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Senior care providers make plans

Leaders of United Methodist Retirement Communities and Porter Hills

United Methodist Retirement Communities and Porter Hills announce plans to explore affiliation.

August 28, 2018 | United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) and Porter Hills (PH) today announced their plans to consider coming together under shared board governance and leadership, possibly creating a $150 million organization that would serve older Michigan adults in 22 counties across the lower peninsula.

Both PH and UMRC maintain strong quality ratings, with multiple five-star facilities among them. It is currently anticipated the two organizations’ ability to share their widely-recognized best practices, knowledge and financial resources will achieve superior results for older adults and create an even more exciting dynamic in Michigan’s senior living marketplace.

“Both our organizations have agreed to move forward with this process as a means of sharing our knowledge, skills and resources for the betterment of senior services across Michigan,” said Mary Wagner, chair of the Porter Hills governing board. “With one American turning 65 every seven seconds, communities like ours need to be smart about preparing for future growth. Put simply, we think we can deliver better results through mutual collaboration.”

Talks are underway between Porter Hills and United Methodist Retirement Communities
(Left to right) John Thorhauer (UMRC President and CEO) and Mary Wagner (chair of the Porter Hills governing board) are joined at the table by Karen Lehman (Porter Hills’ interim CEO) and Wendy Brightman (UMRC Foundation President as the two senior living providers consider future affiliation. ~ photo courtesy UMRC

Together, UMRC, PH, and their respective affiliates employ 1,300 staff serving over 4,600 Michigan older adults. They share a combined 24 service lines and locations and 170 years of service.

“Part of the beauty of this relationship, we think, is that we can easily agree on what matters most: the well-being and independence of Michigan’s older adults,” said John Thorhauer, UMRC president and CEO.

“At the same time, we are determined to remain among the top places to work in our respective communities, and collaborate to live out our faith-based traditions of care and giving.”

Bishop David A. Bard, leader of The Michigan Area, said, “In a time of continuing change in our society and for senior living providers, organizations need to be open to creative ideas in order to sustain and enhance their mission.” He voiced his enthusiasm for the effort. “I support UMRC in its exploration of a partnership with Porter Hills so that both organizations are able to sustain and enhance their commitment to quality living and care for Michigan’s older adults. I trust UMRC to remain committed to the core values that have characterized its work from the beginning.” 

According to the 2017 Ziegler LeadingAge 150 (a listing of the top 150 senior living organizations in the U.S.), PH and UMRC together would be among the 75 largest nonprofit senior living and service providers nationally and among the top five in Michigan. In addition, the new organization’s commitment to affordable housing would place it among the country’s top 25 nonprofit affordable housing organizations.

“While these numbers are impressive—and potentially transformative to Michigan’s landscape of senior living and services—size is not the goal for either UMRC or PH,” said Kim Hoppe, Porter Hills’ senior vice president of financial and corporate services. “We are focused on ensuring that any future collaboration increases the number and quality of care opportunities available to older adults in our respective communities. It has to be the right fit not just for us, not just for UMRC, but for the individuals and families we serve.”

The due diligence process is expected to last through the rest of 2018, at minimum. Additional information can be found at either www.porterhills.org or www.umrc.com.

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