Editor’s desk

Love him or not, Trump could be your key man

Love him or not, Trump could be your key man

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Politics truly can make strange bedfellows. A great illustration of this could be the many nursing home operators who might think they don't like President-elect Donald Trump but really could end up loving him.

Nipping the improper Medicare pay in the bud

Nipping the improper Medicare pay in the bud

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Does the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services need its own deputy sheriff to set its house in order? Some seem to think so.

Jimmo 'victory' not as good as first appeared?

Jimmo 'victory' not as good as first appeared?

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Long-term care providers and consumer advocates were able to celebrate a rare common victory over federal regulators in mid-August.

Another ominous sign on the LTC insurance front

Another ominous sign on the LTC insurance front

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In olden days, if the leader of an army went down in battle, the rest of the troops were likely to founder because they were demoralized, directionless or simply had the fight taken out of them.

Proof HIPAA stakes may be higher than you think

Proof HIPAA stakes may be higher than you think

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Like a kid who's staying up past his bedtime right in front of his parents' noses, long-term care operators have been enjoying a pass for at least a few years when it comes to HIPAA crackdowns.

'Site-neutral' pay proposal has providers taking sides

'Site-neutral' pay proposal has providers taking sides

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erms about the value-based pay movement tend to spill into one another: bundled payments, accountable care organizations, managed care, site-neutral payments, and on and on.

A call for openness as sales of facilities churn

A call for openness as sales of facilities churn

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Nursing home chain executives might have been wincing when they saw news of yet another study apparently finding that they're doing a poor job.

Providers just have to look for their bright spots

Providers just have to look for their bright spots

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Long-term care operators have plenty of reasons to recoil and lick their wounds over the course of a year. But sometimes they need to seek the light and resist the "woe is us" mentality.

LTC's smart choice for president: Minnix in 1-6

LTC's smart choice for president: Minnix in 1-6

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By the time you're reading this, the nation could have a much better idea who will be slinging mud at one another this fall for the top office in the nation. One way or another, it hasn't been looking good for long-term care interests. Unless I get my way.

Winter storm leads us to warm stories, and a plan

Winter storm leads us to warm stories, and a plan

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It would be reasonable to think that a storm that caused dozens of deaths and the shutdown of federal government offices is a terrible event. But you would be only half right: A late-January blizzard in the mid-Atlantic states and its extreme conditions presented a prime opportunity to show the dedication of long-term care professionals.

McKnight's Online Expo: 'Virtual' success is reality

McKnight's Online Expo: 'Virtual' success is reality

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Think back to when you were 10 years old. You still had a big future ahead of you, but you had already seen a lot, you were on a roll and, wow, were you full of energy!

National standardized surveys in the works

National standardized surveys in the works

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The General Accountability Office typically features excellent researchers and writers. But it seems they might have "buried the lead," as we say in the journalism business, with their latest study concerning nursing homes.

Secrets to motivating staff as easy as 1-2-3

Secrets to motivating staff as easy as 1-2-3

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Best-selling author Daniel Pink laid it on the line at the recent LeadingAge annual meeting to vividly illustrate why simple "if-then" reward scenarios — which are suitable for basic tasks — won't cut it in long-term care.

A few words about this guy called Larry Minnix

A few words about this guy called Larry Minnix

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With the pending retirement of Larry Minnix as president and CEO of LeadingAge, I don't know whether to praise him or be fearful. I've always told him that he's such a good writer, he could take any journalist's job any time he wanted.

Say 'geeze!' —  more room cameras are on their way

Say 'geeze!' — more room cameras are on their way

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If you didn't work in long-term care and I asked you to specify what Illinois, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico have in common, we could be waiting for your answer for a very long time.

Talking about death — without the tomfoolery

Talking about death — without the tomfoolery

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The lessons keep flowing from the political debacle that has been Sarah Palin's political career. You'll recall it was Palin who launched the irresponsible phrase "death panels" into the stratosphere back in 2009, a time when conservatives and liberals were battling over the very life of the Affordable Care Act.

Conference for the ages develops personal touch

Conference for the ages develops personal touch

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When President Obama took the podium on the morning of July 13, he thrust aging and long-term care into a reinvigorated spotlight.

