To get it right, providers need to get off track

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James M. Berklan, Editor
James M. Berklan, Editor
It's interesting how some of the best old sayings come back in modern forms time and time again.

That's what struck me after reading a news item we posted at mcknights.com Monday: “Established nursing home business practices will soon change, expert warns.”

The item was deftly reported from a regional seniors housing conference in Florida that same morning by McKnight's Executive Editor John O'Connor. He covered a talk given by one of the brightest young minds analyzing senior care today, Dan Mendelson, Avalere Health's CEO.

The core message: Things are changing, and things will continue to change for long-term care operators. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Yet many professionals forget that if you don't stop to sit and gaze at the river flowing by you every now and then, you could just keep walking along side it and never realize what forces are at work.

For long-term care providers, it means they are going to have to more actively pursue relationships beyond their walls. If they want a steady flow of clients, that is. It will be “stay at the office and wait for the telephone to ring at your own peril.” As well it should be.

According to Mendelson, it also means that operators can't be complacent. New efficiencies must always be sought, if only to contend with constricting government reimbursement. And, as always, it seems, more emphasis should be put on hiring and retaining good staff members. When the pressure builds, you need to have confidence in those who are working around you.

Looking at the headline again, I don't know if it really should be a “warning” that business practices will change. That sounds ominous or wrong, or unexpected. I guess it depends on whether or not you're ready for change. Of course, everyone should be ready, at virtually all times. “Established,” after all, is just code for “ready to be upgraded.”

Will Rogers is responsible for the old saying I refer to in the opening line above. It's as valid today as it was more than 75 years ago when he first uttered it. Each of us would be wise to keep it in mind: “Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.”

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Daily Editors' Notes

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.

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