Three things that won't happen in long-term care during 2018

Three things that won't happen in long-term care during 2018

Last week I offered three fearless predictions for the year ahead in long-term care. So without further ado, here are three predictions every long-term care operator can count on. As in, count on NOT to occur.

Nursing homes catching a break? What do you think?

Nursing homes catching a break? What do you think?

When stuff hits the fan, it's often all a matter of perspective. That's the pickle nursing homes find themselves in today.

Watching out for the hungry HIPAA

Watching out for the hungry HIPAA

Amid all the focus on new rules for nursing homes, we can't forget the old ones and the need to audit, train and document.

3 bold predictions for the coming year in long-term care

3 bold predictions for the coming year in long-term care

There's nothing like a budding new year to awaken that urge in scribes to warn better-informed readers what to expect. It must be some kind of occupational hazard. So in the spirit of not always being right but never being in doubt, here are three predictions you can take to the bank.

And the Long-Term Care Newsmaker of the Year is ...

And the Long-Term Care Newsmaker of the Year is ...

There's never been a newsier time in the world of senior care. Numerous huge issues and personalities have shaped the last 12 months. But there's one clear choice for who should be "The Long-Term Care Newsmaker of the Year."

Certain healthcare words are worth fighting for

Certain healthcare words are worth fighting for

Last week, long-term care providers likely celebrated the slashing of regulations announced by the Trump administration. This week, they should be appalled by a move that may impact how they do their jobs.

Yes, the regulatory picture is actually improving

Yes, the regulatory picture is actually improving

Believe it or not, the overall picture has been improving. And it might get even better in 2018.

Disaster or learning opportunity?

Disaster or learning opportunity?

It pays to know that amid the byzantine architecture of the Department of Health and Human Services there are QIN-QIOs. That's Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Networks for those with plenty of ink in their cartridges.

A MRSA vaccine may be on the horizon

A MRSA vaccine may be on the horizon

If a MRSA vaccine could be developed for adults, it could potentially save nursing homes a lot of money, not to mention reset some of our infection control protocols.

A no-brainer plan for Medicare and Medicaid

A no-brainer plan for Medicare and Medicaid

But for those of you who think outrageous political trickery is dead, please let me point you in the direction of Capitol Hill. For we appear to be in the midst of one of the better con jobs to come along in quite some time, and it's threatening your supply of Medicare and Medicaid dollars.

Now that it's teed up, providers need to keep an eye on this ball

Now that it's teed up, providers need to keep an eye on this ball

Golfing great Jack Nicklaus had an insightful comment that long-term care providers might find helpful as they struggle with day-to-day tasks.

Give yourself the gift of chilling out this holiday season

Give yourself the gift of chilling out this holiday season

Taking time to step back and reevaluate how you're using your time — and if you're a manager, how your employees are faring this time of year — can pay off big time.

A provider lesson in saying goodbye gracefully

A provider lesson in saying goodbye gracefully

I was impressed recently when I saw the press release announcing that Villa Healthcare was closing its Villa at River Parkway in Milwaukee in March.

Tax bill reveals a great divide in long-term care

Tax bill reveals a great divide in long-term care

One of the more interesting aspects of the epic battle over the tax reform bill has been this sector's response. One major long-term care organization continues to blast proposed changes while the other has remained largely silent.

A reason for providers to smile amid so much angst

A reason for providers to smile amid so much angst

Sure, a tax overhaul bill that has a significant segment of providers quivering is picking up steam and should be on the president's desk soon. But there's also other legislation being considered that should have providers acting like tiny tots with their eyes all aglow.

Let nurses take the wheel

Let nurses take the wheel

At the end of the day, who's really making sure a resident's move to a skilled nursing facility is the right one?

CMS gives providers a mug with a gift card

CMS gives providers a mug with a gift card

Never have Rolling Stones' lyrics come faster into my head than when I saw the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would give an 18-month enforcement delay for certain Phase 2 regulations.

