I observed and wrote a lot about the long-term care industry this summer, but one thing was consistent through all of it: Long-term care providers are passionate.
It took a while, but I might have finally found something that therapy providers can point to with righteous indignation and say, "That ain't right!"
When the American Health Care Association sued the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last year, my assessment was that it might win the literal battle, but lose the hearts and minds of consumers.
It was a bit disheartening to read some of the comments we received on a story covering a resident-focused care session at a recent national conference. The commenters seemed to immediately pole vault over the advice the speaker was trying to share, into a place of negativity and sarcasm.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has the option of terminating nursing homes from the Medicare and Medicaid programs that it deems harmful. But to say the government has been reluctant to do so would be an extreme understatement.
Now that the U.S. Senate has apparently decided to make healthcare somebody else's problem, I suggest keeping an eye on another pack of politicians: the governors.
Long-term care managers need to understand what they can do to make their workplaces as employee-centered as possible — or risk losing out on the best workers, experts and front-liners alike emphasized on Tuesday.
A study last week confirmed what I often discuss with my friends, which is that money really can buy happiness when it's used to increase time.
If you see two providers having a pleasant conversation, it's unlikely they are discussing the joys of Medicaid -- or new regulations.
If you've had some kind of complaint about the rigmarole of Medicare lately — and who hasn't? — now's the time to start getting it fixed.
The fate of many of the members of our long-term care family are now in the hands of the Senate as it debates the future of the Affordable Care Act.
Betty Brunner was sitting down to an appointment at her hair stylist one morning and the next thing she knew, she was diving for the floor, trying to avoid a crazed gunman. Brunner miraculously escaped injury, but her stylist did not: She was one of three people killed by her ex-husband who also shot himself to death.
President Trump may be struggling to kill Obamacare. But he is clearly enjoying early success in at least one area: labor policy.
It was not a good sign from the start. The "personal" email stiffly started "Dear Sir," The first line only validated my gnawing feeling: "I can't tell you how enraged I got reading your article ..." It was the start of a new friendship.
I often hear a reluctance among executives to acknowledge how tough the lives of some of their employees are. In Mark McElwee's case, however, he's not only acknowledging, he's doing something about it.
What comes to mind when you think about critical thinking? For audience members at a session held yesterday at the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration's annual conference at Disney World, a few things were brought to mind right off the bat.
When it comes to the Senate's latest healthcare bill, providers have unloaded many valid criticisms of it. Sadly, they may be irrelevant. It's easy to get so caught up in this legislation's shortfalls that its purpose is overlooked.
When you leave the world of long-term care, you realize how much you know without even knowing it.
So many times you see individuals who don't typically get the company headlines hoping to, well, make themselves known and earn some recognition. Nursing home marketers, your table is ready.
If you've ever seen the movie "Catch Me If You Can," you've probably wondered how in the world the protagonist could get away with his scheme of working jobs he had no qualifications for for so long. You might have also asked yourself that when reading the top story of our Daily Update on Monday morning.
It took more than 700 days, the threat of junk bond status, hefty tax hikes and the spectacle of two stubborn old men playing high-stakes chicken. But Illinois finally has an operating budget. Is this in your future too? .
The announced delay of full enforcement of new survey requirements is indeed good news for nursing home operators and all of their compliance officers. Their blood pressure should now lower a few millimeters. If only for a while.
When it comes to social media, I tend to think providers worry a little too much.
The long-term care field quickly embraced last week's House vote to enact some long-overdue tort reform. That's not so surprising, but don't get too carried away just yet, is my advice.
Readers help make McKnight's the outstanding professional news source it has become. So it is that we come to a recent email to the editor.
Take two friends and toss them at the American Library Association conference and you have a lot of running up to each other speaking in all exclamation points, as well as a solid lesson in how a smart, experienced reader can go awry.
We talk a lot about employee retention in this industry — and I mean a LOT. With the current employment climate of the sector, it would be unwise not to. Here's a key to it.
It turns out Linda Shell's hero had modern medicine right all along, even if her last utterance was well over 100 years ago.
Journey with me, children, back to 2003, when yours truly hung out with smokers.
The content in the angry letter sounded all-too familiar. "Flawed methodology" and "substantive errors" in CMS's "chosen methodology." Another nursing home organization taking issue with the Five-Star ratings system, right?Actually, the authors were blasting a new ratings system for HOSPITALS.
A Pioneer Network webinar on Thursday was a good reminder of how easy it can be to judge absent families when caring for the elderly.
McKnight's Senior Living's inaugural Online Expo arrives June 20. Just like McKnight's past Online Expos that have attracted thousands of long-term care professionals, it is free to attend and offers free CE credits — three, to be exact.
What does it mean to win post-acute care? There aren't any trophies involved, no big acceptance speeches in front of the industry. What winning providers do have, however, is a deep understanding of their data and a competitive edge in their markets.
In a year already chock full of regulatory victories, last week's development about arbitration clauses might turn out to be the best of the bunch. But ...
