One of my former colleagues, who had moved to the healthcare sector from television, shared with me the story of how she began her new job and was told, "Oh, yeah, you can figure out the budget, right?" Administrators with limited budgeting experience might hesitate to make big investments, but when it comes to hand hygiene, spending a little more today could lead to big savings down the line.
The Minimum Data Set helps determine how resident care is classified and reimbursed. Because it drives providers' fate, virtually from start to finish, providers cling to any nugget they can glean about it. That's why newly released study findings prove so intriguing.
The government report on adverse events in post-acute care that was released yesterday shines a light on issues of real concern. However, as long-term care stakeholders and regulators consider the implications of the report and ways to reduce the number of adverse events, I'd suggest a companion report to be read alongside it: "Is Excessive Paperwork in Care Homes Undermining Care for Older People?"
Long-term care providers go to great lengths to keep residents out of harm's way. But it appears that the data many operators count on might be anything but safe.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican governor taking more Medicaid funding.
In the most comfortable of circumstances, it can be difficult to discuss sexual assault. Mention it as an issue in long-term care, and even seasoned administrators wince.
As someone who considers words so central to his existence, both personally and professionally, I suppose it's only natural I was sucked into this. Call me a willing victim.
Brookdale Senior Living's acquisition of Emeritus Corp. is part of an ambitious strategy to make Brookdale the first truly national U.S. eldercare brand. So is it ominous that the Feb. 20 merger announcement came three days after The New Yorker ran a piece arguing that the age of powerhouse brands is ending?
Former House speaker Tip O'Neill famously said that all politics is local. Until last week, the same might have been said about senior living.
As my dear mother used to say, it's a rare cloud that doesn't offer some kind of silver lining.
The takeaway in a story last week about extrapolation and Medicare overpayments is, natch, how meticulous providers should be when filing claims — and to understand how individual claim problems can grow. And, boy, can they grow.
For the long-term care operator who still thinks rehospitalizations are really just a worry for hospitals, it's time to think again. Researchers are narrowing in on why nursing homes don't always do what they're asked to by referring hospitals.
Which would make you happier: walking onto your porch on a sunny morning or taking snapshots from the top of the Eiffel Tower? How about: having a long, fun conversation with your child or going to a Bob Dylan concert?
Almost exactly two decades ago, we saw a huge push to move residents from nursing homes into home-based settings. But a funny thing happened once the number crunchers started doing the math. It soon became clear that such a shift would actually increase long-term care costs. Not surprisingly, the plan was given a quiet, decent burial
Even if you are blessed to have a wonderful spouse, any animal lover will tell you: There's nothing like hugging a dog at the end of a long day or when you're feeling sad.
What makes McKnight's 8th Online Expo such a good fit for providers is the way it goes about its business. Once again at the end of March, it will come in the form of five national experts, delivering five one-hour sessions on a diversity of topics important to your job. Attendees can earn free CEs. And it's all free.
When Philip Seymour Hoffman died on Feb. 2, the world lost one of its great actors — and one of the most persuasive voices to speak out about the pitfalls of the changing long-term care system in the United States.
Major League teams don't celebrate World Series victories midway through the season. But politicians do the equivalent all the time. Consider a revised Medicare payment plan that was joyously unveiled on Thursday.
Faceboook turned 10 this week and has essentially changed the way more than a billion people connect with each other via the Internet. But what's to be done when one of those people is an employee who is sharing harmful workplace information?
Most journalists immediately ask "What's in it for them?" when finding out a big company is doing something that appears moral and draws wide praise. That was certainly true of CVS Caremark's announcement Wednesday that it would stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products on Oct. 1.
When it comes to worries about how Medicare doctors will be paid, nursing home operators have thought they should stand at the front of a long and anxious line. Truth be told, they have some stiff competition for the "most nervous" title.
Registered nurse, physical therapist and nurse practitioner are three of the top 10 jobs in the United States, according to new rankings from U.S. News and World Report. This might come as a big surprise to anyone who's been following the recent news in McKnight's.
When you talk to experts in this field about the year ahead, an unsettling pattern soon emerges. Almost everyone seems fairly confident that regulators will be taking a much closer look at operators.
Long-term care professionals must be on hand to work the dreaded third shift, given the 24/7 nature of the job. For some caregivers, that means extra difficulties getting through an overnight shift. New research has your back if you're one of those struggling in the wee hours.
