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On 1 August, 2017, San  Diego County made it official:  Choose Well is now a recognized public program!  

Following the UT San Diego's 2014 "Deadly Neglect" series of articles exposing assisted living issues and conditions in San Diego County, the County Board of Supervisors, spearheaded by Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox, authorized a 3.5 year program to develop a rating system and to launch a website which would host Facility Profiles of assisted living facilities who had volunteered to have their state compliance history rated and made public on the website.   Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR) is the contractor for this important consumer tool.  

As of 8/1/2017, there were 117 recruited providers among the 600+ licensed assisted living facilities in San Diego County - or about 20% of the County's inventory.  80% of the recruited volunteer providers have licensed capacity of 6 beds or fewer.  Providers who volunteer to have their state compliance history rated (called a Choose Well score) must also agree to have the Choose Well score made public on the website.  The Choose Well Scoring Device is a complex algorithm using the state's Title 22 regulations which have been categorized into the County's 11 Quality Measures.  

Choose Well is distinctive among the many rating schemes for assisted living facilities offered by for-profit online placement and referral services: Choose Well's scores are based on factual data taken directly from the California's Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing's transparency site. Choose Well scores are not based on perceptions of luxury, on facility marketing literature, or payments for giving the facility high marks.  Just on the facts.  The methodology is transparent and available for all to read and understand.  

Choose Well is a unique and innovative program using technology and public records data to help connect families needing assisted living services with providers offering those services.  The program is free to all users: consumers and providers alike.  Licensed assisted living providers in San Diego County can volunteer for the program, and are subject only to their willingness to be transparent, and to the program's minimum eligibility requirements.  To learn more about the Choose Well program, visit  At that site, and using the Facility Search tab, you can search for any facility in San Diego County.  Search filters include capacity, zip code, city, and whether the facility is a Choose Well volunteer.  A unique feature of the program is that multiple facilities can be compared side-by-side, allowing the consumer to quickly assess candidate facilities.

As with all rating systems or scores, it's important for consumers to remember that a score or a rating is simply an indicator.  The indicator isn't a silver bullet for making the right placement, but instead offers consumers one element of objective information they can add to the mix of evaluation criteria.   Shopping for an assisted living placement isn't easy, but the County is hoping the Choose Well tool becomes a trusted source of objective information about assisted living services available in San Diego County. 

News / CARR in the news
The Front Page

Facility Finder

How To Use Our Statewide Facility Search

Enter values in the appropriate fields. You don't have to fill in all the fields' You can use any or all of the name, etc. For example, To find Mount Helix Manor Elder Care you could enter "Manor" in the Name field and "La Mesa" in the City field then click the "Find a Facility" button

Some names might use abbreviated words such as "Casa St. James" while others might spell out the word such as " Saint Mary Homecare" so you may try several spellings before you find your facility.

Please note: A maximum of 60 facilities can be viewed. If you have more than 60 found facilities, you may want to be more specific in your search.

Recent News Articles - see more -

News / CARR in the news
Data & Research

Following successful completion of a six month pilot program to develop a uniform rating system using public documents data for California assisted living facilities, CARR received a one-year follow-on contract to launch the program.  The San Diego County sponsored program is called "Choose Well", and will offer consumers direct contact with providers volunteering to participate.  Facilities who join the program will have their facility rated, using the Choose Well Scoring tool; they will receive a Facility Profile Page where the facility can promote the amenities, care, services, price range, and philosophy of care that make them a distinguished provider in the county.  

News / CARR in the news
Data & Research

"CARR is honored to be the County of San Diego's vendor entrusted with developing a fair rating system deserving the confidence of the public and providers." --Chris Murphy, CARR's Executive Director

SAN DIEGO, Calif., May 5, 2015 -- The County of San Diego, Aging & Independence Services awarded Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR) a fixed price contract for a pilot project to create a rating system for the County's assisted living facilities, and to develop a consumer-friendly website to display the ratings and facility information.  The pilot program is a six-month effort with a current contract value of $50,000.

News / RCFEs in the news

On 13 July, 2016, the San Diego Union Tribune' published three articles about care, staffing and death in Elmcroft La Mesa.  The articles were penned by Paul Sisson, staff writer on health care issues.  Elmcroft La Mesa is a licensed Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) licensed by California's Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing (CDSS/CCL).  The state has initiated administrative law procedures for revoking Elmcroft's license as a result of the deaths that Mr. Sisson discusses in his articles.  You will find links to these articles below.

Recent CARR Blogs - see more -

Watchdog & Advocacy
Data & Research

Our review of CCL licensing data found 40% of facilities receive their license more than 120 days following their first pre-licensing visit.  Facilities may contact their local state representatives explaining to them the financial hardship associated with a delay in licensure. Contact information for your local representative(s) is available in the following article.