State regulatory agencies are ultimately responsible for everything that happens in an assisted living facility, as they’re the ones who oversee licensed facilities in their respective states. Assisted living facilities that are Medicare or Medicaid certified are regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency. These agencies ensure facilities are operating in accordance with state and federal laws by implementing rules, procedures, protocols, scheduled surveys and unannounced visits. 

How Can You Find Who Regulates Assisted Living in Your State?

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living maintain a resource that contains information on state-specific assisted living regulations and the name of each state licensing facility. The National Center for Assisted Living also publishes an annual report summarizing state requirements for assisted living facility licensing, along with regulatory updates from the preceding year. 

How Can You Report Problems at an Assisted Living Facility?

Seniors and their families can report problems at an assisted living facility in several ways. The first is to report the problems to the facility’s management team. If the facility doesn’t address the problem, the next step is to contact Adult Protective Services, a social service designed to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect or exploitation. Once a report is made, a caseworker investigates by contacting the victim and reporting any criminal activity to law enforcement. Complaints can also be filed with the state’s licensing agency regulating assisted living facilities.

Contacting a long-term care ombudsman is also an option. Ombudsmen are volunteer advocates who are trained to resolve problems in assisted living facilities and other senior care homes. Every state is required to have an ombudsmen program by federal law. All reports made to the ombudsmen are kept confidential. When making a complaint, include details such as:

  • What happened and to whom?
  • Where did the incident happen?
  • Where did the incident happen?
  • What was the outcome of the incident?
  • Who was responsible for the abuse or neglect?