Frequently Asked Questions:

This Frequently Asked Questions section provides answers to questions about the Choose Well program, assisted living care and terminology, and provider participation. The Choose Well Frequently Asked Questions will help you in your search for a facility. If you don't find the answers you are looking for, please Contact Us or give us a call at (619) 795-2165 during normal business hours.

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Questions about the site operation or content should be directed to the Choose Well Program Team via Contact Us, or by calling (858) 221-4862. We will respond within 24 hours, except on weekends and holidays, when we will respond the next working day following the weekend or holiday.

If you are disabled and need assistance with the website, you can contact the Choose Well Program Team using the Contact Us, or by calling (858) 221-4862.  We will respond within 24 hours, except on weekends and holidays, when we will respond the next working day following the weekend or holiday.

RCFE means "Residential Care Facility for the Elderly." It is the term California state laws use to refer to assisted living facilities. The terms 'RCFE' and 'assisted living' mean the same thing.  All RCFEs are licensed by the Department of Social Services (DSS), Community Care Licensing Division (CCL) and must comply with Title 22 regulations. RCFEs can be as small as 2 beds, or as big as 2,000 beds. 

Yes.  A 'Board and Care' facility is an RCFE.  Board and care is an out-dated term used to describe a small RCFE, located in a residential home, caring for 2 to 6 residents. An RCFE can be as small as 2 beds, and as large as 2,000:  each of them is a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE). 

No. Independent living means a place where a person lives independently, making independent choices about how they live, what they do, and when they do it. A person living independently can have services such as care, supervision, help with medications, food preparation, or help in handling money from a third-party provider. The independent living setting is usually a house where several people live together. They share common rooms, but they have private or shared bedrooms. Independent living facilities are not licensed. When independent living units are attached to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), they become part of the licensed RCFE.

Basic services provided by an RCFE include help with dressing, grooming, bathing, toileting, feeding and medications. In California, the assisted living facility cannot provide medical services. If a resident requires some types of medical services,  the resident will have to hire a skilled medical professional to provide those services in the RCFE. Third party services are not included in the monthly cost of the RCFE.

Yes, RCFEs are state licensed care facilities. To be licensed, a facility applies to Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division (DSS/CCL) for a license. After the facility is licensed, it has to comply with all legal requirements and the Title 22 regulations for owning and operating an assisted living facility.

Assisted living facilities are licensed by Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division (DSS/CCL).

To file a complaint about a facility call the HOTLINE of Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division (DSS/CCL):

  • 1-844-LET-US-NO
  • 1-844-538-8766

You don't need to give your name when making a complaint. Just clearly tell what happened, and who at the facility was involved.

If you want to give your name and contact information, the State is supposed to send you a copy of the findings of the State's complaint investigation.  If they don't send you a copy of the complaint investigation findings, you can call CCL and ask that it be sent to you. 


If you See Something, Say Something.

For elder abuse or neglect of a resident occurring inside a licensed RCFE, you should immediately call a) 9-1-1, b) report the situation to local law enforcement, and c) call the DSS/CCL Hotline at 1-800-LET-US-NO.

Title 22 regulations refer to regulations contained in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations.  These regulations implement the California Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly Act (Health and Safety Code section 1569 et seq.).  These are some of are the rules that RCFEs have to comply with when owning and operating an RCFE.  If a facility does not comply with a regulation, Community Care Licensing (CCL) can issue a citation to the facility. 

Health and Safety Codes (H&SC) are the California laws covering the subject areas of health and safety. It is in the Health & Safety Code where new statutes regarding residential care facilities for the elderly (aka assisted living) can be found. As of 1/15/2018, the Choose Well Scoring Device contains 14 H&SC specific to residential care facilities for the elderly.

A citation is the first level of enforcement used by Community Care Licensing (CCL) to encourage a facility to comply with Title 22 regulations or the relevant Health & Safety Codes.  A citation can be issued to a facility for its failure to comply with a Title 22 regulation or a relevant Health & Safety Code.  The facility is required to submit a plan of correction for the cited deficiency. 

A Civil Penalty is a monetary fine.  CCL issues fines to facilities for certain serious offenses which violate the regulations.  Serious offenses include causing a resident to get sick, to be injured, or to die.  There are other reasons that fines could be issued including not having criminal background checks done on employees before they work with residents.  Issuing a Civil Penalty to a facility is the tool the CCL uses to enforce the Title 22 regulations. 


A Non-Compliance Conference (NCC) is a mandatory meeting called by Community Care Licensing, and it is held between CCL and the RCFE.  If a facility has caused serious harm, or if a facility's compliance with Title 22 represents risks to residents health and safety, the state will call the meeting to discuss the provider's seriously harmful behavior.  The NCC sometimes leads to administrative action to place a facility on probation or to revoke the facility license. 

The Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP) is managed by California's Department of Health Care Services.  The program is designed to help Medi-Cal recipients stay in an assisted living facility instead of living in a skilled nursing facility; Medi-Cal funding pays for care delivered in the assisted living setting.

RCFEs must be enrolled in the program to receive payment from the government for the services they provide to the resident.  And residents must be enrolled in the program to received care from the ALWP provider.  