It is tempting to run to my internist and beg for an antibiotic to stem what could be a sinus infection, but is more likely, much like the polar vortex, a cold that won't go away. I was reminded of the need to hold back by a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine that reminds us that nearly half the antibiotic prescriptions given for respiratory infections are incorrect, as the majority of the diseases in question are viruses.
I suppose it's only fitting that during the week of the season's biggest football game, Washington healthcare wonks are discussing a potential huge punt of their own.
At this point, you're well aware that the Affordable Care Act is putting pressure on post-acute providers to partner with hospitals and physician groups. A recent whistleblower case in California highlights just how important this systemic transformation is — but another legal battle making headlines underscores how difficult it might be to "right size" the U.S. healthcare system.
It's funny, most of the time, Congress gets along about as well as the Hatfields and the McCoys. But if there is one thought that seems to unify our elected officials, it's this: Nursing homes and other providers must be receiving too many tax dollars.
Conventional wisdom can be a reassuring thing. Especially when it reinforces our suspicions. But it has a fatal flaw: Sometimes it can be flat-out wrong. Consider 94-year-old Olga Kotelko.
While the story of former Gov. McDonnell and his wife's alleged excess may make us shake our heads, it did remind me of the slippery slope many in business or politics can fall down when it comes to gifts.
The main focus of any long-term care operation is usually the residents' wants and needs. Caregivers typically dole out huge helpings of personal emotional energy along the way. But they might be getting it wrong, researchers say.
Watching the Australian Open tennis tournament, where temperatures have been hovering around 110 degrees, has helped my recovery from the recent polar vortex. It's also unexpectedly prompted me to reflect on the aging process and to imagine myself residing in a long-term care facility.
What is it that truly sets your community apart?
Journalism, like long-term care, is a smaller world than one may think.
It's been said for a long time that a picture is worth a thousand words. Moving pictures? Start multiplying the worth. Add some sound or speaking to those moving pictures, well now we're talking really, really big impact. Long-term care providers are hoping so.
Challenging the Affordable Care Act's "contraception mandate" in court is a matter of conscience, according to The Little Sisters of the Poor. It's hard to fault people for following their moral compass. But I wonder if the Catholic long-term care provider has gotten the latest memos from Rome.
Ever hear the one about what nursing homes have in common with lawyers and policemen? All three are awful - until you need them.
A bizarre thing happened when ESPN named its Athlete of the Century. The self-proclaimed world leader in sports apparently forgot that the 20th Century also included years predating 1990.
As a fan of titles, rules, and hierarchy (I would have made an excellent British subject), I greeted news of Zappo's new "holacracy," with a measure of fascination and horror.
Lost somewhere amid all the cookie baking, holiday parties and merry-making near the end of the year was nursing home operators' most optimistic story of 2013. The public has an all-time high opinion of you.
Janice N. Harrington worked as a nursing home aide in college, and she drew on that experience to write "The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home." This book-length collection of poems vividly describes the daily routines and grapples with the philosophical concerns of long-term care, including the complexities of aging, the burdens and rewards of caregiving, and the inevitably of death.
A new year is once again upon us. Among other things, that means you will probably be exposed to more than a few forecasts of the year-ahead-in-long-term-care variety.
What do neck abnormalities, dangerous bacteria, a murder-suicide, a defensive nursing home chain, and antipsychotic guidelines have in common? These five developments were voted the most popular news stories appearing on the McKnight's website during 2013.
Despite one's best intentions for 2014, there will be days when you feel like you are failing your residents, your coworkers, your family or yourself.
An old college friend spent one summer delivering pizzas. For reasons that will soon be obvious, I won't reveal his name.
In case you haven't noticed, "quality" is quite the buzzword in long-term care these days.
We are creatures who live in the moment, especially this time of year, when it feels like downtime is spent running from a holiday party to wrapping presents to readying the house for guests.
If you're feeling the suction of the end-of-year vortex grabbing you, you're certainly not alone. Whether it's holiday preparations, work deadlines, challenging weather or a combination of them, you have company. Even if it's just me, you would have company.
A small-town conflict over signage has pitted a New Hampshire nursing home against its neighbors -- and might suggest some larger trends in long-term care.