After Omnicare deal, all eyes turn to PharMerica

After Omnicare deal, all eyes turn to PharMerica

It's an odd thing to see the king of the jungle become the hunted instead of the hunter. But that's what happened when CVS announced it was buying Omnicare.

4th Tech Awards program a perfect chance to thrive

4th Tech Awards program a perfect chance to thrive

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I've learned after many years of covering long-term care that certain things are sure to arouse providers' anger — over-regulation, under-payment and reckless media accounts among them.

Not the ideal vision for taking care of business

Not the ideal vision for taking care of business

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Never mind the mantras about the long-term care profession being "high touch." The focus has been hijacked and it appears most providers are now consumed by documentation.

Editor's desk: Stars losing their luster for 'punished' providers

Editor's desk: Stars losing their luster for 'punished' providers

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One gets the feeling that federal regulators, no matter how proper the official talk went, took a bit of pleasure in sending a message to providers when recently rebasing their star ratings.

Feds' new pay-for-quality goals are OK, except ...

Feds' new pay-for-quality goals are OK, except ...

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Long-term care providers weren't outwardly jumping for joy when it was announced that Medicare is going to start paying for quality, and not quantity, of services.

Strength in unity is their prescribed motto, hope

Strength in unity is their prescribed motto, hope

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Growing up, we had a saying when we wanted to cross a busy street but couldn't catch a break from drivers. "C'mon," one of us would gamely yell, while pulling the others onto the roadway, "there's safety in numbers!" OK, so I still do it on occasion and sometimes we shout, "There's strength in numbers!"

ACO rule polishing could mean good things ahead

ACO rule polishing could mean good things ahead

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Federal health officials have signaled that they are intent on getting this accountable care organization thing right.

Does Genworth's news mean it's time to flee?

Does Genworth's news mean it's time to flee?

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There is a memorable scene in the movie "Forrest Gump" when Lt. Dan chews out the well-intentioned title soldier for saluting him while the enemy is likely watching. The implication is that if you want to strike a crushing blow to something, you take out its leader.

Making a quality bet on ACOs a risky proposition

Making a quality bet on ACOs a risky proposition

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If there's anything that's become clear about this ACO business lately, it's that it's not going to be as simple as A-B-C.

DOJ the latest to pile on in therapy-billing mess

DOJ the latest to pile on in therapy-billing mess

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Don't let anyone tell you that long-term care operators don't know how to read between the lines. They might not have known to fear a McKnight's Daily Update item before it appeared Sept. 8. But it quickly and definitely earned their attention — and apprehension.

Complainers, take note: This one is all for you

Complainers, take note: This one is all for you

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As a long-term caregiver, you get yelled at, told off, put down and dumped on regularly — and that's during good weeks.

Blockbuster productions that you want no part in

Blockbuster productions that you want no part in

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With another summer of huge movies nearly behind us, it's a good time for providers to exhale in relief. Or wonder anxiously if they have been on camera themselves. Especially if Mike DeWine would be the film's producer.

A 'special' feeling that no provider wants to have

A 'special' feeling that no provider wants to have

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As spring blends into summer, some nursing home operators are going to start feeling more heat. The federal government is moving to reclaim some form of "normalcy" after sequestration cuts lopped funding for many things, including its "very bad boys" list.

Long-term care to go Ivy League for new research

Long-term care to go Ivy League for new research

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It appears that the nation's largest association of nursing home operators has decided to buy itself a whole lot of credibility. I mean that only in a good way.

McKnight's Tech Awards here again to honor you

McKnight's Tech Awards here again to honor you

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Hidden gems are often the best kind. They surprise us and keep us hopeful and optimistic for the future. This is how I feel about McKnight's Technology Awards, the third annual version of which is being sponsored by Tena and started accepting entries this month.

Some good news (from MedPAC !): Quality rising

Some good news (from MedPAC !): Quality rising

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A funny thing happened on the way to a semi-annual eye rolling about a MedPAC report. It contained some information that could make long-term care providers happy.

A mind-blowing way to learn, with the right price

A mind-blowing way to learn, with the right price

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As a parent looking at options for a high school student about to enter college, I know why it seems like everyone talks about the high cost of education. It is high.