One might be forgiven for watching an Office of Inspector General video discussing nursing homes and wish it were about 10 — or 20 — minutes longer. That's because the video is under three minutes long. It tells maybe half the story around the OIG and nursing homes.
Providers are thrilled with the administration's decision to rescind an order to ban pre-dispute arbitration agreements. But they also know they can't let their guard down.
Benjamin Franklin once said that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." His 1736 statement was referring to firefighting — better to prevent a fire than deal with putting one out — but it can also apply to one of the most challenging issues in long-term care: Pressure injuries.
Operators might want to keep an eye on new involuntary discharge legislation under consideration in Illinois.
It's hard to intrigue me much when it comes to renovations or new buildings. But in the case of Masonic Homes of Kentucky, one element in particular caught my eye: Its history as a refuge for widows and children, and how the latter continues to inspire its mission.
In a clear case of being able to learn from a cousin, long-term care providers should take note of results of a baby-monitoring study at a respected pediatric hospital.
With recent major funding proposals about Medicaid causing such a tizzy, it's fair to ask why the powers-that-be find Medicaid such a tempting piñata. There are two main drivers. But only one is usually mentioned in polite company.
Memorial Day heralds the start of summer — and with it risks for both you and your residents.
Eye-rollers might be inclined to snort at the thought of "just another" research center popping up. But they might want to have another think after Tuesday's big long-term care announcement.
Researchers with Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health found slight differences in 30-day mortality rate for hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries when treated by doctors in different age groups.
There was a celebration at the White House earlier this month after the House narrowly voted to replace the nation's health law. More than two weeks later, the House has still not advanced the American Health Care Act to the Senate. And it's beginning to become clear why.
As much as I enjoy presenting or speaking in front of groups of people, it's also true that a moment before I begin, I always experience a moment of sheer panic.
Whether you're a kickball captain on the playground, a Little League coach on draft day or a shopper crossing the threshold for a big new sale, you know the look you give.
With how much positive press and research surrounding the benefit music can bring to people with dementia, it came as somewhat of a shock to me to find there had never been a nationwide study of the Music & Memory program — until now.
As an administrator or manager, do you have an open-door policy? Or an open office floor plan? It's often recommended, but in many cases, it can go awry.
I'm happy to report I might have found a near CliffsNotes equivalent for the recently passed American Health Care Act. You know, the Obamacare repeal and replace bill that the House passed last week.
In an age where 1 in 5,000 households speak a language other than English, language barriers between healthcare workers and the patients they care for can have care-related consequences, including higher risk of readmissions, longer inpatient stays and more adverse events.
Technology has been a true game-changer in long-term care. That's why it gives me such great pleasure to announce that the 2017 McKnight's Technology Awards contest will kick off Thursday (May 11).
Yesterday was a great day for House Republicans as they passed a bill that slashes $840 billion from the Medicaid program over the next decade and will cause an estimated 24 million Americans to lose their health insurance in the next decade.
One thing I've learned since joining this business years ago is that if you want a creative, persuasive thinker on your team, you could do a whole lot worse than Alan Rosenbloom.
Long-term care leaders can encourage healthy activity among their staff, starting with modeling healthy behaviors themselves. But what about the frontline healthcare workers with just a few minutes a day to eat, or employees whose stressful duties are taking a toll on their own health?
President Trump just announced a new plan to slash tax rates for long-term care operators and other businesses. But his desire to aid the corporate class has apparently not made its way to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
"You cannot make long-term successful change with people who are blocking it," a long-term care workforce expert said Thursday. He's, oh, so right, about this and other staffing challenges.
I don't think I'd ever heard of Menlo College in California before Wednesday, but if I had a college choice to make again, I might seriously consider going there. If only to learn more from its president and how he might help my career, and yours.
Every so often a new study will be published that reminds me of my favorite Onion headline of all time: "Man Who Drinks 5 Diet Cokes Per Day Hoping Doctors Working On Cure For Whatever He's Getting."
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services inserted an important new requirement in the latest version of its Payroll-Based Journal manual. It's one of those innocent-looking provisions that are fairly easy to skim over. But your facility might quickly find itself in hot water should it be ignored.
We are what we eat, and there's a lot of evidence that our nursing home workforce is struggling to be good.
The saga of nurse Carolyn Strom has been one of our most popular over the last six months. She is, of course, the Canadian who vented about her grandparents' healthcare on Facebook and was fined for it.
People not following their doctors' medication orders contributes to an estimated 125,000 deaths and 10% of hospitalizations per year, along with somewhere between $100 billion and $289 billion in healthcare costs. A lot are like like certain geniuses on my Facebook page.
You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief when NIC released its first-quarter tally on skilled nursing occupancy levels. To be sure, the 87.2% rate is not exactly a cause for celebration. Then again, maybe it is.
In addition to the terrible tragedy of opioid addiction in the United States right now, long-term care providers have an additional challenge: Figuring out both how to make sure seniors retain access to pain medication and how to keep those medications from leading to addiction.
