Asbury Communities has welcomed a new partner into the fold — and, in the process, it’s made strides toward diversifying the services it offers.
The Frederick, Maryland-based senior housing and care nonprofit on Monday announced an affiliation with Albright Care Services, an organization that operates two continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) servicing a total of 600 residents in York and Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Albright also brings with it a slate of services that includes a pharmacy services line, three “LIFE” centers that provide services to about 200 older adults under the federal Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program and a 74-unit HUD affordable housing apartment property in Watsontown, Pennsylvania.
As part of the affiliation, which officially took effect on Jan. 1, Albright is now part of the Asbury family but is keeping its board of directors. The move expands Asbury’s senior living portfolio to eight CCRCs in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Tennessee and increases the number of older adults it serves to 4,500.
In bringing Albright into its umbrella, Asbury gains access to business lines that it currently doesn’t offer, such as in-house pharmacy and PACE services, according to Sandra Lawson, chief strategic alliances and growth officer for Asbury.
“One of the many things that appealed to us in the pursuit of the Albright affiliation was the fact that Albright has skills and business lines that we don’t,” Lawson told Senior Housing News. “We also think that the organizations share the same mission and core values, and share very similar histories with Methodist roots.”
Asbury and Albright have set up an affiliation integration team comprised of leaders from both organizations to explore ways to expand or adapt those services for the combined portfolio in the next six to 12 months.
For Albright, the affiliation means new access to Asbury’s operations, finance, clinical, legal and marketing resources. In searching for a potential affiliation partner, Albright considered four criteria: expertise, technology, access to capital and operational efficiencies — and Asbury hit all four, according to Shaun Smith, president and CEO of Albright Care Services.
“It’s hard for an organization our size to muster those same kind of resources,” Smith told SHN. “We’re just really excited to be part of an organization that’s so forward thinking.”
Asbury President and CEO Doug Leidig has focused heavily on innovation, and the organization has explored numerous ways to bring more technology into the lives of its residents in the past year. These initiatives have included a telemedicine pilot, an enhanced mobility program and even using a robot named Pepper to greet residents.
That innovation push is aimed at meeting the preferences of older adults Asbury will service in the future, and overcoming headwinds that have buffeted the industry in recent years.
“How and where care is delivered and funded is changing, and there are reimbursement pressures, regulatory controls and staffing challenges at the top of everyone’s minds,” Lawson said. “These things are all coming together and forcing organizations to take a look at what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, if they can they do it better and whether they can do it differently.”
Asbury’s affiliation with Albright comes amid a larger consolidation trend in the nonprofit senior living sector, with providers trying to gain scale to better compete in an increasingly challenging and complex market. Some nonprofit leaders have even said that the pace of growth needs to be faster in order to keep up with the changing industry.
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking appropriate risk and scaling faster,” HumanGood CEO John Cochrane told Senior Housing News last October. “We have a tendency to build a building, and 10 years from now, when we are rock-solid sure that that will work, we will build a second building. Meanwhile, the for-profits have built 50 of these.”