Acts Gains Regional Scale, Memory Care Expertise with Integrace Affiliation

One of the nation’s largest not-for-profit senior living providers, Acts Retirement-Life Communities, will be extending its reach into a new region through an affiliation with another not-for-profit provider, Integrace.

The two organizations announced the planned affiliation on Monday. The affiliation is set to close on May 1, 2019.

Based in West Point, Pennsylvania, Acts operated 23 communities with about 8,400 units prior to this affiliation. It ranked as the third-largest not-for-profit senior living provider in the nation last year, according to an annual list compiled by industry association LeadingAge and specialty investment bank Ziegler. Acts communities are located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

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The company is now slated to take over management and operations of Integrace’s four communities, all in Maryland: Bayleigh Chase in Easton, Buckingham’s Choice in Adamstown; Fairhaven in Sykesville; and Copper Ridge in Sykesville. These communities all offer a continuum of care and together serve about 1,080 residents. Integrace is based in Sykesville.

Already, Acts operates one community in Maryland, Heron Point of Chestertown. The addition of the Integrace portfolio will make Maryland a fifth operating region for Acts, Jim Petty, the company’s senior vice president of business development, told Senior Housing News.

The company has labeled this the Chesapeake region and plans to establish a regional office to lead operations for these communities. That office will be in Integrace’s corporate headquarters in Sykesville, Petty said.

Some corporate restructuring will occur as a result of the transition, and as part of that process, Integrace President and CEO Jackie Harris is planning to step down.

“There is always a possibility of leadership stepping down as a result of an affiliation,” Harris told SHN. “Senior living has been my passion and commitment for over 35 years and it is my plan to continue to serve the nonprofit senior living industry.”

Once the affiliation is complete, Integrace will remain as a separate legal entity from Acts and will have its own board, but will be under the sponsorship of Acts.

With the change in control comes the opportunity to refinance Integrace’s debt and generate savings through operational synergies, Petty said. As the refinancing is executed, there are plans to create a project fund to go toward renovation or repositioning projects at the Integrace communities. Details of those projects are yet to be defined.

Acts has assets of $1.5 billion and maintains an A- rating from Fitch.

For Acts, regions typically are between four and six communities, so while there might be some room to expand in the Chesapeake area, significant growth in these markets is not a primary goal for the future, Petty said. Acts intends to keep the Integrace brand name in place.

The Integrace memory care model

Integrace also runs the Integrace Institute at Copper Ridge, in Sykesville. The institute undertakes research, education and consulting related to Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions, with a focus on improving quality of life. The institute will also be affiliated with Acts going forward, which was a motivating factor in the deal.

Specifically, Integrace has developed a unique neuro-cognitive support model for memory care, supported and given guidance by the work of the institute. Now, Acts plans to incorporate this model to further enhance memory care across the whole company, Petty said.

Beyond these anticipated operational benefits, affiliation made sense from a variety of angles, both organizations told SHN. Acts and Integrace are both faith-based, with similar histories and heritages.

“We have some pretty strict board criteria on affiliations, and Integrace checked all the boxes,” Petty said.

For Integrace, the prospect of an affiliation arose from its strategic planning over the last several years and moved quickly once exploratory discussions with Acts began, and the two organizations recognized how aligned they are, Harris said.

“I care deeply about the work we do at Integrace and feel very confident in handing the operation of this amazing organization to Acts and their leadership team,” she said. “Our values and priorities are clearly aligned — this affiliation makes both organizations stronger, and provides so many opportunities for our residents and colleagues.”

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