With one son in college and another trying to figure out where to attend, the future job market is a topic near and dear to this writer's heart. Believe me.
As a teenager I spent a few weeks one summer working at a very popular food stand at the Wisconsin State Fair. "Very popular" is an understatement — the stand serves thousands of people each day, with some customers I spoke with driving from out of state just to eat there.
Skilled operators have been telling lawmakers and regulators that they are the cheapest post-acute care option out there, and it appears the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has not only heard the claim, but wants to take the industry up on it.
If there's an area that I would argue is as bad as it was when I wrote about it in 2012, it would be how-long term care operators handle a public relations crisis.
When I was very young, my parents used to chuckle at how I, a through-and-through suburban kid, would rise so early and turn on the TV to watch ... the farm report.
What happens when a resident's wishes clash with the regulations with which long-term care providers must comply?
It wasn't too long ago that thousands of nursing homes were fleeing the Medicaid program.
One of the common refrains you heard last week as the GOP healthcare plan marched to its demise was Republicans saying that "we're letting perfect be the enemy of good."
If you need a little encouragement to stay positive next time something goes awry, look no further than this story from the New York Times.
Skilled care operators have their work cut out for themselves. But I have to say I'm feeling better about the sector's prospects after spending some time at last week's NIC Spring Investment Forum in San Diego.
Hearing the phrase "root cause analysis" always strikes a bit of fear into my heart because it always seems to be a complex process. In long-term care, this is often framed as not only knowing that a resident fell, for example, but why she fell.
We found some long-term care employees willing to talk about how their managers make a real impact by giving help. These are long-term care managers who talk the talk AND walk the walk — and earn the admiration of workers.
For all the benefits that end-of-life care talks can bring, a new study indicates that even when such talks take place, patients' preferences aren't always understood or effectively communicated. In total, just 20% of the surrogates interviewed correctly predicted the veterans' end-of-life care preferences.
As Momma used to say, not everyone who wears respectable clothes is respectable.
The most delightful story in politics this week leads us to some great tips for getting to know your co-workers better, and includes a reference to Willie Nelson. What could be better than that?
Whoever said politics makes strange bedfellows could have a field day with this one.
I don't mean to make your lives more difficult by adding another issue onto that pile, but according to a recent survey from the National Safety Council, there's a problem plaguing American workplaces that needs addressing: prescription drug abuse.
The long-term care industry's worst fears about what a Trump healthcare plan might contain have not just been met after last week's unveiling, they have been far exceeded.
As a long-term care provider — and very importantly, employer — you might not be thinking about the full costs of what the House's newly proposed health insurance plan could be. Let's break it down.
Tuesday's statement from the American Health Care Association on Republicans' plan to repeal and replace Obamacare was striking. There was no walking a tightrope or mealy-mouthed ambiguity in it.
From adding cheerleaders to finding backgammon partners and sharing farming advice, a collaboration project between a CCRC and Fresno State students has been a rousing success.
Quite a few skilled care operators tend to look at assisted living as being not quite equal. Many on the skilled side tend to see themselves as being a bit, ahem, more qualified.
While most businesses offer at least two weeks of vacation at a minimum, the topic of a recent article in Crain's caught my eye: Companies offering unlimited vacation.
I'd say the thing we write about most often in this line of work is payment issues. As a long-term care provider, you are eternally under pressure with whether there will be enough to pay for everything.
I've been in a fight with my computer monitor for the past couple of days. The screen was crisp and bright looking, but after a few hours I'd start getting a headache. I had been blaming that on a lack of coffee, until I started doing some research.
Long-term care operators tend to be a nervous lot. Rightfully so.
For all of our interest in cognitive training for dementia patients, we are nagged by knowing that studies on the topic have varied in quality and reliability.
Finally. That's was my silent reaction when I received the email from a top long-term care provider last week. What took so long? I still wonder.
There's a significant facet of the coming "silver tsunami" that most providers might be overlooking, according to a recently published report.
How often do you, as an administrator, CEO or manager, ask for feedback of colleagues? What I'm talking about is a casual conversation related to improving quality and strengthening company culture, especially with employees lower on the totem pole.
A very wise man once told me that when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
With former Georgia Congressman Tom Price confirmed as the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services, it's time to turn the focus on the person picked by President Donald Trump to helm the agency most closely linked to long-term care.
On Friday, Dr. Tom Price was sworn in as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Long-term care operators should cast a wary eye toward the new HHS boss for two reasons: Medicaid and Medicare. By all accounts, he plans to make changes to both programs that just might pose an existential threat to this field.
Sessions at the LeadingAge Institute covered the need to have documentation and delegation to reduce nursing liability, and another reflected an in-house counsel's perspective on hot legal topics.
Don't uncork the champagne just yet. That was my sentiment in August when a federal court ruled that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had come up short in its obligation to educate beneficiaries and providers about the historic Jimmo settlement. It's also my view today.