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Consumer Guide: Understanding Assisted Living Facility Profiles

At the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), your health, safety, and welfare are our top priorities. The Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) ensures that services in assisted living facilities follow the rules and requirements outlined in state and federal law. The details below will help you when you’re searching for Residential Care Options by County.

Assisted living facility profiles

Assisted living facility profiles tell you if a provider has complied with state and federal laws. Profiles are given for the four types of assisted living providers regulated by DQA.

Details on facility size, client group(s) served, owner and/or licensee information, and more, can be found on the statewide directory. The directory includes each of these assisted living provider types:

DHS provides these assisted living facility profiles as a public service. We don’t endorse any facility. We can’t guarantee the details are accurate, up to date, or complete.

Don’t use this information as your only source when choosing a facility. We aren’t responsible for any errors in or omissions in the compliance history.

Surveys of assisted living facilities

DQA surveys assisted living facilities every two years. The surveyor reviews compliance with administrative codes, standards, and state statutes that apply to that facility. DQA also responds to complaints it receives against providers. See the Assisted Living Survey Guide to learn more about the survey process.

Residential care apartment complexes

RCACs may be certified or registered. Certified RCACs may accept residents that receive public funding. Registered RCACs only serve private pay residents.

DQA investigates complaints about registered RCACs. They don’t offer further oversight. Registered RCACs only appear in a facility profile under the complaint section, if applicable.

Facility profiles

Dates at the top of each profile give the time period for survey activity. For surveys outside this time period, contact the DQA regional office for the county where the facility is located.

Profiles are available only for currently licensed, open facilities. Licenses for assisted living facilities aren’t transferable. That means records for facilities that change ownership are closed. A new record opens under the new owner or licensee.

To get information on a closed facility, contact the DQA regional office for the county where the facility is located.

The profile is an overview

The assisted living facility profile provides an overview of results from the DQA inspection.

When comparing quality of care and safety of facilities, keep in mind that the profile doesn’t show factors like facility size. It also doesn’t consider how complex the health care needs are for those residents. Therefore, the profile doesn’t offer a complete picture.

The profile simply offers a snapshot in time. It measures whether the facility met the minimum standard for a particular set of requirements at the time of that inspection.

When comparing one facility’s profile results to another, compare similar facilities. That would include places that are similar in size and provide services to the same client group(s).

This information provided by DHS doesn’t serve as an endorsement or advertisement for or against any facility.

In addition to reviewing the assisted living facility profiles, you should visit facilities in person. Talk with the providers. Choosing an Assisted Living Facility, P-60579 includes a checklist you may find helpful.

Terms used in facility profiles

To help you understand terms used in facility profiles, we offer this glossary. Terms are divided into four categories to match the order they appear on the profile.

Identifies the name and address of the facility.

License status: regular or probationary. DQA issues all assisted living facilities a regular license, certificate, or registration, except CBRFs. CBRFs are issued a probationary license for the first year of operation.

Licensed, certified, or registered: The date indicates when the facility received its initial license, certification, or registration. Adult family homes and CBRFs are licensed. Adult day care centers are certified. RCACs may be certified or registered.

DQA surveys assisted living facilities about every two years. The survey ensures compliance with Wisconsin administrative codes, statutes, and standards.

Other reviews may take place for complaint investigations, verification visits, or follow up on facility self-reports.

The survey history section of the profile shows all surveys during the reporting period shown at the top of the report.

End date: Date inspection was completed.

Type: Type of survey may be initial, abbreviated, standard, or other.

  • Initial—Inspection done before issuing a facility’s first license or certification.
  • Abbreviated—At DQA’s discretion, the abbreviated survey process is used for facilities with a compliance history that meets these criteria:
    • No enforcement activity within the last three years.
    • Must have received a standard survey since initial licensure or certification.
    • No substantiated complaints resulting in deficiencies within the last three years.
    • Facility has been licensed or certified for at least three years.
  • Standard—A standard survey process is used for facilities that don’t meet the criteria for an abbreviated or initial survey.
  • Other—Complaint, self-report, or verification visit.

Purpose: The reason an inspection occurred. These are the possible reasons: a two-year survey, complaint investigation, self-report investigation, a verification visit, or any combination of these.

