Assisted Living Regulations by State

Author: Arthur Bretschneider

| Published on: January,09 | Viewed: 3899 times


Assisted living is heavily regulated on the state level - every state has a licensing agency that is responsible for supervising and inspecting assisted living facilities Learn about the differences in how assisted living regulations by state vary and find regulatory agencies for every state.

Assisted Living Regulations by State

Every assisted living community is regulated on the state level by a state licensing agency. Knowing the differences of assisted living regulations by state is important for all residents.

Assisted Living Regulations & Rules You Should Know

Assisted living is heavily regulated on a state level. Every state has a licensing agency that is responsible for licensing, supervising, and inspecting assisted living facilities. Understanding assisted living regulations by state can be helpful in determining the right care and researching residential care options before making a decision.

When selecting the right nursing home or assisted living community for your loved one, this is typically done by level of care, price and other facility amenities. However, do you know if there have been any complaints or licensing issues with the facility? To find an inspection report or any complaints, you’ll need to look at the state level for the specific district licensing agency.

How is Assisted Living Regulated?

Typically, states require most agencies to do periodic evaluations (at least once every five years) to make sure that the facilities meet the requirements set in place to ensure the safety of the residents. Each local district licensing office has a file on every residential care facility in its district.

As a consumer, you have the right to view the public file upon request. Items you should expect to see in the public file include:

  • The most recent inspection report

  • Any complaints a facility has received within the last two to three years

  • The facility’s Plan of Operation

  • The waiver application and/or approval for hospice care (state by state)

  • Any Advisory Notes regarding the facility.

Complaints may be filed by anyone – a resident, a resident’s family member or friend, or by a staff member. When reviewing a public file, be particularly aware of any complaints that allege abuse of patients or those that suggest any violations of resident rights. Check to see if there is a pattern of any one of more similar complaint.

How to Compare Nursing Homes

If you’re interested in a “web based report card” of nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched their Nursing Home Compare in 2008 that provides a star rating for nursing homes across the country. This report card is rated on a five-star level that assesses the quality of care and facility for any CMS-certified nursing home.

The CMS and Medicare provides contact information for each facility as well as a star-rating for the following criteria:

  • Overall rating of facility

  • Recent health inspections

  • Staffing hours for medical staff

  • Quality measures and level of care

While this doesn’t provide specific complaints and inspection reports (that can be found on the state level), the Nursing Home Compare provides a quick look and comparison of residential nursing homes across the country.

Assisted Living Regulatory Agencies By State

Knowing your rights and assisted living regulations by state throughout the United States is important for any current or prospective assisted living residents. Finding reports for every assisted living facility or community can be helpful in finding the right care and fit for your loved one.

Below is a map of the U.S. that shows each state and links to the regulatory agency for that state.

These regulatory agencies can help answer questions about licensing and rules for residential care and nursing homes within that state.

AL Alabama LA Louisiana OR Oregon
AZ Arizona ME Maine PA Pennsylvania
AR Arkansas MD Maryland RI Rhode Island
CA California MA Massachusetts SC South Carolina
CO Colorado MI Michigan SD South Dakota
CT Connecticut MN Minnesota TN Tennessee
DE Deleware MS Mississippi TX Texas
DC District of Columbia MO Missouri UT Utah
FL Florida MT Montana VT Vermont
GA Georgia NE Nebraska VA Virginia
HI Hawaii NH New Hampshire WA Washington
ID Idaho NJ New Jersey WV West Virginia
IL Illinois NM New Mexico WI Wisconsin
IN Indiana NY New York WY Wyoming
IA Iowa NC North Carolina  
KS Kansas NC North Dakota  
KY Kentucky OH Ohio  

Interested in Assisted Living Options?

If you need help finding long term care and assisted living options, we’re happy to help online or on the phone. Email us at or call us at (855) 866-4515 today.

If you want to browse senior living options in your area, enter your zip code below to find options in your area.  


About Arthur Bretschneider

Seniorly is a marketplace that empowers families to find senior living communities and connects them with local senior living referral agents. We also have hundreds of resources to help our families Age Well!

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