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

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James M. Berklan, Editor
James M. Berklan, Editor

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.

It's easy to forget some of the biggest battles of the year, or even some of its major high points. That much became surprisingly evident upon a review of what has made the largest headlines in long-term care in 2012.

Some of the biggest influencers made major moves or were tested severely. Why, it was just about a year ago when someone named Marilyn Tavenner wasn't even officially the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In January, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission went further than usual, calling for  a herculean overhaul of the entire prospective payment system.

Not long after, rehospitalization, the funky term that no longer befuddles spell-checkers, was just starting to seep into cover stories and major articles.

By late spring, it was time for the Supreme Court of the United States to take center stage as perhaps never before. Hyperventilation in virtually every political and caregiving corner took place. Yet it was also true that even many of long-term care's top leaders could simply only shrug their shoulders when asked if they had a feeling which way the Supremes would rule on the Affordable Care Act.

It was almost as if they had fallen into an antipsychotics-induced calmness that so many providers were being accused of administering to far too many residents.

Despite the highest court's surprising split-decision ruling in favor of “Obamacare” in July, much of the country still had in the back of its mind that a November election would mitigate, if not negate, the effect of the ruling. Obama's victory made it a moot point.

True to form, anxiety over funding — mostly about looming 2% Medicare sequestration cuts — grabbed the podium even before the voting machines had cooled. Agitation and paranoia would continue to rage among policy watchers as year-end bore down.  

All the better that retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) had recently introduced yet another measure that would scrutinize antipsychotics use closer than ever.  

If the drugs' flow ever does get diverted from the residents, I have a pretty good idea where they could be put to good use.
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