How's this for a change? Poll says they like you

How's this for a change? Poll says they like you

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Lost in the year-end shuffle was nursing home operators' most optimistic story of 2013: The public has an all-time high opinion of you.

LTC insurance groups need a better strategy

LTC insurance groups need a better strategy

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What the long-term care insurance market could use right now is a healthy dose of capitalism. But it isn't going to happen.

LTC to be a victim of the latest 'doc fix' proposal?

LTC to be a victim of the latest 'doc fix' proposal?

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Now, even three or four years down the road, the impression of the long-term care leader cowering like a guilty child is haunting.

Table talk: You have to listen to the right people

Table talk: You have to listen to the right people

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When we at McKnight's host a special roundtable discussion, I look forward to getting to know the esteemed participants. Captains of the profession, they typically have evolved from nurses, business managers and doctors into C-suite inhabitants — extremely observant top executives, in fact.

Providers to learn: never enough friends in play

Providers to learn: never enough friends in play

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Sometimes long-term care providers struggle to find meaning in the signs that are strewn in their path. Whether it's legalese, regulatory gobbledy-gook or some form of bureaucracy, uncertain messages confront providers seemingly every day.

Progress in the hospital 'observation stay' chaos

Progress in the hospital 'observation stay' chaos

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When you complain about bizarre government conditions or regulations, as columnists are wont to do, you usually have to assume you're just whispering into a stiff wind. But now comes word that no less than the Office of Inspector General of your Department of Health and Human Services is jumping on the bandwagon to change the hospital "observation stay" madness.

This new care model has  stitch-in-time approach

This new care model has stitch-in-time approach

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Every enterprise needs worker bees. Clearly, if the work is going to get done, those on the frontline — and elsewhere — must soldier on. But if an enterprise — be it a company, industry or other entity — is going to survive into the future, it also needs a visionary. Without forward-looking inspiration, any enterprise will surely fade, just as a houseplant will shrivel without mindful tending.

Something to hand all residents' families

Something to hand all residents' families

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Raise your hand if you've ever had a family that just didn't "get it" when dealing with the staff at your nursing home or long-term care facility. OK, put your hand down now. It's time to learn why Marie Marley could be your next best friend.

Long-term care wants its own 'fix' if docs get one

Long-term care wants its own 'fix' if docs get one

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If you hang around long enough, you learn there are only two things long-term care providers fear after Republicans and Democrats. That would be hospitals and doctors.

McKnight's second Tech Awards program is here

McKnight's second Tech Awards program is here

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I'm not going to worry too much about the Second Annual McKnight's Technology Awards program, which kicks off this month. The first one last year was a smashing success. I have no reason to believe there are any fewer proud and successful programs out there this year.

Power to the people? That could mean trouble

Power to the people? That could mean trouble

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There are plenty of legal concerns that keep nursing home administrators awake at night. Many times, the demons can be kept under the bed or locked in the closet. But not always.

Stereotypes predict the odds of rehab success

Stereotypes predict the odds of rehab success

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If you're like me, you're a big believer in the saying "Attitude determines altitude." Eldercare professionals should have this embedded in their minds — for their good and the benefit of those they care for.

Tired of the bum rap? Here's how to rise above

Tired of the bum rap? Here's how to rise above

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It's no wonder you, as a long-term care provider, might get fed up with the general media. Sometimes it has to seem that mass media journalists must sit around the office, wondering what they can do to score flash points with editors, plaintiff lawyers and talk shows.

Making it possible for good memories in 2013

Making it possible for good memories in 2013

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I'm fascinated with long-term care topics that at first blush seem to be speaking about residents, but upon closer reflection they could be even more interesting personally to long-term care professionals.

Where did 2012 go? It's really quite simple to see

Where did 2012 go? It's really quite simple to see

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By the time December rolls around, it's safe to say many thoughts are toward finishing the year on a high note. Or for pragmatists and forward-thinkers, setting up strongly for the flip of the calendar page.

Birth of a giant? Time will tell us if it's the right Rx

Birth of a giant? Time will tell us if it's the right Rx

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Not all association conventions are remembered equally. Some have dynamite entertainment, some a few great speakers. Often, it doesn't go much beyond that.

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