How to Start an Assisted Living Facility in Texas

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Starting an assisted living facility is currently a great business opportunity, as the need for health services for retiring seniors is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years. According to Steven Jones, a physician specializing in geriatric medicine, "Boomers" will number 70 million by 2030, making them the oldest and largest generation of seniors in history. Assisted living facilities offer less medical care than nursing homes, and provide social opportunities, which are important to maintain as one ages for mental and emotional health. In Texas, these facilities regulated by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and State Attorney General.

Buy, rent or lease a home or facility that is sufficient to house four or more people. The location should be big enough to store food and medication for every occupant, and have plenty of space for your staff to work.

Update the facility so it meets safety requirements. Check with the local fire department's building codes and zoning regulations. Comply with them and get the facility approved by the appropriate departments.

Contact the local Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and Texas attorney general’s office. Get your facility inspected. After the building meets safety requirements, DADS will provide a provisional license that allows for no more than three patients to occupy the assisted living facility before inspection. DADS expects to observe a resident who is under your care for an on-site health inspection. When the inspection takes place, the facility must meet the standards for accreditation based on an on-site accreditation survey.

Complete the pre-licensure training course from DADS. It is available online and just takes around 1-2 hours to complete. The main aim of this course is to prepare you for licensure before applying.

Request an application from DADS to start an assisted living facility either online or requesting one by mail by writing to: Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, P.O. Box 149030, Austin, TX 78714-9030.

Include the written approval from fire department and accreditation commission with your application. Include the certificate of completion of the pre-licensure training course with your signature on it. Complete the application form.

Have all documents notarized and submit them to DADS along with the license fee. If you miss a document, this will delay your license issuance further. An incomplete application is denied if it you don’t submit the necessary documents after 120 days. The license fee is $200 plus $10 for each bed for which a license is sought, with a maximum of $1500 (as of September 2010). The whole licensing process will take you about three months.

Obtain the license to start the facility from DADS. You can receive the license within 30 days of submitting a complete application. The licenses last two years and you must renew them before the expiration date.

Express your readiness for the Life Safety Code Inspection through a written notice to DADS. This must be submitted within 120 days after the submission of the application.

Start your facility. Market your services around your location and contact people in person to inform them of your services. Start a simple website describing your services, prices, facilities and contact information.

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About the Author

Alexander Cequea has been writing since 2008. He is an activist, speaker and film producer whose work has been featured in "Enlightennext Magazine" and the Environmental News Network. Cequea is currently producing a documentary about sustainability and consciousness. He has a Master of Business Administration in sustainable business from Maharashi University.

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