This 'crackdown' should really melt your cheese

John O'Connor
John O'Connor

Can someone please tell me exactly what “melty cheese” is?

Recent radio commercials for two fast-food outlets (McDonald's and Subway) have been eagerly promoting this sandwich accessory.

While the product may exist in advertising copy, it is apparently not to be found elsewhere. But as far as I can tell, no state regulators are cracking down on either firm for lauding something that, technically speaking, does not actually exist.

Admittedly, this may be a trifling observation. But it helps illustrate a larger matter. There has been nary a word of concern raised over melty cheese. The “Massachusetts 51” have not been quite so fortunate. These operators — who number more than four dozen — are being publicly harangued and fined by state officials who apparently couldn't wait to make a point.

For the uninitiated, Massachusetts regulators accused the facilities in question of erroneously advertising dementia care services. Sounds pretty cut-and-dried, right? But here's the thing: The facility-website reviews that landed these operators in trouble were conducted on Aug. 23, just two days after the state had changed guidance in this area. Yes, two days.

Never mind that many if not most of these facilities typically receive high marks during annual surveys. The state said, “Jump!” and they didn't get off the ground quickly enough apparently. With all due respect, that hardly seems fair. And it reeks of a “gotcha” mindset that is all too common among state regulators.

Look, I'm hardly saying operators should get away with deceptive advertising. They shouldn't. In fact, all facilities should be held fully accountable for the care they deliver, and need to reputably promote their capabilities. But common sense would indicate that operators should be given a bit more time than two days to adjust to a new directive.

Moreover, given all the truly dubious and intentionally misleading advertising that hits all of us each day, the rapid crackdown on the Massachusetts 51 seems especially curious.

Makes you wonder what would happen to these operators if they promised to deliver something that was truly made up, like melty cheese.

John O'Connor is McKnight's Editorial Director. 

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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 Emily Mongan.

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