A time for providers to savor the good

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James M. Berklan
James M. Berklan

It's true that there is danger in not stopping to smell the roses. Yet, in long-term care, it's understandable if you do just that, given how many hassles are tossed your way. You might feel you never have time to make out the blooms from the stink bombs.

It's the nature of the business, and it's amplified if you're one of those dedicated-to-the-job types.

But it's time to take a step back and realize that those who are working at it are making progress.

A look at Tuesday's McKnight's Daily Update gave a stark reminder in that regard. The first news item heralded how providers, in aggregate, have reduced the unwarranted use of antipsychotics even more than they had hoped. This good news comes certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, no less.

Another news item told of a government investigation that found that providers are preparing “better than expected” for the Oct. 1 transition to ICD-10 codes.

Two hearty slaps on the back for long-term care in one day? A more expected scenario would have been some politician bellowing about continued overuse of antipsychotics, or federal regulators decrying a lack of movement toward coding changes.

Instead, it was lawmakers praising preparations for the ICD 10 changeover. And a federal agency documenting better-than-expected antipsychotics levels.

Somewhere, sure, there's a malcontent wondering why providers should be slapping themselves on the back after having such high antipsychotics use in the first place. And another pointing out that many providers are still sticking their heads in the sand regarding the debut of ICD-10.

But whether or not you agree, you have to step back and digest that “good news” arrived, and it wasn't just once. You also have to realize this: There's no turning back.

Providers will be called out and publicly flogged if they allow antipsychotics use to trend back up. Maybe even if they don't continue the progress.

And the ICD-10 update has come with a not-so-subtle message of its own: There is no way the switchover date is going to be bumped a third time. Here it comes, ready or not.

If you're a provider, why not keep up the winning streak and make sure you're on the good-news bandwagon?

It would beat the heck out of being subject to further negative headlines. The best thing is, the choice is yours.

Who says good news like Tuesday's has to be a rare thing?

James M. Berklan is McKnight's Editor. Follow him @JimBerklan.

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.