Fire, rain and the elephant on the 40th floor

Fire, rain and the elephant on the 40th floor

You never know when freak storms or unexpected fires might strike. But you can be sure that if and when one does, angry people will line up to demand that you be held more accountable.

How does your staff feel about person-centered care?

How does your staff feel about person-centered care?

For just about every study, conference talk or article touting the benefits of person-centered care in nursing homes, it seems an argument can be raised to dispute the findings.

When leaders leave

When leaders leave

Diane Carter's decision "was one of the toughest I've made," she says.

How nursing homes can put themselves out of business: skimp on tech

How nursing homes can put themselves out of business: skimp on tech

When you read between the lines, the troubling message in a new study is this: Skilled care operators had better stop being tech cheapskates — before it's too late.

Hollywood Hills owners up off the mat, courtroom drama all but guaranteed

Hollywood Hills owners up off the mat, courtroom drama all but guaranteed

Lawyers and legal finaglings are rich fodder for some of the most popular movies and television productions ever made. Get ready for another big show in that regard, and long-term care will be at its core.

An unexpected consequence of workplace violence

An unexpected consequence of workplace violence

The healthcare industry is well aware of the consequences of workplace violence. With workplace violence-related injuries in the sector clocking in at nearly five times the rate as the private sector as a whole, it'd be hard not to.

Perceptions of stress impact our views on promotion

Perceptions of stress impact our views on promotion

It would be unusual to find anyone working in the long-term care industry who wouldn't regularly think of themselves as stressed.

Work shirts and staff attitudes

Work shirts and staff attitudes

For most of his adult life, my dad was an operating engineer for Sears Roebuck & Company. He wore shirts with its name almost non-stop. Such choices might not reveal much. Then again, they could be quite telling

Why the new 'Best Workplaces in Aging Services' list matters so much

Why the new 'Best Workplaces in Aging Services' list matters so much

Providers around the country should share the enthusiasm for Fortune magazine's new "Best Workplaces in Aging Services" list. All of them will benefit from the good vibes the list will generate.

Embracing — and encouraging — online reviews

Embracing — and encouraging — online reviews

It's time again to talk about an issue that's been increasingly on healthcare providers' minds in recent years — and will probably only continue to grow more urgent: patients' online reviews.

What not to do when criticized

What not to do when criticized

If you want to see the trickle-down impact of lowering the bar related to our expectations of public political decorum, look no farther than Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R).

A new way to think about long-term care funding

A new way to think about long-term care funding

During a talk last Monday at the LeadingAge conference, Harvard Professor Jennifer McCrea served up an interesting take on the warping nature of money.

New LeadingAge board chair declares it's time to play ball

New LeadingAge board chair declares it's time to play ball

Several thousand LeadingAge members got their first look at new board chairman Steve Fleming on Monday, and if initial meetings are any indication, it's going to be a wonderful relationship.

Shining a light on domestic violence within your staff

Shining a light on domestic violence within your staff

Domestic abuse can harm a workplace from the outside, with victims reporting higher rates of lost productivity, absenteeism and difficulty focusing on work due to their abuse. In nursing homes, domestic violence has led to headline-grabbing tragedies, including the case of two employees and a police officer shot to death in May by the estranged boyfriend of a nurse.

What we can (still) learn from Dr. Ruth

What we can (still) learn from Dr. Ruth

It shouldn't have been surprising to see the throngs of folks lined up to see Dr. Ruth Westheimer, speaking during LeadingAge's annual conference on Monday. She fittingly fronted an exhibit called Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll, and it was inspiring.

Nursing shortage relief from an unexpected source

Nursing shortage relief from an unexpected source

When it comes to skilled-care staffing, the future outlook is bleak. If it's possible, the situation for nurses might be even worse. But at least a partial solution could be in the offing from a surprising source.

Therapy caps a big step closer to extinction

Therapy caps a big step closer to extinction

Could this really be happening? Medicare Part B therapy caps took a huge step toward vanishing for good on Thursday.

