Better Together, The 8th Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration

By / Posted on November 25th, 2015

New York Times Highlights The Green House model and Trend toward Small Nursing Homes

By / Posted on November 23rd, 2015

“This is my home,” said Kay Larmor, an elder who currently lives at Porter Hills Green House homes. “And I feel cared for.”

kay larimor

The New York Times recently explored the movement toward smaller nursing home residences, highlighting The Green House Project as the premiere example of this trend, “Green House homes were developed from a blank sheet of paper,” said Scott Brown, Director of Outreach at The Green House Project. The results, he said, have been encouraging. Studies show that residents have higher-quality lives and significantly fewer hospital readmissions.

“This is the way that elders want to be cared for,” said Audrey Weiner, chief executive of Jewish Home Lifecare, who will open 22 Green House homes in Manhattan.  Currently there are 185 Green House homes operating in 28 states; an additional 150 are in development. That compares with about 15,700 nursing homes in the United States housing 1.4 million people.  There is still much work to do to make Green House homes an option for elders in every community.  Whether you are an advocate, provider or developer, visit to learn how you can get involved.

Read the full article>>


Portrait of a Green House Leader, Terry Rogers

By / Posted on November 14th, 2015

Terry Rogers, President & CEO of Episcopal Foundation of Jefferson County, in Birmingham, AL was recently highlighted in The Green House Project‘s Leadership webinar series. His organization includes, St. Martin’s in the Pines, a continuing care retirement community and home care service in Birmingham, with nine Green House cottages.

terry and elderTerry’s inspiration for a career in health came from observing his mother as caregiver to family members and neighbors, graduate from nursing school, and enter the home health profession. After graduating from The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Terry began his healthcare administration career in business and operations positions with home health agencies, hospitals, and the Episcopal Foundation of Jefferson County, where he has served as President & CEO since 2000. In addition, he serves as a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the University of Alabama Comprehensive Center on Healthy Aging, the National Public Policy Congress, the Budget and Finance Committee, and the Business Strategy Council for LeadingAge, in addition to his service as member of the Green House Project Peer Network Steering Committee.

Terry began his career with St. Martin’s with a formal long range planning effort aimed at redeveloping the campus and replacing the skilled nursing building. His colleague, Linda Robertson, an Eden Alternative Associate, directed him towards the work of The Green House Project in Tupelo, Mississippi. After attending a workshop in Tupelo, he returned to Birmingham to inform the board about this innovative model of care and identify what a new nursing home may look like on their campus. Terry describes that seeing truly is believing; the enthusiasm for the model carried throughout the board and to the broader community and together they were committed to developing the first Green House homes in Alabama. He attributes this success to formally engaging with The Green House Project team to aid in the collaborative design process of their multi-story Green House homes and assist in overcoming regulatory hurdles by training state regulators about the Green House model.

st. martins_ shovelsDuring the development process, Terry notes that “we had a steep hill to climb” but felt confident given the robust training opportunities provided by The Green House Project team and the value of being associated with the model given the research supporting its success. He continues to be an advocate for the model integrity process and the importance of the Green House trademark as a method of accountability throughout the Peer Network to ensure the original guiding principles are instilled in every community. “We didn’t get into The Green House model because it was easy, we got into this because it was the right thing. Changing in the right way is why we’re having the outcomes we’re having. If we start letting “the right way” be diluted, the outcomes are going to change… we think The Green House model works and we want to do it in the right way and we want everyone in the Peer Network to do it the right way as well.”

At St. Martin’s, continuing team education is key in maintaining the integrity of the model and helps leadership “keep it fresh.” Terry describes that continuing assessment and evaluation creates an opportunity for leaders to revisit the beginnings of why they started and to continually engage in action plans for improvements. As the “keepers of the philosophy”, leaders must problem solve, motivate, and coach their teams through consistent messaging of the model. Since opening, St. Martin’s aims to serve as a role model and brand ambassador to encourage and invigorate The Green House model into future organizations and help them throughout their journey.

Upon opening, Terry observed the model’s financial success as a result of the shift in operational cost structure and the flattened hierarchy that creates a “middle management shake-up.” Furthermore, adding Green House cottages into the St. Martin’s continuum of care created a competitive advantage that drives demand at all levels of care, resulting in a corresponding increase in their assisted living and independent living occupancy of approximately 5%. This influx of revenue allows St. Martin’s to promote the community giveback component of their mission to ensure that Elders have the opportunity to live in their cottages regardless of their payor status.

