Understanding the California RCFE License Process


Nursing homes and assisted living facilities in California must have a license to provide residential care for the elderly (RCFE). The California RCFE licensing program is managed by the state’s Senior Care Licensing Program at the Department of Community Care Licensing. Most facilities are licensed within 90 to 120 days of beginning the application’s process, which is the agency’s target time-frame. If you’re seeking an RCFE in the state, here’s what you need to know about the process.

Application Submission

Facilities must submit their completed application along with the required fee, which varies depending on the planned capacity of the nursing home and other factors. Other portions of the application include:

  • Criminal background check for the applicant and other facility managers
  • Identification of the local fire authority so a clearance certificate can be sought by the agency
  • Verification of sufficient initial funds to start the facility
  • Credit review
  • Compliance review if you have owned or managed this type of facility before

Three-Part Component Process

Facilities seeking a new license must attend three application component sessions and receive certificates of completion. These sessions include:

  • Orientation for the specific type of senior care facility
  • One-on-one interview post-application with a reviewing analyst
  • Category-specific training post-acceptance and before the license is issued

Although the California RCFE process is extensive, you should plan for completion within four months. Hiring an attorney who is familiar with the associated laws can help expedite the process.

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