Time for some Halloween magic — senior style

Time for some Halloween magic — senior style

It's recently come to my attention that some people haven't seen the greatest Halloween movie of all time. No, it's not a slasher flick or anything that relies too heavily on jump scares. I'm talking about the 1993 masterpiece "Hocus Pocus."

Isolated nurses and the crisis of LTC identity

Isolated nurses and the crisis of LTC identity

A new English study is both interesting and concerning related to long-term care nurses. These nurses feel isolated and excluded compared to others in the healthcare profession, and that can have big implications for you.

Are you ready for some political football?

Are you ready for some political football?

Well you just knew things were about to start getting nasty for Florida nursing homes. That's what generally happens when more than a dozen residents die for reasons that are hard to believe.

The hell with this guy

The hell with this guy

Speaking at the same Mandalay Bay complex in Las Vegas from which a "madman" committed the deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history just two weeks earlier, American Health Care Association CEO Mark Parkinon delivered a bold, unscripted edict.

What's on LTC's 'to-don't' list?

What's on LTC's 'to-don't' list?

My main takeaway from a key speech Monday is likely something that hit home for others in the audience as well: we should focus less on what we should be doing, and more on what we shouldn't.

The 20-mile march in LTC

The 20-mile march in LTC

It's rare for smart leaders in any industry to not be familiar with Jim Collins, especially his signature work, "Good to Great."

Promising signs on the regulatory front

Promising signs on the regulatory front

President Trump is no fan of regulations, and long-term care operators have more than their fair share to contend with. So it's a welcome breeze when Trump says he wants to start eliminating some regulations. But the industry ought to do something more on its own.

Here's a road map to the LTC leaders you should be following

Here's a road map to the LTC leaders you should be following

You could make good use of talking pens, drone technology and a program that brings 70% reduction in incontinent episodes, right? Yes, you could — just like your fellow providers have.

Could end-of-life care be getting worse?

Could end-of-life care be getting worse?

With more providers and patients than ever focusing on palliative and hospice care, shouldn't the quality improve at least a little bit? Not necessarily.

Stop claiming 'resident rights' in discrimination cases

Stop claiming 'resident rights' in discrimination cases

Administrators wiser than me have offered advice on what to do when there's a racist resident.

Time for long-term care to go postal?

Time for long-term care to go postal?

One of my favorite gone-off-the-rails fundraising stories involves one of my former college roommates.

Nurse staffing crisis averted? Thank the millennials

Nurse staffing crisis averted? Thank the millennials

It's your friendly neighborhood millennial here, back with some exciting news about the age cohort that's been mystifying employers and apparently annoying everyone else over the past decade or so — we might have just helped the healthcare industry avoid a huge problem.

Failing better

Failing better

As the week begins with even worse-than-usual news — on many fronts — I decided to forego what I was going to write about (interpreting the OIG's latest report) and make a recommendation.

Is it time for operators to focus on small ball?

Is it time for operators to focus on small ball?

Rick Matros tweaked more than a few noses last week when he made some rather disparaging remarks about the benefits of investing in behemoths. As he sees it, there pretty much are none.

Gingrich: Providers able to fix workforce problems themselves

Gingrich: Providers able to fix workforce problems themselves

Newt Gingrich tells long-term care providers not to wait for the government to fix their staffing challenges. He also claims some relatively easy solutions are at operators' fingertips.

Urban opportunities for providers

Urban opportunities for providers

When you think of the top places people want to retire to, the location that comes to mind probably isn't a huge, bustling city.

The value of RN-to-BSN programs

The value of RN-to-BSN programs

The idea of a BSN programs should be a big draw to long-term care RNs.

Biting off your nose to spite Obama's face

Biting off your nose to spite Obama's face

It's hard to describe how incredibly dangerous and stupid the latest GOP effort to replace Obamacare really is. But I'll try.

When no comment says a lot: A tale for nursing homes and hospitals

When no comment says a lot: A tale for nursing homes and hospitals

One should never forget that some of the most brutal fights occur between brothers or sisters.