In terms of quality of care, Terry describes that “there’s a little bit of magic taking place” in their Green House cottages that yields better outcomes. Specifically, their 100% occupancy rate, higher family satisfaction survey scores, and positive clinical outcomes are a result of better, deeper knowing in their Green House homes. The Green House principles “just makes sense.” Despite the Green House model’s success at St. Martin’s, Terry notes that they can always do better and are constantly seeking improvements. He is pleased to be a part of the Peer Network and associated with other courageous change agents that are never satisfied in knowing all they need to know in caring for elders.

A lifelong resident of Birmingham, Terry loves fishing, Crimson Tide football (Roll Tide!), participating in barbecue competitions, and spending as much time as possible by the lake with his family. He is presenting at the 2015 Annual Meeting with Green House Project team members Susan Frazier and Marla DeVries on the Model Enrichment Resource and Integrity Tool (MERIT) and the research that supports this process for sustainability.  To hear the full interview>>

Saint Elizabeth Community’s Groundbreaking, First in Rhode Island

By / Posted on November 13th, 2015

saint e ground breakingFor the first time since Rhode Island imposed a moratorium on additional nursing home beds nearly 20 years ago, a state approved project is getting underway in East Greenwich.  Saint Elizabeth Home broke ground on October 27th and will build four Green House homes.

“It has been a long road to get to today,” said Steven J. Horowitz, President and CEO of Saint Elizabeth Community. steve horwitz“We first heard about Green House homes in 2006, but it all began in earnest for our organization in 2009 when we took a group of our nursing home resident on an overnight beach vacation to Cape Cod.” Horowitz says, “This showed us how quality of life for nursing home residents could greatly be enhanced through smaller home environments and empowered/cross trained employees.”

Each home will have 12 Elders and will be built next to the existing Saint Elizabeth Home.  They will include private bedrooms and bath, along with a common hearth and dining area and open kitchen.  There will be a front porch and back patio area for easy access by the elders.

From left:  Steven J. Horowitz, President and CEO; Susan Frazier Ryan, Senior Director, The Green House Project;  Matthew Trimble, Chief Operating Officer.

From left: Steven J. Horowitz, President and CEO; Susan Frazier Ryan, Senior Director, The Green House Project; Matthew Trimble, Chief Operating Officer.

matt at podiumAt the ground breaking, Saint Elizabeth Home Chief Operating Officer Matthew Trimble said, “the unfortunate consequence of the moratorium was the stifling of innovation.” In 2010 legislation was passed that would allow for beds from skilled nursing facilities that closed, or that were taken out of use, to be held by the RI Department of Health for potential future use. It opened the door for innovation and the team at the Saint Elizabeth Home was more than ready to present their ideas!

Click here to read their press release and the Warwick Beacon also covered the special event!

Morris Hall Meadows Celebrates Grand Opening in New Jersey

By / Posted on November 13th, 2015


October 21st was a beautiful day for a ribbon cutting ceremony and all those who attended the Morris Hall Meadows Grand Opening couldn’t have been more pleased with the homes and the weather!

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., along with representatives from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Green House Project, local, county and township officials all offered their words of praise and support for the six new skilled nursing Green House homes.  Ten elders will live in each home, which will include their own private bedroom and bath, a central heath area with a fireplace, full kitchen with home cooked meals and a dining area.

“It’s all about leadership — leaders who are willing to push through the status quo, to believe that there is a better way and a different way to grow old in America. It’s about leaders who say, ‘we’re going to defy the ancient stereotypes … and we are going to grab hold of the very best for our elders, and it really fits your mission so well, because it’s all about maximizing the quality of human life.” –Susan Frazier Ryan, Senior Director, The Green House Project.

IMG_1721One of those leaders for Morris Hall Meadows is the CEO for Morris Hall/St. Lawrence, Inc., Darlene Hanley.  She has been a champion for the project and was most pleased to tell the crowd that day that Lawrence Township has the distinction of having the first Green House homes in central New Jersey.  (Green House Living at Green Hill in West Orange, New Jersey were the first Green House homes in the state.)  The ribbon cutting event was covered by The Monitor in Trenton, New Jersey and includes a photo gallery of the event.

There are now 185 Green House homes across the country in 28 states.

LeadingAge Conference 2015 Highlights

By / Posted on November 10th, 2015


IMG_1331The LeadingAge Conference last week in Boston was attended by over 8,000 participants!  It is one of the largest conference for aging services professionals.  The Green House Project team attends every year and also participates as an exhibitor.   We enjoyed seeing many of our Green House adopters and friends in long term care.

Enjoy the story below from Dr. Eleanor Barbera of McKnight’s, she visited the Leonard Florence Center for Living Green House homes and has written about The Green House Project in the past.

via: McKnight’s

Despite the diversity of the events I attended during my brief visit to the LeadingAge convention in Boston last week, a theme clearly emerged. The thread that ran through the varied offerings was well-being.

