Our State Guide to Assisted Living Records & Reports is the first thorough evaluation of the openness and accessibility of assisted living records across the U.S. Our guide examines how to find assisted living records in each state. It also reports on and evaluates the amount of relevant information about assisted living communities published online, and the ease of access to it.
One challenge for families who are searching for assisted living is that it’s not always easy to find information about the licensing and background of communities that they are exploring. Information about the performance and backgrounds of nursing homes is available on Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website, but there is no single online clearinghouse for assisted living records. 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.
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The amount of information available on each state assisted living licensing and records website varies widely. The most exceptional states have websites that allow the public to not only identify licensed communities and information about them (such as their capacity and license type), but also to read records regarding their backgrounds.
Florida’s state website is a great example, and Florida was honored in our guide as being among the states that provide consumers with the most information about assisted living backgrounds. Florida’s Deputy Secretary for Health Quality Assurance, Molly McKinstry told us, “We appreciate the recognition from A Place for Mom for Florida’s commitment to developing new and innovative ways to make health care information more accessible to consumers. Florida has worked diligently, through FloridaHealthFinder.gov, to expand timely consumer information that enables families to make informed choices for care.” She went on to add, “A Place for Mom’s website will help raise awareness of the resources available to consumers considering assisted living facility options.”
On the other hand, some states provide only a list of assisted living communities and require that families request assisted living records directly. In the most extreme cases, the public may actually have to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in order to get these records.
Public records about assisted living communities can be helpful to families during their search. The full text of inspections reports, substantiated complaints and any regulatory violations can help families appraise historic the performance of care providers and judge whether they are an appropriate match for elderly loved ones. The country is full of wonderful assisted living communities, but consumers benefit from being able to know about providers with dubious backgrounds.
A Place for Mom is deeply familiar with each state’s level of transparency into assisted living records as we are continuously researching the backgrounds of providers. Our Regulatory Licensing Team conducts an ongoing review of the communities in our network (or which have applied to join our network) to confirm that they are appropriately licensed and that there haven’t been serious substantiated issues in the provider’s recent history. Because our research into assisted living backgrounds mirrors the research that families conduct, albeit on a larger scale, we feel uniquely qualified to evaluate the level of accessibility of assisted living records in each state.
We looked at all 50 states and the District of Columbia and assessed the accessibility of information to consumers on more than a dozen separate objective criteria. Criteria included factors such as:
A value was applied to each of the criteria and a scoring rubrics allowed us the fairly and objectively rank states against one another.
The results of our report are now available online. The centerpiece of the project is a color-coded interactive map. Individual reports for each state have details about the level and ease of information states make available, and tips for families who are seeking assisted living records in the state.
Some key findings of the report include:
While we rated states based on accessibility criteria, that was only a secondary goal. Our first goal is to make sure that you, the assisted living consumer, knows where to find records about providers your are exploring. So check out our guide and tell us what you think.
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