that information is spread across two sites instead of centrally located
Additional State Websites for Assisted Living
Here are the remaining 40 states and the District of Columbia, ranked based on the usability of their sites and the amount of information they contain.
If you visit your own state’s website and find that it’s not up to your standards, consider writing your state legislators to urge them to make it quick and easy to find information about licensed long term care providers and their backgrounds.
#11 – #20
- Delaware | Licensed and Certified Long Term Care Facilities | Survey Reports
- Colorado | Health Facility List Selection Options: Assisted Living Residence | Consumer Resources – Assisted Living Residences
- Indiana | Health Facilities Consumer Report Search
- Michigan | Statewide Search for Adult Foster Care / Homes for the Aged Facilities
- Connecticut | State of Connecticut’s eLicensing Website | Health Care Facility Regulatory Action Orders | Regulatory Action Report
- District of Columbia | Health Care Facilities Licensing | Heath Care Facility Inspection Reports | Enforcement Actions
- Maine | Assisted Living Facilities Search
- Oklahoma | Directory of Oklahoma Licensed Long-Term Care Facilities | Provider Survey/Inspection Search
- Oregon | Facility Lists | Substantiated Facility Abuse Complaints
- California | Search for a Licensed Facility
- Minnesota | Health Care Facility and Provider Database | DHS Licensing Information Lookup | 4 Steps to locating Survey Information for Minnesota’s providers
- Missouri | Missouri Long-Term Care Facilities
- Pennsylvania | Personal Care Homes Directory
- Vermont | Assisted Living Facilities | Residential Care Homes | Standard Survey Results – Assisted Living | Standard Survey Results – Residential Care
- Ohio | Ohio Department of Health, Division of Quality Assurance | Publications
- South Carolina | Licensed Facilities by Type | Health Regulation Sanctions – Administrative Orders, Consent Orders and Sanction Letters
- West Virginia | Health Care Facility Lookup Lists
- Idaho | Residential Care or Assisted Living Consumers’ Page
- Illinois | Assisted Living/Shared Housing Licensed Establishments | IDPH Shelter Care Facilities | Supportive Living Program Operational Facility Sites and Approved Applications by County
- Tennessee | History Search
- Wyoming | Wyoming Healthcare Facility Directory | Facility Search Form
- Iowa | Health Facilities Division
- Maryland | Services Search | Office of Health Care Quality: Licensee Directory
- Wisconsin | Assisted Living Directories and Facility Profiles | Division of Quality Assurance Provider Search
- Montana | Regulated Facilities
- Massachusetts | The Official Website of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs | Nursing Home Search Page
- Rhode Island | Rhode Island Department of Health Online Verification and Complaint Submission Site
- North Dakota | North Dakota Basic Care Facilities | Assisted Living Facilities
- Nebraska | License Information System Search | Facility Rosters
- New Jersey | Search Licensed Facilities and Services
- North Carolina | Facility Listings | Listing of Facilities with Penalties
- Mississippi | Health Facilities Licensure and Certification
- Utah | Health Facility Information | Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Report Card
- New Hampshire | Health Facilities Administration Publications | Housing Services
- South Dakota | Office of Health Facilities Licensure & Certification
- Alaska | ADHS: Search Form
- Arkansas | Arkansas Department of Public Health- Long Term Care Facility Search
- Kansas | Adult Care Provider Directory
- Hawaii | Office of Health Care Assurance: State Licensing Section
- Kentucky | Certified Assisted Living Communities in Kentucky | Office of Inspector General Directories | Nursing Home Survey Inspection Findings | Office of Inspector General Open Records Requests
- Louisiana | Adult Residential Care
A Case Study: Checking an Assisted Living Community
Each of these websites work a little bit differently, but generally they have search forms that allow you to verify a provider is licensed and see if there have been any concerning issues that you want to research further and verify have been resolved.
Say, for example, that you were interested in a small senior community in Lake City, Florida, called “Summers Assisted Living Facility” and you wanted to verify for yourself that it was appropriately licensed and that it hasn’t had any issues that concern you.
1. Visit the state of Florida search form. Choose “assisted living facility” as provider type and “Summers Assisted Living Facility” for the provider’s name. You can also enter information in other fields, such as city name, to narrow the search further. In this case there is just one community in Florida called “Summers Assisted Living Facility” so there is one result.
2. From the results page, click the name of the facility you are researching. You will then be taken to a page that allows you to see the specific license types that the community has, the number of residents it’s licensed to house, access to inspections reports and any legal actions against the community and a number of other records. You can click “inspections reports” to view particulars of every inspection report, but in this case, you can see that this year there was legal action by the state against Summers that resulted in a $1,000 fine. This should pique your interest. You can click the case number in orange to learn more about the scenario that led to the legal action.
3. After clicking the case number, you’re taken to a page that lists all historic legal actions against the community. In this instance there is just one legal action, so click “select” to be taken to detailed documentation about the fine, including all the specifics of the matter. In this case, after looking over the documentation, you can see the community was fined because one of the staff members had not yet undergone a background check when the community was inspected.
As you do this research, it’s ideal to read the nature of the violation or fine should you find one. A violation can be logged for issues as minor as cobwebs in a utility closet, so make sure to focus your attention and concern first on issues that might immediately jeopardize resident safety or that may seem to be indicative of a problematic pattern.
We Can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.