Retaining staff

In researcher and consultant Joanne L. Smikle, PhD‘s talk on staff retention, rather than focusing on why employees are leaving, she looked instead at why they stay.

Based on her studies of long-term care organizations, she found that “if the leadership of the organization lacks passion, you will have trouble with retention and commitment.”

Click here to continue reading.

Green House Founder Honored as Top Influencer in Aging

By / Posted on October 29th, 2015


The Green House Project’s founder and Director of Innovation, Dr. Bill Thomas, has been honored as one of the 50 remarkable people on Next Avenue’s first annual “Influencers in Aging” list.


Green House founder, Dr. Bill Thomas

“We need elders more than ever, because of their unique ability to enrich us. They are the human equivalent to super glue,” said Dr. Thomas.

The list, which was published on October 28, 2015, includes thought leaders, executives, writers, artists, researchers, experts and everyday people who are changing how we age and think about aging in America.

The 2015 Influencers in Aging list also honors surgeon and author Dr. Atul Gawande as “Influencer of the Year”. A Harvard Medical School professor and staff writer for The New Yorker, Dr. Gawande is the author of the bestselling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” Dr. Gawande’s book features The Green House Project as an example of successfully meeting the needs of the whole person rather than simply their diagnosis.

The individuals named as 2015 Influencers in Aging have made important contributions in Next Avenue’s 5 areas of focus:
• Caregiving
• Health & Well-Being
• Living & Learning
• Money & Security
• Work & Purpose

Learn about all 50 Influencers in Aging.

The Green House Project Attends Event at The White House

By / Posted on October 20th, 2015

jewish home_white house

Representatives of The New Jewish Home including CEO, Audrey Weiner (right)

Policy makers have the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of elders and long term care providers.  Recently, The Green House Project participated in the Briefing on Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) Innovation and Technology.  Some innovations were technical in nature and some were a result of old fashioned intuition and common sense. The Administration and government representatives were duly impressed with what they heard through these AJAS presentations.

Green House adopter, The New Jewish Home, in Manhattan, NY, discussed their career growth program that develops young people for success in working with elders.  This opportunity to be in the hallowed walls of the White House, where so many important decisions are made, reminded us of the gravity of our work, and the impetus to create better places where we can age and work.

Portrait of a Green House Leader, John Ponthie

By / Posted on October 16th, 2015

What Does it Mean to Lead Meaningful and Sustainable Change?

John Ponthie

John Ponthie, Managing Director, Southern Administrative Services

The “Portrait of a Green House Leader” series seeks to highlight talented leaders in The Green House network. It is powerful on many levels to hear these thought leaders share their insight and wisdom. The first of these leaders is John Ponthie, founding member and managing director of Southern Administrative Services, LLC.

Southern Administrative Services is a progressive long-term care operating company with twenty-six affiliated nursing homes in Arkansas, including two Green House campuses (Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place & Southern Hills).

John’s interest in long-term care began as a teenager working at a nursing home where he developed a love and appreciation for interacting with Elders. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University and a Master of Health Administration degree from Tulane University. John’s healthcare career of over twenty-five years includes sixteen years of hospital administration in addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Health Care Association and the Multi Facility CEO Council for the American Health Care Association.

wentworth place

Wentworth Place in Winter, Magnolia, AR

Despite being a “proud owner” of several traditional long-term care facilities, John and his colleagues witnessed many of fundamental problems of high staff turnover rates and the institutional plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom among Elders. “We knew there had to be a better answer, and for us it was The Green House Project” John says when describing his journey to becoming a Green House adopter.

He identifies that partnering with The Green House Project was crucial to overcoming the fear of change and breaking free from institutional barriers

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know… you know the old model and you’re comfortable with it and to take off in a new direction is difficult. We were in a dark room searching around for a light switch and The Green House Project had the flashlight.”

Working with The Green House Project provided him with the education, training, and the “stamp of approval” from a credible organization necessary to create the right culture to provide a better quality of care. To show the value of the quality of care associated with The Green House model, John successfully led the request for a differential in payment from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services through the first state plan amendment in Arkansas.

With two communities in operation, a third in development, and a fourth pending, John’s pride of association with The Green House model is spreading throughout Arkansas, proving that the model can be successful even in small markets. When discussing financial viability, John states that The Green House model creates a competitive edge that fosters the opportunity to do well through a payor mix while also providing high quality care. Specifically, maintaining a successful census of long-term care elders while incorporating 15-20% of short-term rehabilitation allows him to re-invest back into his business where is matters most; creating and sustaining the right culture to create and maintain a better quality of care.

