Stagnant Growth in California’s Assisted Living Industry

The Department of Social Services released statistics on the number of RCFEs currently licensed in California as of July 1, 2019—7,253. However, on July 1, 2018, California had 7,252 RCFEs meaning there was an increase of only ONE RCFE in the past year, and the number of residents residing in RCFEs dropped from 185,000 from just 10 years ago to its current level of 155,700 residents.

            Does that sound right?

It does to me. There are as many facilities opening as there are closing for many reasons. The business environment of California ranks among the worst in the nation—48th in fact—because of its demand to pay escalating minimum wages; worker’s compensation costs are creeping up because of those minimum wage increases; unchecked and escalating RCFE liability insurance costs; higher payroll and personal income taxes; punitive laws and regulations overlaid upon the industry by the Legislature; shortages of qualified staff; demand for health professionals as staff; paid sick days; demands to provide employee health insurance; a senior population leaving the state; rising costs of care; etc.

I continue to write applications for new licenses, but most are “take overs” of existing facilities. Good facilities charging appropriate fees will survive, but many will go under because of never being in position to charge competitive rates. There are many licensees who run facilities just for the money and are illegally underpaying staff, cutting care corners, working outside the facility and are rarely present to manage the facility.

So, the future? Your future?