Gear up for another healthcare payment fight

Gear up for another healthcare payment fight

Watching the GOP try to force through its latest healthcare reform plan, which would once again hit Medicaid hard, I was reminded of something my mother used to jokingly say: "It's like deja vu all over again."

Time to increase your dose of overprescribing education

Time to increase your dose of overprescribing education

It turns out seniors who might be victims of overprescribing recognize it an issue all too well, according to new research.

Here we go again: All nursing homes are bad

Here we go again: All nursing homes are bad

There is no way to sugarcoat what happened last week in Hollywood Hills, FL. Eight skilled care residents died in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Our condolences go out to the victims and their families. But there is another troubling aspect to this that deserves attention. Namely, it's becoming clear that nursing home bashing is in vogue again.

Provider gives perfect response to Hurricane Harvey evacuation critics ... and then gets taken to court

Provider gives perfect response to Hurricane Harvey evacuation critics ... and then gets taken to court

Late last week, I latched onto what I thought — and still think — is a great example of how a provider should respond to a bad public relations incident. We're talking standing up to critics in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

EHRs that suck away the physician's soul

EHRs that suck away the physician's soul

It's not a secret that in long-term care, direct-care workers often resent physicians.

Who's thriving? Here's the shopping list for it

Who's thriving? Here's the shopping list for it

People most likely to thrive are ... (drumroll please) ...

On second thought, I'll walk in my own shoes

On second thought, I'll walk in my own shoes

Nothing matters more to hospitals than the wellbeing of the people they serve. Well, there may be one thing — money. Maybe that's why you're unlikely to find any hospital commercials touting the remarkably loose ways they can define "observation status."

Do you pass the free-time test at work?

Do you pass the free-time test at work?

Now that summer is essentially over, can you say your employer is one of the better ones when it comes to vacation and warm-weather perks? More important, how do your choices rate? Many signs aren't good.

Harvey response brings heartfelt tugs from all of LTC

Harvey response brings heartfelt tugs from all of LTC

Amid the massive amount of tragic news related to Hurricane Harvey, there also have been many ways long-term care stakeholders have risen to the challenge. The list includes providers as well as the volunteers and suppliers who enable them to take care of those in their care.

Something new to think about for flu season

Something new to think about for flu season

Allow me to get ahead (slightly) of the deluge of news articles, press releases and conference sessions on influenza and vaccinations that are about to hit, with the results of a new study throwing a new wrench into vaccination efforts: race.

Out of the bad we shall find good

Out of the bad we shall find good

"Out of the bad we shall find good." That sounds kind of biblical, doesn't it? But I didn't hear it while sitting in a pew on a Sunday. It came from a resolute skilled nursing manager I was talking with a while back.

A Baptist Home blast from the past

A Baptist Home blast from the past

Coming from a long line of folks who hate to throw anything away, culling more than 250 books this summer from our house has been physically painful. But the cleaning also has resulted in some unexpected treasures.

Put on your boogie shoes — your brain will thank you

Put on your boogie shoes — your brain will thank you

I'm a fan of dancing. I've been known to bust a move in bars, at weddings, in school musicals and during obligatory dance breaks at college football games. But one thing I actively tried to avoid at all costs was dance workout classes — until recently.

Make arbitration an option — an obvious one

Make arbitration an option — an obvious one

Like so many other contemporary debates, the arbitration issue has degenerated into a talking-points battle.

You're not too busy to know this CMS news is good news

You're not too busy to know this CMS news is good news

It's nice to have friends in high places. Even better if she speaks of clearing regulatory clutter.

Regarding working, with help from Google

Regarding working, with help from Google

It's worth checking out Google's blog, "re: Work," which shares tools and documents used by Google managers, all for free.

In case you missed it, there's a new Medicare audit process coming

In case you missed it, there's a new Medicare audit process coming

it's understandable if a story we ran last — about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services revamping its Medicare audit process — slipped under your radar. Here's what you need to know to catch up.