Two questions give senior living leaders countless hours of lost sleep. The first seems fairly objective: What does it take to be successful in this field? The second is about as personal as it gets: Do I have what it takes?
It has been said the rear view mirror offers little help when trying to navigate the road ahead. But it's tough to know where to go if you don't know where you've been — or even where you are.
It's rare that results of a new study, especially with a product focus, excite me. That's not to say I don't appreciate reading about a vendor's award, or the latest Alzheimer's study, but I see these more objectively than, say, the release Monday about a new option for glaucoma treatment. That's news where I thought, "Wow!"
What the long-term care insurance market could use right now is a healthy dose of capitalism. It ain't gonna happen.
Minnesota appears to be on the ball when it comes to long-term care. It regularly rates at or near the top when states are ranked on LTC services. Yet, Minnesota also is on the leading edge of a more troublesome long-term care trend, and it's something we all should be paying attention to.
It's hardly a mystery why more long-term care facilities are putting independent contractors in place: lower costs. Operators can save almost a third on wages by avoiding payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, worker's compensation coverage and other benefits directed toward regular employees, experts say.
Should there be any doubt that some long-term care providers have a persecution complex, it's evident in a response to Tim Mullaney's blog Tuesday.
Depending on the numbers you choose to believe, senior living profit margins are a razor thin 3% — or more like 20%. Regardless, many would like to believe operators are engaging in a fairly despicable business practice: intentionally underpaying the help.
A common quip has been that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Now, there's a long-term care provider who's hoping to prove that the stomach is also the way to the brain.
Long-term care workers and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services employees might have a lot in common — and that's not entirely good news.
Like many bad habits, the overuse of antipsychotics is not going down without a fight. Still, there are reasons for long-term optimism.
There's a tremendous lack of evidence-based research practices in nursing homes and much of what happens every day is based on belief rather than fact. We need to embrace research as a way to improve quality standards for long-term care residents.
Billy Beane's data-driven approach to baseball recruiting made the Oakland A's a winning franchise, inspired a Brad Pitt movie — and might soon change the way long-term care operators hire staff.
When you buy a pack of cigarettes in this country, you also get an admonition from the Surgeon General. Why? To point out how dangerous going near tobacco products can be.
Say what you will about bad bosses: They always seem to create great stories. But not usually as intended.
To give credit where it's due, when the New York Times does a story on nursing homes, it tends to give up enough space to get multiple sides, not to mention sources that include the industry checklist of Professional People With Thoughts.
If you've ever been involved with salary negotiations, you might have some idea of what's going on among Medicare officials, long-term care advocates and hospital lobbyists. It would be kind of amusing if it weren't so painful for so many.
There's been a lot of talk lately about what constitutes "comprehensive" health insurance coverage — and long-term care notably has not been part of this national conversation.
Not all the news out of Congress these days is bad. Last week, the House passed long-overdue legislation that fines plaintiffs who file frivolous lawsuits.
It's no secret that our nation's long-term care facilities need additional caregivers. More than 43,000 direct care staff positions remain unfilled, according to figures from the American Health Care Association.
I'd like to propose a suggestion for a fun party trick. Ask those around you which profession was more dangerous in terms of injuries in 2012: Mining, forestry and logging, or working in a nursing home.
Of all the clever and eye-opening things encountered at the recent LeadingAge annual conference in Dallas, a particularly dear one was unfortunately tucked off to the side. Relatively few might have seen it. After all, we all could use more happiness in our lives.
Alzheimer's researchers — or the public relations machines breathlessly trumpeting their work — should chill out. I see so much of this type of Alzheimer's news that it's hard to get excited when yet another AD press release comes in. So it was with a reluctant click of the mouse that I opened an Alzheimer's-related report from the New York Academy of Sciences last week. I'm glad that I did.
What boss wouldn't want to have Kathleen Sebelius for a deputy?
We know that speaking two languages has positive effects, ranging from an ability to switch between tasks to cognitive quickness in older adults.
Two big reactions hit me when news of Johnson & Johnson's $2.2 billion Risperdal settlement with the government landed this week. First, J&J probably made a lot more than it's paying out and, second, some individual probably is going to cash a nice paycheck for bringing it all to light.
McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.
James M. Berklan
Elizabeth Leis Newman