For Assisted Living Industry, a Media Strategy to Thwart Federal Oversight

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July 30, 2013

Emeritus Senior Living, the country’s largest assisted living company, has crafted detailed plans to respond to PBS Frontline and ProPublica’s investigation of the company and the assisted living industry.

Saying the report could lead to “the call for more stringent regulation,” the company emailed an eight-page strategy memo to the leaders of the nation’s major assisted living chains, asking them to put up a “united front.” Karen Lucas, the company’s vice president for communications, said Emeritus developed the media strategy in conjunction with trade groups and other assisted living firms.

“Everyone is working together to make sure we’re educating the public,” Lucas said.

Emeritus has also developed a response plan for the employees who run the company’s roughly 500 facilities, telling them to comment on Frontline’s website and Facebook page and on ProPublica’s Facebook page. The company also instructed workers to encourage residents in Emeritus facilities to post positive comments on Yelp,, and Google “to offset the potential negative backlash created” by the investigation.

ProPublica and Frontline have obtained the strategy documents, which are posted here:

Emeritus Strategy Memo: Frontline Industry Response Materials (Text)

Email from Granger Cobb, Re: Frontline Broadcast (Text)

Emeritus Response Plan for Employees: Frontline Checklist for Eds (Text)

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