State Inspection Data FAQ

Making sense of deficiency counts, state inspection data and licensing information can be difficult, which is why created a helpful guide to explain how we obtained the inspection data that is used in our rating system and provide answers to common questions regarding inspections of senior living communities.


  • It is the general policy of to not remove state inspection data for any reason unless the data displayed for a particular community is somehow incorrect.

  • State inspection data is supplied by the state agency that oversees the licensing and inspections of senior living communities within that state.

  • When available, we post the state data for those communities that are subject to state licensing and oversight, i.e. are providing health services or assisted living services.

Common Questions
Consumer Questions
Senior Living Provider Questions

Common Questions

Q. What does the term ‘deficiency’ mean?

A. Any time the state agency visits a community for a routine inspection, relicensing or on a complaint investigation, a community may be cited for having a deficiency or deficiencies. A deficiency results when a community fails to follow a regulation and guidelines established by the state.


Q. What the term ‘record’ or ‘report’ mean?

A. A state record or report is the documentation of an on-site visit by the state agency that oversees the licensing of senior communities. These visits are to ensure that the community is abiding by the regulations and guidelines established by the state. A visit may be for relicensing the community, a routine inspection or to investigate a complaint.


Q. Where did you obtain this information?

A. The reports that result from routine inspections, relicensing or complaint investigations visits made by the state agency are public record in most states and may be requested by the public.


Q. How did you obtain this information?

A. Many states list the results of routine inspections, relicensing or complaint investigations online. For states where this data was not available online, we submitted a public records request to the state agency.


Q. What types of issues cause a community to be cited by the state during an inspection?

A. Deficiencies cited during an inspection can cover a wide area of topics. These can range from minor things such as one or two items missing from first aid supplies to major issues such as failing to obtain a criminal background check for an employee.


Q. Are deficiencies cited by the state during an inspection or investigation assigned a level of severity?

A. Somes states do provide a classification or severity level for each violation. These are often listed on the state inspection report next to the cited deficiency. For example, California classifies violations as Type A, Type B and Type C.


Q. Not all deficiencies are as severe as others. Do you make a distinction as to the severity of a deficiency?

A. The severity and frequency of deficiencies currently do not affect how we count them, but this is something we are aware of . When available, we provided the respective state’s description of the deficiency.


Q. If a community is cited by the state as having multiple deficiencies in one visit, does this mean there an equal amount of state infractions?

A. No. Whether the state cites the community for a single deficiency or multiple deficiencies, we count the resulting report as a single state infraction.


Consumer Common Questions

Q. How do I know if a community is licensed and subject to inspections?

A. For those communities that are licensed, has made an effort to include a license number on the community’s profile. In addition, most states provide an online directory that lists the licensed facilities and require communities to make available for review or post their license in a prominent location which is accessible for viewing by the public.

If you want to find out whether the inspection records are available online for a respective community, has compiled a state-by-state overview of how states oversee the licensing of assisted living communities and where inspection records may be accessed online. For those states whose inspection records are not online, we have provided a link to the website so you may contact the agency for a copy of the records.


Q. Are all senior communities licensed by the state?

A. No. Communities which do not offer supportive services to residents are generally not licensed and subject to state inspections. Communities which offer assisted living or memory care are (in most cases) required to be licensed by the state.


Q. Are there any communities that offer supportive services and are not licensed by the state?

A. Yes. If a community utilizes a third-party home health agency to provide care services, then in some states, the community isn’t required to be licensed by the state. Instead, the third-party providers are licensed.


Senior Living Provider Common Questions

Q. What if a complaint was filed against my community and after the visit, the state did not cite us for any deficiencies?

A. When possible, we try and display inspection data whether or not deficiencies were cited.


Q. Why are you listing state inspection data for some communities within a state but not others?

A. We have gathered state infraction data for a number of major metro markets but not all communities listed on our website are located within these areas.


Q. Why do some states appear to have higher/lower state deficiency counts than others?

A. Each state has its own policies for performing routine inspections, relicensing or complaint investigations of communities, so state inspection counts will vary depending upon the frequency of these visits.


Q. I would like to dispute the state inspection data listed on What can I do?

A. We are happy to look into the information we have listed for your community and verify them against the reports provided by the state. If we find that the counts we listed are incorrect, this will be amended promptly. If we find that the counts are accurate, they will remain listed on Please visit our Contact Us page if you would like to dispute any state inspection data.

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