Franklin, IN – The board of directors of Franklin United Methodist Community today announced an affiliation with Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices based in Lebanon, Ohio. Both are senior care ministries of the United Methodist Church.
In making the announcement, Franklin Community CEO and Executive Director Keith Van Deman said, “Our board has been looking for the best way to assure the long-term viability of our Community and this is it. Otterbein is clearly one of the premier senior care providers in the nation that aligns best with us culturally and philosophically.  The fact we are both United Methodist ministries and they are based only two hours away are added bonuses.”
Van Deman said that the affiliation with Otterbein gives Franklin a number of advantages for future success.  These include a vision for and strategic plan to reposition the Community with greater access to capital, which provides the opportunity for increased investment in the 120-acre campus. He said by joining forces with a large, multi-site entity, Franklin can increase its resources and purchasing power which ultimately leads to providing enhanced facilities and excellence in care.
According to Van Deman, even large single site communities like Franklin are more vulnerable today due to constant changes in senior care. These include rising costs of health care, increased government regulations, reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and new competitors.
“We are very pleased that Franklin Community has joined our family of senior care providers,” said Jill Wilson, President, and CEO of Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices. “While we weren’t actively looking to expand, our board could not pass up the opportunity to affiliate with such a well-run operation when approached. We believe the synergies of our faith-based organizations blend very well and contribute greatly to continued excellent care for the residents and working experiences for the employees.
As part of the affiliation agreement, Otterbein will work with the local board to create a campus master plan identifying priorities for Franklin Community improvements. Wilson said that though they haven’t been finalized, she expects the plan will include accommodations for independent and assisted living, long-stay nursing, rehabilitative care and some resident common areas.
In the affiliation, Otterbein will become the sole member of the combined ministry with designated reserved powers; however, in keeping with the standard already in place with all Otterbein “communities,” Franklin will continue to retain the current staff, leadership team, local board of directors, and balance sheet; but now with assistance from a home office support team to create leverage for sales, marketing, communications, financial analyses, strategic planning, and so on. Money and other resources invested at Franklin will be used solely in support of the Franklin Community and Van Deman will remain CEO and Executive Director. 
In an effort to reflect that Franklin is one of Otterbein’s “communities,” its name will become Otterbein Franklin Senior Lifestyle Community (abbreviated as “Otterbein Franklin.”) This reflects a combination of the two ministries and is consistent with Otterbein’s other senior living campuses.
The two organizations will evaluate supplier contracts, credit opportunities, software productivity tools in place, etc. and select the optimal solutions for the organization as a whole – intent to drive up synergy and drive down the cost of operations, while maintaining outstanding care and customer service.
Franklin United Methodist Community is a faith-based, non-profit Life Plan Community related to the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church and located in Franklin, Indiana. Carrying out the mission to provide a retirement experience filled with well-being and wholeness, it employs over 400 staff members.
Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices is a faith-based, non-profit health and human services ministry related to the East Ohio and West Ohio Conferences of the United Methodist Church.  Otterbein has five full-service retirement communities, nine skilled nursing and rehabilitation neighborhoods, a home health agency and hospice care located throughout Ohio.