The ALWP pays for care delivered by the RCFE, but residents are responsible for paying for their room and board costs. Resident's receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can use their SSI money to help pay for room and board.  To find out more about eligibility, enrollment and a list of approved facilities in San Diego County,  click here.

To assist you in locating San Diego facilities participating in the ALWP,  Choose Well site provides participating ALWP facilities with the opportunity to provide this important information on their Facility Profile Page.

SSI is a benefit paid to qualifying blind and/or disabled adults, or individuals 65+ years and older.  Some RCFEs accept residents who only receive SSI benefits.  RCFEs accepting residents who receive SSI can't charge more than the SSI facility rate set by the state of California for out-of-home care. To learn more about current SSI rates, eligibility, additional provisions, or to locate a local office click here.

To help you find San Diego facilities accepting SSI residents, look for the SSI box on the Facility Profile Page of each Choose Well volunteer facility. 

The County's 11 Choose Well Quality Measures can be found here.

No.  The Choose Well site gives consumers like you the tools to locate and research a suitable facility.  The Choose Well Score is an indicator of quality, but placement is a personal decision based on many factors.  The needs and the care that person requires  are the most important considerations.  The Choose Well Scores and Facility Profile Pages give you information on the many features and amenities you'll need to evaluate when making a care placement decision. 

On this site you will find Check Lists from various organizations.  Be sure you know what specific services and care your loved one needs. Any of these check lists can help you ask the questions you need answers to; use the one that fits you best.  After you have the answers to your questions, you will be better able to make a decision.

Use the Choose Well website to get started.  Set up visits with the RCFEs  you like.  When you are visiting, be sure to use the check list as you walk through the facility. Don't be shy.  Ask your own questions so you completely understand how that facility would take care of your family member.

Once you make a placement decision, be sure to visit your loved one often to oversee the care and supervision they are receiving.

There are other websites that have information about assisted living facilities. 

Choose Well is a voluntary program for San Diego County assisted living facilities (also called Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, or RCFEs).  A facility's licensee may not want to volunteer for a variety of reasons.  If you want to know why the facility you are interested in has not volunteered for the Choose Well program, we invite you to ask the facility owner directly.   

What does "Last Inspection Date" mean?

The "Last Inspection Date" means the last date the state visited the facility, as reported by the state on the date the Choose Well quarterly directory refresh is performed.

How often is the directory and Facility Profile Pages updated?

The directory is updated quarterly.  The last update is shown in the last paragraph of the Facility Profile Description.

The Facility Profile Page can be updated as often as the facility provider wants to make changes in the information they are providing consumers. 

Each directory refresh captures facilities which are "Licensed" or "On Probation."  "Closed" and "Pending" facilities are not displayed.  If a "Pending" facility becomes licensed during the interim between refreshes, it will appear on the next refreshed directory listing.  

How often is the Choose Well Score Changed?

Beginning January 2018, Choose Well facilities will be evaluated for rescoring based on notification to the Choose Well Project Team that the state visited a facility. The Choose Well Project Team will access the state visit report (LIC809 or LIC9099) and will determine whether the Facility Score needs to be rescored:

Facility rescores will occur in two circumstances:

  • If Title 22 regulations or Health and Safety Codes were cited, or
  • If the facility received a finding of "Substantial Compliance."

Choose Well is happy to announce the rollout of its HELP LINE offering help completing your facility profile page, and offering technical assistance for password reset, uploading of the bonus documents, and answering any other questions you have about the Choose Well website, program or scoring tool.  

The Help Line number is available during business hours during the week.  If we happen to be out of the office for a few minutes, the Help Line will take a message; we'll get back to you as soon as we can. 


(858) 221-4862

Any licensed RCFE is eligible to participate in this voluntary County of San Diego program if it meets certain criteria:

  • You must be a licensed RCFE,
  • You must volunteer for the program,
  • You must sign the Choose Well Self-Certification acknowledging that you play by the rules, and comply with best business practices. 
  • Scan and Email your application back to, or FAX it to (858) 400-4499

If you are interested in having your facility rated using the Choose Well scoring tool, contact the Choose Well Program Team at  (858)-221-4862 or via email at Contact Us.  To learn more, navigate to the For Facilities tab. 

The County of San Diego has made this site FREE to facilities and consumers.

Choose Well Volunteers will benefit in the following ways:

  1. FREE - Attend Live CEU training sessions. Absolutely no cost to you.
  2. Receive a FREE listing on the Choose Well website, publicized by the County.
  3. Reach your target customers.
  4. Choose Well drives targeted traffic to your facility’s website.
  5. Receive Founding Member designation if you join by March 1, 2017.
  6. Describe your care to the community.
  7. Network with other facility licensees.  Join the Advisory Working Group.
  8. Upload awards, certifications and professional affiliations.
  9. Create your Facility Profile Page to stand out from the competition.
  10. Be seen as a trusted community partner.
  11. Advertise your participation in the County’s Choose Well program.

