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Carriage Place is changing ownership and management is planning to add a Medicaid contract for clients

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Gladys Murray-Powelson works on her computer in her apartment at Carriage Place.

Conrad Edgerly smiles warmly as visitors pass by a commons area at Carriage Place Assisted Living, and Edgerly absorbs the sun rays streaming through the window in his comfortable recliner.

Down the hall, Gladys Murray-Powelson works at her computer in her cozy apartment, surrounded by the items that make it a home.

This is the environment observed on a typical day at Carriage Place, which is in the process of changing management.

Enlivant has owned the assisted-living facility since 1995. The company, which was established, in 1981, has assisted-living communities in 27 states, and most of their facilities average 40 to 60 apartments.

Caring Places Management is buying Carriage Place, and the sale is expected to be finalized the first week of March. Caring Places is a smaller company, with a dozen communities in the Pacific Northwest. They recently announced that they will be acquiring eight new facilities in Oregon and Washington in the next few months.

Martin Stewart, community relations manager for Carriage Place, said Caring Places Management is mostly located in smaller cities and towns, serving a smaller population of residents.

"I think that was their goal — to stay within their sweet spot, which would be in smaller towns tucked away in little neighborhoods in rural Oregon and Washington," he said. "That is the way they feel they can serve the community best."

Stewart said Enlivant, is a larger, regional company, while Caring Places Management has a smaller footprint.

"I think the smaller company may just have more a vested interest in local communities because they are local," he added.

One change that Caring Places Management has proposed is to have a Medicaid contract.

"They will be able to serve some of the lower-income population, which the current company does not have," Stewart said.

He added that there is a big need for facilities that offer Medicaid. Enlivant offers a program called the Bond Program. He said it's slightly different and helps some lower-income folks but is more limited.

Caring Places Management will also be adding a facility in Bend and Madras, with Carriage Place being the only addition in Prineville.

Stewart said Caring Places Management will not make any changes regarding how clients are served at Carriage Place. There will be upgrades in the facility itself, however.

"They have committed to maintain all current staff," he said. "Anytime there is a change, there is opportunity for improvement, so from a management point of view, we look at this change positively and enthusiastically."

Dennis Mulaskey was recently hired as the executive director for Carriage Place. He most recently worked at Best Care Prineville Mental Health — previously Lutheran Community Services — as the facility manager. He also worked for the Opportunity Foundation as assistant vocational director in Redmond. He worked for Bi-Mart several years and helped to set up the local Bi-Mart store.

Stewart said Mulaskey's career background is an asset in connecting with the clients in Carriage Place. Mulaskey values interaction with people, and his last position was more involved with moving things and less human interaction.

Mulaskey said his mother went through three different assisted-living facilities and one foster home, which directly affected her quality of life. Several incidents occurred that influenced his decision to get involved in assisted living. In one case, a facility that looked quite nice from an outside perspective turned out to be poorly managed, and his mother even had items stolen.

"So the lesson from that whole ordeal — and she is not alive today — I want to make sure that nobody has to go through that kind of scenario," Mulaskey said. "Even though things look very good on the outside, it's more the culture inside and how it's run and how people are treated and respected."

He added that at Carriage Place, the staff is careful to follow Oregon administrative rules and do everything right "so that we have a good community for people to live in and it's safe. That is my ultimate goal.

"It is an important part of the overall community here in Prineville," Mulaskey said of Carriage Place.

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Carriage Place, soon to be owned by Caring Places Management

Address: 150 SE Williamson Drive, Prineville

Phone: 541-214-2095

Managing officers for Caring Places Management: Dawn and Marvin Pratt

Executive Director for Carriage Place: Dennis Mulaskey

Community Relations Manager for Carriage Place: Martin Stewart


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