Opening an Adult Day Care Center

The Department of Health Services (DHS) has within its administration the Division of Quality Assurance (DQA), which is responsible for regulating facilities that serve the frail elderly, persons with developmental disabilities, mental health, physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, and persons with substance abuse problems. DQA is responsible for administering Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 105.14, which governs certification of adult day care centers.

"Adult Day Care Center" means an entity that provides services for part of a day in a group setting to adults who need an enriched health, supportive or social experience, and who may need assistance with activities of daily living, supervision, or protection. Program services may include personal care, supervision, provision of meals, health monitoring, medication administration, behavior management, transportation, and activities designed to meet physical, social, and leisure time needs.

Adult day care center certification is voluntary unless you plan to serve one or more participants who receive Medicaid waiver funding from a county. DQA does not refer participants for enrollment in adult day care center nor does DQA provide funding to adult day care centers to care for participants. Participants may be eligible to receive waiver funding through county departments of health or human services or Family Care managed care organization.

Adult day care center programs may be provided in family homes, free standing centers, and multi-use facilities, such as churches, schools and senior centers. Adult day care centers must meet any federal, state and local laws/codes that govern the operation of the program.

Licensing/Certification Terminology

Attestation Prior to Initial Certification Survey: The Bureau of Health Services (BHS) will require every applicant to complete an applicant compliance statement prior to scheduling an initial certification survey.

Fit and Qualified Application: Applicants will submit a completed fit and qualified application with the application.

Inactive Application: Applications not completed within six months of submission will be closed out.

Incomplete Application: If the application does not include the required documents, the application packet will be returned to the applicant without further processing. BHS will include a checklist identifying the missing item(s). The applicant may choose to resubmit the application with the required documentation. After a second unsuccessful submission, no further applications will be accepted from this applicant for the specified location for a period of one year.

Two Revisions: An application is not considered complete until all required documentation that meets regulations have been submitted. If the required documents do not meet the licensing and/or certification regulations, BHS will only send two revision letters per application. After a second unsuccessful revision, no further applications will be accepted from this applicant for the specified location for a period of one year.

Prior to Applying for Certification

Review the following:

Review Wisconsin Admin. Code § DHS 105.14.

Certification Application

When DQA determines the application is complete, an initial certification survey will be scheduled. DQA has 70 days to approve or deny a license. This 70 days for processing begins after a complete application packet is received and DQA completes the initial certification survey.

The following certification information must be submitted:

To be eligible to receive Medicaid waiver funding, ADCCs must demonstrate compliance with The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) settings rule. Review the HCBS Settings Rule: Compliance for Nonresidential Services Providers for more information.

Applications not completed within six months of submission will be closed without further processing.

If the application does not include the required documents, the application packet will be returned to the applicant without further processing. Bureau of Health Services (BHS) will include a checklist identifying what item(s) are missing. The applicant may choose to resubmit the application with the required documentation. After a second unsuccessful submission, no further applications will be accepted from this applicant for a period of one year from the date the application was received.

Once the application is deemed complete, the licensing section will send an Adult Day Care Center (ADCC) – Applicant Compliance Statement, F-02106 (Word) to the applicant. When the applicant is ready for an initial certification survey, the applicant will return the completed compliance statement to licensing and a surveyor will be assigned.

The surveyor will review the items listed on the Adult Day Care Center (ADCC) Initial Survey Checklist, F-02634 (Word) during the initial certification survey and tour of the facility.

Certification Fee

A certification fee of $127 is charged every two years. The fee is submitted with the application and made payable to "DQA."

"Initial application fees and/or license/certification continuation fees are NON - REFUNDABLE."

Return the application, other materials and fee to:

Division of Quality Assurance
Bureau of Health Services Licensing and Certification
1 W. Wilson St, Room 450
Madison, WI 53703-3445

Address any questions to the Licensing Associates at DHSDQALCCS@dhs.wisconsin.gov or 608-266-7297.

Additional Information

Additional information is available on the DHS Adult Day Care Center webpage.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC): Starting a Business in Wisconsin

Contact Us

Questions about the licensing process may be directed to the Bureau of Health Services Licensing and Certification at DHSDQALCCS@dhs.wisconsin.gov or 608-266-7297.

Last Revised: July 7, 2022