COVID-19: a Letter from Our CEO
April 21, 2020
My heart goes out to families and friends all around us now whose lives have been impacted in so many ways by the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic. According to Johns Hopkins University, the global number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now exceeds 2.5 million. Nearly one-third of those confirmed cases are right here in the United States. COVID-19 continues to take an unprecedented and devastating toll on human lives, our healthcare system and the broader economy. As a nation, the road to full recovery - both from a healthcare and economic perspective, will be a very long one. The data and science are very clear on this.
From a protocol perspective, you should know Enlivant continues to carefully monitor and comply with COVID-19 guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). We are also partnering closely with the regulatory bodies across each state we operate in to ensure compliance with their rapidly evolving protocols. And finally, although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) does not govern our business, we continue to monitor their recommended COVID-19 guidelines for skilled nursing facilities and have applied many of their best practices to the extent they are applicable. Please visit enlivant.com/covid19 for critical updates as we are regularly posting new information.
Our robust COVID-19 protocols continue to evolve as we adopt additional best practices. We have successfully delivered more than 40 hours of formal COVID-19 training and re-training sessions to our community employees. These robust protocols and extensive training sessions have served us well and will continue to guide our work as we strive to protect and keep our communities safe. To our 7,500 Enlivant employees across our 230 communities in 26 states, I cannot say it enough…I am so proud of you and remain comforted by your thoughtful and dedicated efforts daily. Thank you again.
Despite the staggering COVID-19 infection rates we’re observing across the world, I continue to believe the most vulnerable population of 80-100+ year-olds are far safer, healthier and happier living inside of one of our 230 senior living communities than they would be living on their own. The clear benefits of our close partnerships with local and state health departments, state regulators, plus having daily access to onsite nursing personnel, chef prepared meals three times a day, safe socialization and meaningful life enrichment activities that contemplate COVID-19 protocols, create a truly unique value proposition that would be very difficult to replicate for senior adults who continue to live alone.
As Enlivant stakeholders, you have our commitment we will not let our guard down prematurely. Rest assured, we recognize that we are still early in this ongoing battle. Testing is not yet readily available in many parts of the country and a proven and approved vaccination is likely 12-18 months away, even by the most optimistic scientific predictions.
I am also aware that certain cities and states across the country, who are eager to get their local economies going again, are already beginning to discuss gradually easing shelter-in place guidelines. I can understand their instincts and desire to do so. However, notwithstanding that, I want to clearly manage expectations on what the coming weeks and likely months ahead will look like for Enlivant residents, family members, and employees.
Make no doubt, Enlivant will continue to partner closely with and take our COVID-19 safety protocol cues directly from: (i) the CDC, (ii) state and local health departments and, (iii) our state regulators.
It’s important to understand that our business is very different from retail stores, movie theatres, restaurants or hotels that serve the general public who may be eager to begin lifting restrictions sooner than we will. We serve a very different demographic that is far more vulnerable to this disease, and therefore needs extra protection and safeguards to ensure their continued well-being. We take that responsibility to keep our residents safe with the utmost priority. So please do not be surprised that our safety protocols, such as restrictions on visitors (including family members), are likely to remain in place for some time. This will likely be true even in places where local or state politicians begin relaxing their own shelter in place guidelines for the general public.
That said, we continue to warmly embrace and encourage live video calls from family and friends, funny emails we can print and share, participation in Enlivant’s growing resident pen pal program, mailed family care packages etc., all of which remains essential to the emotional well-being and continued happiness of our beloved residents.
We continue to live in unprecedented and difficult times for everyone. Please know Enlivant always has the best interests of our current residents, future residents, and employees at heart with every decision we make. Please also know every decision we make is fully aligned with our goal of earning the right to become the nation’s most trusted senior living provider.
We remain committed to open and transparent ongoing dialogue with all Enlivant stakeholders and appreciate your ongoing understanding and support, which means the world to us.
Jack R. Callison, Jr.
Enlivant – Chief Executive Officer
March 17, 2020
There is no question we are living in difficult times. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading globally and nationally at a staggering rate. I am concerned not only as an executive in the senior living industry, but also as a husband, father and the oldest adult child of aging parents.
With 230 senior living communities across 26 states, Enlivant has been actively monitoring ever evolving COVID-19 developments, literally on an hour by hour basis, seven days a week, for quite some time now.
From a protocol perspective, you should know we are carefully monitoring and complying with COVID-19 guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). We are also partnering closely with the regulatory bodies across each state we operate in to ensure compliance with their rapidly evolving protocols. And finally, although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) does not govern our business, we continue to monitor their recommended COVID-19 guidelines for skilled nursing facilities and have applied many of their best practices to the extent they are applicable. Please visit enlivant.com/covid19 for critical updates as we are regularly posting new information.
Enlivant’s first priority is continuing to keep our existing residents and employees safe, healthy and happy, as we have done for nearly 40 years now. I am so proud of our 7,500+ dedicated and compassionate employees who have risen to the occasion to do just that over the past several weeks. To each of you, I thank you very sincerely. It’s not lost on me that for so many of you, your role with Enlivant is so much more than just a job; it’s also a passion, a mission and a life calling. Your actions over the past several weeks have reminded me of that time and time again.
Enlivant’s second priority pertains to leveraging what we do best – assisting families in need who want to move their loved one in with us. We recognize Enlivant plays a mission critical role in the broader healthcare spectrum and we are here to do our part. Make no doubt about it, Enlivant remains open to serve and support families in need - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many hospitals and skilled nursing facilities across the country are completely overtaxed right now so know we remain committed to remaining open and making a difference when and where we can. It’s also important to know, in an abundance of caution, we have made significant changes to our move in protocols to ensure we are keeping everyone in the community safe. I believe, especially in this current environment, there is no safer place for an elderly adult to be living right now than in one of our 230 senior living communities. We have licensed nurses, caregivers, meal providers, and yes, continued robust life enrichment activities (all of which contemplate COVID-19 protocols) in place to ensure meaningful social stimulation still occurs.
With all that said, please know that this has been an incredibly fast-moving and constantly changing situation with new information, guidelines and directives being provided hour by hour in many cases. In many instances, changes in protocols need to be implemented the same day. The various changes implemented recently to how we operate were made, and will continue to be made, with positive intent to address the two priorities I outlined above.
I want to share that we may not always telegraph and communicate these changes well ahead of time, as we would normally do. I also need to be transparent and admit this dynamic likely won’t change near term given how fast this disease and regulatory guidelines are evolving. Recently, we made a dramatic shift to restrict non-medical visitors to our communities. Unfortunately, this includes families too. We understand this decision may not be popular and are sympathetic to the reality of what this means. That said, we are guided by our values and it’s just the right thing to do for both our residents and employees’ safety. I trust and hope you will understand that.
These are unprecedented and difficult times for everyone. Please know Enlivant always has the best interests of our current residents, future residents and employees at heart with every decision we make. I am certain that there have been, and will be, times where we miss the mark and potentially disappoint. We ask for your understanding as we continue to navigate this new environment together. Please also know every decision we make is fully aligned with our goal of earning the right to become the nation’s most trusted senior living provider.
Jack R. Callison, Jr.
Enlivant – Chief Executive Officer