Results: Action taken by DQA in response to the inspection. The possible results are:

  • Issuance of a license or certificate
  • No statement of deficiency
  • Statement of deficiency
  • Enforcement

Statement of deficiency: Used to identify incidents of noncompliance that:

  • Result in more than minimal harm, but not serious harm
  • Have potential for more than minimal harm, but not serious harm
  • Indicate a breakdown in facility systems

On October 1, 2020, the Bureau of Assisted Living began a new policy. The policy no longer regularly requires the provider to submit a traditional plan of correction for violations.

Served: Date licensee receives the statement of deficiency.

Deficiencies cited: Refers to the Wisconsin administrative code, statute, or standard for the incident of noncompliance.

Subject area: Description title of the referenced Wisconsin administrative code, statute, or standard. Compliance verified: Date DQA verifies correction of the noncompliance. If blank, then the noncompliance hasn’t been verified.

Compliance verified: Date DQA verifies correction of the noncompliance. If blank, then the noncompliance hasn’t been verified.

Corrected: This item lists one of these responses:

  • Yes—A verification visit was conducted, and the deficiency was corrected.
  • No—A verification visit was conducted, but the deficiency was found to be uncorrected.
  • N/A—For isolated incidents of noncompliance, DHS may not conduct a verification visit. This includes incidents that result in no harm, or have potential for no more than minimal harm, or don’t indicate a breakdown in facility systems.
  • Variance—The facility requested and was issued a variance. This allows the facility a different way to meet the requirement.
  • Waiver—The facility requested and was issued a waiver making it exempt from the requirement.
  • (Blank/Empty)—DQA hasn’t completed a verification visit to determine compliance.

This part of the facility profile shows an occurrence from the survey history section that resulted in DQA issuing a sanction against the facility. Deficiencies resulting in enforcement action include those that:

  • Result in serious harm, have a potential for serious harm, or indicate a breakdown in facility systems that could lead to serious harm.
  • Create a condition or occurrence that presents a substantial probability that death or serious mental or physical harm to a resident will (or did) result.
  • Create a condition or occurrence that presents a direct threat to the health, safety, or welfare of a resident.
  • Are repeated, uncorrected, or target violations. One example of a target violation is a staff training requirement that results in enforcement action.

SOD #: Number on the statement of deficiency (SOD) that corresponds to the SOD # under survey history

Appeal: Assisted living facilities have a right to dispute inspection findings. They can appeal to the Division of Hearing and Appeals. Appeals may be resolved with stipulated settlement agreements, or they may go to hearing before an administrative law judge.

Decision: Results of the appeal process could be:

  • Pending—DHS action has been appealed and is awaiting resolution
  • Withdrawn—Petitioner withdraws appeal request prior to hearing
  • Upheld—Hearing decision rules in favor of department
  • Reversed—Hearing decision rules in favor of petitioner
  • Split-decision—Ruling in favor of a portion of the department’s action and a portion of the petitioner’s appeal

Stipulation: A stipulated settlement agreement between DHS and the petitioner. It resolves original survey findings and enforcement actions without a formal hearing. Examples include a reduced forfeiture, amended language on the SOD, or a withdrawn citation.

Sanction: Under state law (Wis. Stat. ch. 50 and applicable Wisconsin administrative code), DQA has the authority to impose these penalties:

  • Forfeiture
  • No new admissions
  • Revocation
  • Orders to comply with corrective action specified by the DQA
  • Order to obtain training
  • Order to stop violating a provision of licensure

The complaint history section includes all complaints that had a completed investigation during the time period identified at the top of the report. Pending complaints don’t appear on this report.

Date complaint received: Date DHS received the letter, telephone call, or email from a complainant

Date investigation completed: Date all aspects of the complaint investigation were concluded

Subject area: Identifies area(s) of concern reported by the complainant


  • Substantiated—A deficient practice was identified related to the complaint, and a statement of deficiency was issued.
  • Unsubstantiated—No deficient practice was identified related to the complaint.

SOD #: An SOD is issued if the subject area of a complaint is substantiated. See the survey history and enforcement history sections above for more details about the SOD.

Last revised August 11, 2022