It’s not exactly a merger, but it is a potential joining of forces. Carroll County’s Integrace, a nonprofit senior living community operator, has entered an “agreement to affiliate” with Acts Retirement-Life Communities, a similar though larger not-for-profit organization based in West Point, Pennsylvania.
“In the nonprofit world you will hear the term affiliation. What that means is there isn’t any cash that exchanges hands. It’s not a sale, an acquisition — those are all for-profit terms,” said Laura Breton, Integrace’s vice president of marketing, sales and public relations. “In the nonprofit world … it’s more like a marriage.”
Both Integrace and Acts Retirement-Life Communities will exchanges resources to mutual benefit, Breton said, though Acts will gain a larger presence in Integrace’s governance.
“Acts will have six seats on the Integrace Board and Integrace will have five seats,” she said. “Integrace will remain it’s own 501(c)(3) under the Acts umbrella.”
Integrace operates four senior living facilities, including two, Fairhaven and Copper Ridge, with a focus on memory and dementia care in the Sykesville region. Its other two facilities are Bayleigh Chase, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and Buckingham’s Choice in Frederick County.
The breadth and depth of the Acts organization was one of the major benefits the Integrace team was looking for in a “marriage,” Breton said.
“There are an awful lot of economies of scale when you start talking about a 27-site organization versus a four-site organization,” she said. “Acts is going to be developing five-year capital plans for our communities, taking a look at everything from preventative maintenance, to what might the physical plant look like, what might programming look like.”
Acts, meanwhile, is interested in the memory care and dementia expertise that Integrace can bring to a combined organization, according to Breton.
Affiliation won’t mean much change to Copper Ridge and Fairhaven, at least in the short term, according to Breton.
“They will not be changing any of our community names,” she said. “They feel and Integrace feels that our communities — Fairhaven, Copper Ridge, Buckingham’s Choice, Bayleigh Chase — have really rich heritages and great brands within their communities.”
Pay scales are expected to remain the same or similar as well, Breton said, and noted that no staffing changes are planned in the near term.
As of 2017, Integrace employed some 700 people, making it one of Carroll’s top five private employers.
“No staffing changes at all for the first 90 days. They will be coming in to assess what everybody does and their titles. It has to be a learning process before they can even make an educated decision on what might need to be altered,” she said. “We don’t anticipate any major changes.”
As of Tuesday, Integrace and Acts have an agreement to affiliate, but are not yet affiliated, Breton said, with a few months of more work likely before they close on the deal.
“We are currently working with the Maryland Department of Aging and other regulator departments because there are obviously a lot of approvals that need to happen,” she said. “We are right now targeting May 1 to close.”