State Residential Care and Assisted Living Policy: 2004. Lack of Information About Residential Care Facilities for Consumers

03/31/2005

The 2004 GAO report cited earlier found that consumers faced with choosing an assisted living facility often do not have key information they need in order to identify the one most likely to meet their individual needs. Such information includes staffing levels and qualifications, costs and potential cost increases, and the circumstances that could lead to involuntary discharge from the facility.

The report described initiatives in Florida and Texas that have made critical data to aid consumer selection more readily available. Florida created a Web site that provides information about facilities by geographic area and identifies those providing the services the consumers are seeking at a specified price range. Texas has mandated a standardized disclosure statement for assisted living facilities, giving consumers concise and consistent data that facilitates comparisons across providers regarding services, charges, and policies.

Many states help consumers compare assisted living facilities by publishing brochures, consumer guides, and by providing information on Web sites. The following list offer examples of Web sites that have been developed by states, provider associations, and consumer groups. Many other states have Web sites, which the reader can find by conducting standard searches.

  • State Web sites

    • Colorado--http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hf/broch/assist.htm. The state's Web site for its licensing agency--www.cdphe.state.co.us/hf/static/pcbhpp.htm--lists each facility with links to survey findings and complaints. The site has other consumer information such as a brochure for solving problems and a checklist for selecting facilities.
    • Florida--http://www.floridaaffordableassistedliving.org/
    • New Jersey--http://www.state.nj.us/health/ltc/alinnj
    • Oregon--http://www.dhs.state.or.us/seniors/publications/oregon_consumer_guide.pdf
    • Washington--http://www.aasa.dshs.wa.gov/Library/publications/htmlversions/CARE%20IN%20ADULT%20FAMILY%20HOME.htm
    • Wisconsin--http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/guide/find/asstliving.htm
  • National and State Association Web sites

    • Assisted Living Federation of America--http://www.alfa.org/public/articles/index.cfm?cat=6
    • American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging--http://www2.aahsa.org/
    • National Center for Assisted Living--http://www.ncal.org/consumer/consumer.htm
    • MassALFA--http://www.massalfa.org/docs/assist.htm
    • NorALFA--http://www.noralfa.org/tips.cfm
  • National Consumer Groups Web sites

    • Consumer Consortium for Assisted Living--http://www.ccal.org/
    • AARP--http://www.aarp.org/life/housingchoices/Articles/a2004-02-27-assistedlivingchecklist.html
    • National Cooperative Bank Development Corporation--http://www.ncbdc.org

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