This study assesses the administrative data compiled on residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) by the state of California and considers the feasibility of their adaptation into a comprehensive information system. Required state RCFE reporting forms were reviewed for potential data elements. Recording and reporting variation was evaluated using a stratified probability sample of 340 facilities licensed in Northern and Central California. Stratification was by facility size and state district office. Data collection included a 5-year retrospective review of forms and documents in each facility's public file. Little of the information required from RCFEs is computerized. Most of it is maintained at the individual facility and not included in public files. Basic information, while included in the public file, is commonly either not available or not current. Resident characteristics and outcomes are not compiled, except indirectly in citations. The information required from RCFEs, if appropriately compiled and maintained, would produce a comprehensive quality assurance system and more effectively support consumer information and policy needs.