The upcoming merger between Cherry Village Benevolence, Great Bend, and a Topeka-based, non-profit entity will result in enhanced services for residents at the local long-term-care facility.
Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane, and Kansas Senior Living Inc. have signed a letter of intent and the merger will be official within the next several weeks.
“We are so excited about this on behalf of our residents and their families,” said Pam Lewis, Cherry Village administrator. “This merger will empower us to make many improvements we could not make on our own.
“By ourselves, we are a squeaky little voice,” she laughed. “But with the experience and professionalism at Kansas Senior Living, we will have a strong voice to accomplish many things in the near future and the years to come.”
Lewis and her family have operated Cherry Village since its opening in 1978. It is a non-profit facility.
Eventually, the merger will allow new facilities on a new campus.
“There are many things that must happen in the meantime,” Lewis said. “But within probably a couple of years we will begin building modern new facilities. We will keep everyone informed about our progress.”
The staff will remain the same and no one is losing employment, Lewis emphasized. In addition, Cherry Village has a long history of providing employees with continuing education and there will be even more to come, the administrator said.
The Cherry Village Board of Directors recently decided this merger is “in the best interests of residents and the best option to ensure a bright future,” Lewis noted. “We want to be progressive so that our residents continue to receive high-quality, compassionate care.
“It is so difficult to stand alone, especially in light of the tremendous volume of new federal regulations that are coming out,” she continued. “We will have knowledgeable partners as we navigate the maze of new health-care reimbursement rules and many, many other requirements. It will be a significant benefit to be part of this wonderful group in Kansas.”
The fact that Kansas Senior Living is a non-profit entity is especially attractive to Lewis.
“Non-profits are so much different than corporate, private businesses. For example, here at Cherry Village money goes back into services to heighten our focus on resident-centered care. At for-profit companies, money goes into the hands of stockholders in the form of dividend checks,” she explained.
Kansas Senior Living
John Grace of Topeka, president of Kansas Senior Living, has been collaborating with Cherry Village to make this merger possible. He has more than 40 years of experience helping long-term-care facilities prepare for serving tomorrow’s elderly population.
As a licensed administrator, Grace has helped dozens of organizations with strategic planning, management, revenue enhancement and operational efficiencies.
“Our goal is to build upon the care and compassion that Cherry Village has demonstrated for almost four decades,” Grace said. “We will strengthen and expand our services for residents and families.
“Our emphasis is resident-centered care, which has resulted in a culture change,” he continued. “We have moved away from an institutional type of care to individualized, consumer-oriented practices that embrace choices and autonomy for residents and caregivers.”
Over the years, Cherry Village has been a leader in focusing on individuals’ needs and desires, Grace noted.
“We will be taking this concept to the next level,” he said. “Residents’ preferences will continue to be the top priority in making daily decisions – just as they would in their own households.”
As a result of the merger, new jobs will be created and the local economy will benefit, Grace said.
“Older people who might have moved away because of a lack of modern facilities will stay here,” Grace pointed out. “Their incomes, savings and spending power will remain in the area.
“In addition,” he continued, “the building of a new campus will create a number of jobs for carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other local professionals, while providing long-term jobs for nurses, social workers, aides and therapists.”
The Kansas Senior Living president also noted Cherry Village will seek private donations from individuals, businesses and foundations.
“These gifts will help us improve our building and programs,” he explained. “We also will seek funding from local banks for short- and long-term financing, along with permanent funds from USDA Rural Development. We are eager for our merger to be official as we look ahead to the progressive future of Cherry Village.”