Antipsychotics in skilled care: Finding the right dose won't be easy

Antipsychotics in skilled care: Finding the right dose won't be easy

It happens all the time in politics: After dissatisfied voters throw the rascals out, new rascals push back way too hard. Could the same thing happen to the use of antipsychotics in skilled care?

Can 575,000 people be wrong?

Can 575,000 people be wrong?

I found it stunning Tuesday when I read that more than a half million people had taken advantage of new Medicare coverage that pays for end-of-life discussions with their doctors.

Smartphones and hope for mental illness

Smartphones and hope for mental illness

Researchers at Dartmouth University are using smartphones in a new and interesting way. They've developed a plan for geriatric patients to better manage their mental illness.

Using the powers of Facebook for good, not evil

Using the powers of Facebook for good, not evil

As more people join social media and start voicing their opinions online, more long-term care consumers — like it or not — are likely to turn to social media ratings since government review sites often lack consumer perspective, authors of a new academic study assert.

Are you ready for some predictive scheduling?

Are you ready for some predictive scheduling?

What do workers in the long-term care, retail, hospitality and foodservice sectors have in common? Among other things, varied work schedules.

Finding the passion in long-term care

Finding the passion in long-term care

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.

And the award for most maligned part of long-term care goes to ...

And the award for most maligned part of long-term care goes to ...

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!"

Winning with the help of Trump

Winning with the help of Trump

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.

Person-centered confusion — and the value of a milkshake

Person-centered confusion — and the value of a milkshake

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.

How to police recidivist nursing homes: 3 strikes and you're out

How to police recidivist nursing homes: 3 strikes and you're out

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.

Will governors ride to providers' rescue?

Will governors ride to providers' rescue?

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.

Recruitment and retention tips direct from frontline workers

Recruitment and retention tips direct from frontline workers

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.

The costs of (not) saving time

The costs of (not) saving time

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.

Time to praise Medicaid and more regulations?

Time to praise Medicaid and more regulations?

If you see two providers having a pleasant conversation, it's unlikely they are discussing the joys of Medicaid -- or new regulations.

Medicare complainers line up here for help

Medicare complainers line up here for help

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.

How healthcare helps you get a job

How healthcare helps you get a job

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.

Active-shooter tips from a survivor — how to respond 'when seconds count'

Active-shooter tips from a survivor — how to respond 'when seconds count'

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.

Trump: Give nursing home employers a break or two — maybe more

Trump: Give nursing home employers a break or two — maybe more

President Trump may be struggling to kill Obamacare. But he is clearly enjoying early success in at least one area: labor policy.

Enraged about an unfair playing field for nursing home admissions

Enraged about an unfair playing field for nursing home admissions

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.

Good medicine at Good Samaritan

Good medicine at Good Samaritan

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.

Critical thinking tips from the happiest place on earth

Critical thinking tips from the happiest place on earth

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.

What's happening in the Senate is no thing of beauty

What's happening in the Senate is no thing of beauty

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.

Increasing understanding of Medicaid

Increasing understanding of Medicaid

When you leave the world of long-term care, you realize how much you know without even knowing it.

Nursing home marketing pros, this is your time to shine

Nursing home marketing pros, this is your time to shine

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.

Catching nurse impostors — if you can

Catching nurse impostors — if you can

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.

Laugh at Illinois if you must. Just don't be next.

Laugh at Illinois if you must. Just don't be next.

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? .

Why nursing homes can exhale — but not get complacent

Why nursing homes can exhale — but not get complacent

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.

One threat removed, but even bigger one remains

One threat removed, but even bigger one remains

Make no mistake: Long-term care providers will take a victory wherever they can, and the Trump administration's move to rescind the Obama administration's ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements is a win with a capital "W."

How do people really feel about the ACA?

How do people really feel about the ACA?

When it comes to social media, I tend to think providers worry a little too much.

The House just bet on tort reform. When will they ever learn?

The House just bet on tort reform. When will they ever learn?

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.