John Describing Model v2

John describing The Green House model

From a value perspective, John relates that adopting The Green House model gives him the “trump card” over any other model of care. “Where there is an opportunity there needs to be a primary consideration for financial reasons, strategic reasons, and obvious reasons of care and quality.” Investing in The Green House model allows him to “plant his flag at the top as a market leader” and generates the opportunity for him contribute towards creating a better standard of life and care for future generations.

In his free time, John enjoys piloting and spending time with his wife and three children. Click here to listen to the webinar interview of John Ponthie.

“Any number of people can design or build the architecture but that doesn’t bring about the revolutionary change in culture that The Green House Project provides. For us to be able to leverage the successes and failures of so many other adopters is invaluable. The Green House Project has the expertise and structure to help manage our process in a manner that gives our project the highest possibility of success. “  -John Ponthie


Nancy Fox Honored with Highest Award in Colorado Long Term Care

By / Posted on October 15th, 2015

Reprinted from Colorado Health Care Association

The highest honor anyone can receive in Colorado long term care is the Vesta Bowden Achievement Award.  This year’s award was presented to Nancy Fox, Chief Life Enhancement Officer with Vivage Quality Health Partners.

Nancy first applied her talents in the 1980s in Texas, including serving as an Administrator at a 120 bed facility, and then leaving to get her associate’s training at Eden in 1996. She was then “lured” to Colorado in 2008 to become Chief Life Enhancement Officer at Vivage where she, amongst other things, led the project development for the Green House Homes at Mirasol, a 60-person skilled nursing community in Loveland, Colorado.

Nancy and ElderNancy has served in numerous capacities with respect to the Colorado Culture Change Coalition, the Pioneer Movement and several association and governmental committees and work groups including being named as the first Executive Director of the Eden Board of Directors.

Anyone who has heard one of her training sessions cannot help to be inspired and empowered to serve our elders in their communities. In her role as a mentor, one of the nominee letters stated that “she has impacted thousands of elders and staff by promoting positive, caring qualities through a person centered care philosophy. This role was recognized in 1999 when she was named as Eden’s first national mentor.

Besides her service on many association and governmental committees, Nancy has authored a book about leadership pathways in culture change; a guide for administrators for person-centered care; another guide, called the Neighborhood Guide which is a 30 module training course for transforming institutional thinking into self-directed working environments that is now taught nationally.

Nancy has gone the extra mile for the elders that we serve by giving freely and generously to them and our profession.

Congratulations Nancy Fox!



ANNOUNCEMENT: THRIVE Research Results, Coming Soon!

By / Posted on October 14th, 2015

Thrive2The buzz is about to begin !!  The THRIVE research team, which collected information in and about Green House homes and other nursing homes, completed its efforts.

Presentations of the results have been made at meetings of The Green House Project, the Pioneer Network, Advancing Excellence, LeadingAge, the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, the American Society on Aging, Academy Health, the Gerontological Society of America, and others.

In a few months, the THRIVE results will be published in Health Services Research, one of the top journals that impacts health practice and policy.  So, to repeat:  the “buzz” is about to begin!  2

Publication is expected to generate great interest and discussion among policy makers, providers, investors, and other stakeholders — promoting what works best about Green House homes and informing new practices. Green House webinars will be offered to provide updates along the way. Hold on for the ride!  MORE TO FOLLOW!

Fresh, farmed produce debuts at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community

By / Posted on October 14th, 2015

October 7, 2015

Contact: Maureen Pearson, director of Communications

540-438-4205, 540-908-8979

Eating locally is a common phrase in the agricultural heavy Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, but for Virginia IMG_4056Mennonite Retirement Community, eating locally took on an entirely new meaning this summer.

The continuing care retirement community cultivated 1 ½ acres of land from its nearby farm for food production. The Farm at Willow Run owned and operated by VMRC began the growing season with an anticipated production yield goal of $24,000.

“Knowing where your food comes from is important, and the nutritional value of fresh produce grown nearby is excellent,” said Eric Phipps, executive chef at VMRC.

Growers used untreated and organic seeds and plants in plantiIMG_3903ng as much as possible, and with the farm just minutes from the retirement community, shipping and delivery were kept to a minimum.

Produce was integrated by Dining Services into soups, salad bars, side dishes, and desserts with excess sold at produce table.

“The feedback from the Heirloom tomato bisque and butternut squash pie was amazing,” said Phipps, who designed the menus to accommodate the garden produce.

Farm fresh produce also was utilized in assisted living activities of bean snapping and zucchini bread baking.

“The farm made good sense for VMRC as we identified ways to help people live a healthier lifestyle,” said Judith Trumbo, president and CEO.IMG_4043

Nearly 750 residents live at VMRC which also is home to Virginia’s only Green House community – Woodland Park.