How Assisted Living Facilities Are Regulated and Graded

Posted on Posted in General

How Assisted Living Facilities Are Regulated and Graded

Due in part to its great year-round climate and its moderate cost of living, the state of Arizona has long been a popular place for older adults to live after retirement. This popularity has only increased as our nation’s population has grown older, with a proportionate rise in the number of assisted living facilities to accompany it.

In fact, there are now so many assisted living communities in the state of Arizona that it’s become difficult to discern between them and decide which one is right for you or an older loved one. Anyone who’s facing such a wide array of choices needs reliable information and proper guidance to make the best decision.

The purpose of this post is to provide an important piece of just this information. In it, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the regulation and grading of assisted living facilities in Arizona. After reading it, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to interpret these important assessments and locate the best assisted living facilities for you or your senior loved one.

These are the topics we’ll cover in the following sections:

  • Who oversees certifying assisted living facilities
  • How assisted living facilities are ‘graded’
  • Why American Orchards is the ideal choice of Assisted Living in Arizona

Who Oversees Certifying Assisted Living Facilities in Arizona?


The task of certifying assisted living facilities falls to the Arizona Department of Health Services. More specifically, the Division of Licensing Services, Office of Assisted Living Licensing is in charge of monitoring these facilities.

In addition to an initial licensing survey that’s done before the facility can open, assisted living facilities are inspected at least once a year. However, a facility may be inspected more often to check for continued compliance or to investigate any complaints. Although the initial inspection is scheduled in advance, all other visits are unannounced.

How Are Assisted Living Facilities ‘Graded?’


Before we have a look at the criteria that are used to ‘grade’ assisted living facilities, it’s important to note that Arizona is the ideal state for researching these communities. The reason for this is a comprehensive search tool that the public can use to locate assisted living by facilities by zip code area and read the assisted living ratings that are associated with each of them.

Although the term ‘grading’ is a bit misleading when applied to assisted living facilities, the inspections proceed as follows. Unlike nursing homes, which receive a specific score through Medicare, assisted living facilities are evaluated based on the number of ‘deficiencies’ the inspectors find.

We’ll discuss the nature of these deficiencies in a moment, but it’s important to understand up front that the Arizona Department of Health Services website does not rate assisted living facilities as Medicare does with nursing homes. Instead, it posts the results of their inspections and gives detailed explanations of any deficiencies they discover. To view these results, please visit here and click on ‘AZ Care Check.’

In the next section, we’ll discuss the criteria that inspectors use when evaluating assisted living facilities.

Assisted Living Regulations

The laws and regulations that govern assisted living facilities are all listed in Section R9-10 of the State of Arizona Administrative Code. The inspections are carried out to protect residents by ensuring that assisted living facilities are following all applicable regulations.

These inspections cover a wide range of safety and quality-of-care aspects of the facility and include the following:

  • An examination of facility fees. This includes the amount of notice that must be given before a fee increase.
  • Staff requirements. These regulations are in place to ensure staff has proper licensing and levels of experience.
  • Record keeping requirements.
  • Medical care requirements.
  • Quality of food service.
  • Social and recreational activities.

As we noted earlier, assisted living facilities do not receive ‘scores’ in the same way as nursing homes do. As the inspectors evaluate the facility according to the above criteria (among others), they make detailed logs of their findings. These logs include any deficiencies in the care or conditions that they observe in the facility. It’s important to note that if a facility proves to have too many deficiencies, their license can be suspended or revoked.

American Orchards and the ‘Gold Standard’ of Assisted Living Facilities


At one time or another, even the best assisted living facilities can be cited for the occasional deficiency. In fact, it is not uncommon for a well-run facility to have some minor deficiencies and continue to operate. Fortunately, most of these deficiencies are relatively small and easy to remedy.

It is the truly excellent facility that identifies and permanently corrects these deficiencies as they arise. Fortunately for assisted living residents in Arizona, American Orchards is one of these excellent facilities. In fact, American Orchards recently received the highest rating possible — a deficiency free survey in both its’ assisted living and memory care buildings. This means that we met or exceeded each one of the demanding standards required during our inspections.

It also means that you or an older loved one will be in good hands at American Orchards. The ‘deficiency free survey’ is the absolute gold standard of assisted living facilities and we are deeply proud of achieving it. It is a public symbol of our dedication, pride, and compassion.



It goes without saying that your senior loved ones deserve the absolute best care possible. This holds true no matter what level of care they need or the type of community in which it’s delivered. For a variety of good reasons, Arizona has become an increasingly popular destination for older adults after retirement.

Fortunately, the state government of Arizona has done an excellent job of ensuring that older adults are treated with dignity, care, and compassion in its assisted living facilities. Interested parties can review the results of assisted living inspections at any time. As a company that truly cares about both its clients and its community, we encourage you to do as much research as you need to feel comfortable with your choice of assisted living facilities.

At American Orchards, we’re convinced that you’ll be impressed with everything you see and read about us. For more information about what we can offer to you and your family, please contact us by phone email right away. We’ll answer any questions or concerns you might have and we very much look forward to hearing from you.