Green House Blog

Green House Model Gains Traction as Providers See Payoff

This may very well be the right time for your organization to consider Green House homes.

In a recent post by Senior Housing News they highlighted THE GREEN HOUSE® Project as a way to revamp traditional nursing care, explored the return on investment for Green House homes, and discussed how some providers have adopted the model to address specific concerns in their state.

The physical environment of each Green House home is designed to transform the institutional nursing facility into a small, residential environment that is home to 10 to 12 elders.  Green house homes fit within the current regulatory and reimbursement structures, and are thus able to nurture people of all abilities, disabilities and financial circumstances.

The story explained that “As regulations mandated by the Affordable Care Act emphasize initiatives related to providing better patient experiences, better outcomes and at lower costs—especially considering the looming threat of hospital readmissions for SNFs beginning in 2019—a Green House model may be able to produce cost savings and operational efficiencies for SNFs.”

Read the entire story here and find out how The Green House model has been developed in different parts of the country.


Introduction of H.R. 4122 for Reauthorization of Older Americans Act

Today, President Barack Obama proclaimed May 2014 as Older Americans Month and so it seems timely to take a look at where reauthorization of the Older Americans Act of 1965 stands.  Although there isn’t visible progress on proposed legislation on the hill these days, it is encouraging to see certain policymakers take up the cause for Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. Last year, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S.1562) was introduced in the Senate to address the fact that authorization ended in 2011 and critical funding for the Act’s programs are in jeopardy.

On February 28th of this year, H.R. 4122 was introduced in the House of Representatives as a bill “to reauthorize the Older Americans Act of 1965, and for other purposes.” The bill was introduced by Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) with Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA). What makes this bill unique is that it goes further than simply reauthorizing the Older American Act by including other provisions to protect the health and well-being of older adults.

According to Peter Notarstefano at Leading Age, some of these provisions include:

–          Creation of Federal Database to address Elder Abuse and Neglect

–          New standards for screening and assessment at OAA Nutrition Programs

–          Plans to modernize community senior centers

–          Increased service availability for person-centered transportation

–          Improved resource access for LGBT Older Adults

In addition to H.R. 4122, a bill to simply reauthorize the Older Americans Act (H.R. 3850), was introduced on January 10, 2014 by Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and cosponsors, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).


Toni Lynn Davis: Best Fifty Women in Business in New Jersey

An innovator is described as a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products.  That definition truly describes Toni Lynn Davis, the President and CEO at Green Hill Inc.  She has spent her career implementing new and innovative practices to improve the lives of Elders in New Jersey.  The first Green House homes were opened under her leadership in that state, and she has been a champion for culture change in aging services for many years.  So, it’s not surprising that NJBIZ selected Toni as one of the Best Fifty Women in Business in New Jersey.  The awards ceremony was held in late March and was a special evening for those being honored.

Click here to read about Toni’s story in the awards ceremony official program (see page 11).  In addition to her very successful work at Green Hill, Toni serves the State of New Jersey as a policy expert in the area of Elder-first long-term care as a board member of Leading Age New Jersey.  She volunteers countless hours and resources to long-term care providers across the state who desire to redefine the long-term care model in their institutions.  She also serves as a member of the Steering Committee for the Green House Peer Network, helping to shape the policies and vision for this group of adopters.  She is very involved in volunteer community programs, providing holiday gifts to seniors in need.  Toni has also led the effort for intergenerational programming—including student and senior roundtable 8 minute mixers, plays from the local high school, intergenerational Valentines dances and special choral concerts.  Lastly, she is a real advocate for women.  Toni serves as a coach and mentor to a large number of women who work in the Elder healthcare industry.  She works with Rutgers University as mentor for student interns and is currently mentoring Assisted Living administrators in developing a new community in Newark for low income and Medicaid Elders.

It should be noted that Toni was promoted to Executive Director/President of Green Hill Inc. during a period of financial loss and low occupancy.  Staff morale was extremely low.  She established a system of staff empowerment, created roundtables of discussion and opened communications.  Toni moved the organization from a top down hierarchy to a cross lateral structure which created a creative problem solving atmosphere.  In a period of four years, Toni overcame a $2.7 million financial loss and put the organization solidly in the black.  The morale of staff as well as the Elders completely turned around.

Toni:  We applaud your life long work with Elders and anxiously await to see what innovations you have in mind in the future!  Congratulations on your award!


Investing in Staff Retention: Can You Afford Not To?

None of us would argue that staff turnover creates a host of problems for organizations.  Staff retention is vital from a quality perspective, but what about the economic impact it plays for a health care provider?

The issue is explored by the Director of THE GREEN HOUSE® Project, David Farrell and PHI Strategic Advisor, Steven Dawson, in the Spring/Summer 2014 publication of the Indiana Health Care Association “Insight”.

High turnover of your direct care workers can mean reduced quality of care, increased stress for the staff, inefficiencies across many levels, the constant need to recruit and train—which lead to some very high dollar issues.

While some nursing home providers say it is “inevitable”, when they sit down and truly calculate those costs they are shocked so see their annual turnover costs!  In the article Farrell and Dawson discuss investing in proven retention strategies.

Click here to read the full article and let us know how turnover has affected your organization!


Are you curious about staff turnover in a Green House home?

The Green House model gives Elders four times more contact and reduces staff turnover.  A Green House home is created from the ground up to foster the same feeling and experience you get from living in a real home.  Each home is designed for 10-12 Elders keeping it flexible and maintaining a warm feel.  The comfort of private rooms and bathrooms are combined with the family-like atmosphere of open common spaces.

The innovative organizational structure in the Green House model is based upon “the conviction that we need a new framework around which to organize the experience of those who protect, sustain, and nurture our Elders.”  The structure challenges the traditional nursing home hierarchy to create environments that empower elders and those who are closest to them.


Click here to see why The Green House model is the proven and preferred option for creating sustainable culture change.


Talk about The Green House Project during National Nursing Home Week® 2014

Are you interested in spreading the word about the Green House model and bringing Green House homes to your community? You’re invited to join Green House adopters and enthusiasts across the country during National Nursing Home Week from May 11-17 to educate your local communities and policymakers about The Green House difference.

This year, the American Health Care Association is using the Hawaiian theme, “Living the Aloha Spirit,” for National Nursing Home Week. According to their website, the aloha spirit means that “… the people of Hawaii are encouraged to treat others with deep care, respect and humility, leading to individuals creating a better world.” The Green House model’s core values of Meaningful Life, Empowered Staff, and Real Home, align closely with this year’s theme and we are excited to invite communities across the country to see the difference that our model offers.

Want to get involved next month? Here’s how:

Write an op-ed in your local paper in support of the Green House model & share with us!

– If you’re already an adopter, invite local policymakers to “see the difference” by visiting your Green House home during that week and sharing photos with us

– Help us launch a “Get Connected” campaign and share your National Nursing Home Week stories and photos using social media and connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter using #EldersRule

Need a template to get started? Visit our Support the Movement page and use our policymaker site visit letter and editorial sample and share these tools with your friends and colleagues. Contact Meaghan McMahon at ( with your questions or to share success stories, photos and editorial letters.