To have your facility rated using the Choose Well scoring tool, and obtain your personalized Facility Profile Page, follow these 4 Easy Steps:

  1. Contact the Choose Well staff at (858) 221-4862 or Contact Us
  2. Complete and submit the Self Certification attesting that you meet best business practices.
  3. Provide your compliance reports (LIC809s, LIC9099s, Civil Penalties, and NonCompliance Summaries) from date of licensing or 2010, whichever is latest.  Your facility will be rated using those documents.
  4. Once you see your score, and agree to have the score made public on the Choose Well website, then you will populate your Facility Profile Page.   


You can volunteer to be a part of the ongoing Choose Well Advisory Workgroup meetings.  Frequency, times and dates will be provided to you when you make your interest known to the Choose Well Program Team. Contact Us  to express your interest.

Once you have had your facility rated and decide you want that information to be made public, the Choose Well Program Team will give you a login to the Choose Well site, along with instructions on how to populate your Facility Profile Page.

If you disagree with your Choose Well Score, based on a factual error, you may appeal your rating using the Choose Well Grievance and Appeal Policy and Procedure

What is the History of Choose Well? 

Choose Well is an innovative project approved by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 2014, and spearheaded by Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox.  This program is the first of its kind in the United States, and its support by the County continues to demonstrate the County's long-term commitment to be an 'age-friendly community.  The purpose of Choose Well is to help families like yours locate assisted living providers offering Title 22-compliant services, and who follow responsible business practices.  The Choose Well Volunteers listed on this site are also demonstrating their commitment to the larger community, and by their participation, are helping to establish a new bar for the standard of care all San Diego families should expect for their loved ones.  The tools offered on this website will help families evaluate the care each Choose Well facility offers, so that you feel comfortable that when a placement is made, that it's going to be the right fit for your loved one.  The Choose Well facility search will help you locate facilities throughout the County, and using the Choose Well Side-by-Side comparison tool, you will be able to compare facility features at a glance. 

The Choose Well program is an initiative of the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency, Aging and Independence Services (AIS). The purpose of the program is to help San Diegans find assisted living facilities that provide good care. 

AIS means Aging & Independence Services, an program of the Health & Human Services Agency of the County of San Diego.  AIS provides services to older adults, people with disabilities and their family members, to help keep clients safely in their homes, promote healthy and vital living, and publicize positive contributions made by older adults and persons with disabilities.  For more information call 800-510-2020.  Outside San Diego County, call toll-free 800-339-4661.

Choose Well Score is the calculated score for a facility.  The Choose Well Score is based on the facility's compliance history with the state's Title 22 regulations or relevant Health & Safety Codes, plus any bonus points the facility has earned (maximum of 5) for uploading key documents (Price List, Infectious Disease Control Policy/Procedure, Falls Mitigation Program, License and Waivers, and Dementia Plan of Operation) which add to a consumer's understanding of the care and services offered by the facility. Additionally, a facility can also earn 2 extra points if they have received a finding of "Substantial Compliance" on their most recent state-required inspection.  The Choose Well Score maximum is 100.  

Health & Human Services Agency of the County of San Diego is one of five groups or divisions of San Diego County government. The Agency provides a broad range of health and social services to promote wellness, self-sufficiency, and a better quality of life for individuals and families in San Diego County. The Agency integrates health and social services through a unified service-delivery system that is family focused and community-based. Services are delivered in a cost-effective and outcome-driven fashion, and support Live Well San Diego, the County vision for healthy, safe and thriving communities.

'Newly Licensed".  This designation is for newly licensed facilities as they do  not have a compliance history to be rated.  A facility whose score is Not Rated will also have a Newly Licensed designation.  Once the facility receives its first visit from CCL, a rating can be calculated.

Participant.   This designation is assigned to a facility who has volunteered to participate in the Choose Well program, but whose Choose Well score falls below 70.  

Substantial Compliance: A finding of "Substantial Compliance" is an outcome of a state-required inspection (Annual, Annual Random, 3-year Required, 5-year Required). The state inspector gives the "Substantial Compliance" finding if the inspector determines that the facility is complying with the state regulations for operation of a residential care facility for the elderly. To qualify for a Substantial Compliance outcome, the facility cannot receive any citations during the required inspection.

Time Frame for Choose Well Score:  The Choose Well Score reflects citations a facility has received over the past 5 years, or from the date of first licensure.  .  This is consistent with CCL's website which is linked to each Facility Profile Page. The five-year designation is a 'rolling five years".  That means that for each year going forward, the earliest year of data will 'fall off".  Examples of the Rolling Five years is 2010 - 2015, 2011 - 2016.  2012  2017.  

Volunteer means a facility that has volunteered to participate in Choose Well.  Choose Well Volunteers have agreed to be rated, have received a Choose Well Score, and have signed the Choose Well Self-Certification. 

Are all facilities on this site Choose Well facilities? 

No, not all facilities found on this website are Choose Well volunteers.  The Directory of facilities found under the "Facility Search"  is downloaded from the state's website at  The list is refreshed quarterly.  Facilities who are participants in the Choose Well program are indicated by the Choose Well logo on the left of the facility name.  If a facility name does not have a Choose Well icon, then the facility has not volunteered to be a Choose Well voluntary partner.  The information downloaded from the state's website is public information.