State assisted living regulations are designed to protect the rights of the elderly while giving consumers as many options as possible when selecting living arrangements later in life.
At this time, assisted living is not regulated by the federal government. There have been lobby groups pushing for oversight by federal authorities, but so far those attempts have failed. This leaves each state to set regulations for their own communities.
That is why you may see differences in regulations from one state to another. If you live near a state line, the difference in regulations may help you decide which side of that line you look for assisted living. The regulations typically give assisted living service providers great freedom to create many different types of senior living communities without violating the rights of the elderly who take advantage of their services.
Most states impose a list of services that must be provided through all assisted living communities or facilities. Service providers are free to offer additional services in order to meet the needs of the consumers they serve, but they must offer those basic services in order to comply with state regulation.
If you or someone you love lives in an assisted community, you must find a copy of the services required for your state in order to ensure that minimal standard of care is met consistently within that community. Make sure you also check for services that are not permitted within your state. In some states, there may also be a list of services that are optional for assisted living facilities within the state.
What happens within an assisted living facility when a resident or their family member has a complaint? How are questions handled within a community? Many state regulations require service providers to have a clearly identified system for handling grievances, and some assisted living regulations require service providers to reveal this procedure to residents when they enter a community.
Can a facility legally refuse to accept you into their community if you want to pay with Medicare? Are there limitations on what a facility can charge you for services? Some states do have regulations that dictate various elements of payment from consumers to assisted living service providers. Some communities only want to accept private payment because they can make more money than they would make assisting Medicare patients. If you are concerned with this issue, check your state’s payment-related regulations.
Some states have implemented programs that give some assisted living communities preferred status over others. The programs that qualify for some sort of advanced recommendation or certification are vigorously studied and monitored in order to ensure benchmarks are met and all state assisted living regulations are upheld if not surpassed at all times. Some states may require other qualifications in order to make it into these programs as well.
It is common for states to set some licensing system in place in order to monitor assisted living facilities, but you may find unlicensed facilities in your state that are legal. You should always check into these regulations for your state before you sign up for services just to be certain that you select a facility that is licensed if that is required.