According to recent reports, more than 1,000 senior living operators in the Sunshine State still do not have back-up generators on the premises.
In general, I am loathe to make too much of differences between men and women, but that's especially true it comes to long-term care. After all, no matter who you are, chances are quality of life, dignity and proper treatment are important to residents and their families.
While leaders of both HCR ManorCare and its new parent company, the ProMedica healthcare system, brim with confidence over their new, joint capabilities, they realize there are whispers in the corridors and curiosity-seekers peeking around corners, not so sure that their grand new experiment is going to be a success.
After nearly three decades of watching this sector, I'm still astounded by two bizarre aspects of general media coverage.
A new that caught my eye found that 30 minutes of visually-guided movements per week can slow or even reverse the progress of dementia. This is good news.
Since the dramatic FBI raids became known three years ago, there have been few long-term care stories more compelling than the "looting" of American Seniors Communities by some of its former executives. Now, we know the rest of the story.
It's nice when something comes along that doesn't leave either management or labor holding its head. That appears to have happened Thursday when President Trump signed an executive order that might eventually give long-term care a boatload of new job-ready employees.
The headline stopped me in my tracks: "Nursing home sector on verge of collapse." It seemed a tad dire, even for an industry that seems to constantly predict disaster.
There's a new player on the long-term care scene and it makes no small plans. It's goal, in part, is to "enlighten" the rest of the profession with an employee-focused brand of care, as well technical innovation that could revolutionize resident response times and care.
We seem to breeding unprecedented numbers of self-righteous experts armed with warped perspectives. That's where "fake news" is doing its real damage. And by all accounts, things are only going to get worse.
You can set up employees for success by speaking up for breastfeeding coworkers.
College kids are often known for being creative. On this count, my friends and I could proudly be pronounced guilty.
Let's be clear: A tragedy last year wasn't a once-in-a-century outlier. It was a disaster waiting to happen.
Reflect for a moment, please, on your first job. The people you met, the lessons you learned, and how it influences you today.
I don't care how grand your area's Fourth of July parade or festivites might have been. The best parade I've heard about lately took place last month due to the efforts of a creative skilled nursing facility.
"This is going to be the wave of the future." If you happen to be a long-term care operator looking for words to live by, the above sentence is a pretty good choice.
A challenge for long-term care providers right now is figuring out what to expend mental energy on when it comes to news and policy reform.
The vision of a rough shaven wild West gunslinger comes to mind. A dirty-faced bandit who shoots up the floor under someone's feet, just to see him jump.
"Stand up, Dad," my daughter kept insisting. But there was simply no way that was going to happen. The setting was a major league baseball stadium. As part of a pregame tribute, the public address announcer had just requested that any fans who had served in the military please rise.
We all have something that we'll admit to getting a little geeky about.
Today, life is great. But in February, my pregnancy showed how quickly medical situations can take a nosedive and how medical students can be an asset to patients, and potentially your facility.
Do you do plenty of good work in your long-term care setting? Of course you do. Do you feel like the public knows this well enough? Of course you don't.
Regardless, my class took in the film as part of a field trip, which meant our teacher was obligated to talk about the basics of the scrivener's craft afterward.
Growing old, parting ways with your independence and having to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility seems like it would be difficult enough.
It seems if you want to stir up a sizable dustball of commotion these days, all it takes is a sprinkle of the word "antipsychotics" here and there. Trust us, we know.
If I'm going to be truthful about my Catholic school education, many of the lessons remain less memorable than the nuns who delivered them.
The impending wave of aging individuals, requiring all kinds of care and support, is unlike anything we've seen before. So, maybe long-term care's counterpunch should come from an unorthodox direction: Why not tap into millennial mojo before you encounter a boomer bust?
When the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services addressed a gathering of nursing home owners and operators Tuesday in Washington, it might not have been the HHS Secretary everyone had once hoped for. But at least he delivered his message straight and didn't drop any big surprises on anyone.
Another day, another love letter. This one comes from one of my less-than-adoring fans. I'll skip to the juicy part: "You fat, ignorant SOB. Why are you always picking on operators?"
Maybe we should come up with a few new expression to signify what's projected to be a doubling of Americans age 65-plus by 2060. The Aged Avalanche? Elderly Earthquake? Fragile Flood?
Why work so hard all year and take your eye off the ball now?
You would think the skilled care field would be doing a happy dance these days.
Suicide — a shadowy issue that most would prefer to ignore — is seemingly a hot topic in the news these days.
An interesting phenomena occurred Tuesday when we asked providers for the toughest part of complying with Phase 2 provisions of the Requirements of Participation.
Our new tax law gives some of the largest companies in America a substantial tax break. The American Health Care Association wouldn't mind snapping off a similar reduction for many of its members.
When discussing the hospital field, just about every other word out of someone's mouth has something to do with "value" or "population health." The wave is about to long-term care with full force.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma announced Tuesday that her agency will be publishing "Drug Dashboards" to show the public how much drug prices covered by her agency are rising.
A newly proposed bill could give unions quite a boost. At your expense. Called the "Workplace Democracy Act," don't let the name fool you. From an operator's perspective, there's not much in the proposal that might even remotely be called democratic.
Dan Ciolek has spent some 30 years in long-term care, and though he's become adept at quite a few topics in the field, one thing he's still trying to make sense of is quality measures.
A young parent's fond wish is that her child, or children, play well together with others. A busy young parent's fondest wish often is that the kids pretty much do it on their own. That's the situation healthcare providers find themselves in quite often nowadays.
If some operators are getting the PDPM tingly-dinglys, I'm experiencing something else: a sense of déjà vu.
Forgive me for being such a cynic at my age, but I'm suffering from severe "National Day" fatigue.
One could excuse long-term care providers if they're walking around looking over their shoulders right now. I can personally identify with that.
Few sectors are as vulnerable to Washington's fickle winds as long-term care.
When the day starts to drag, and the fantasies begin rolling through your head at work, what fictional character do you start picturing yourself as? Are you the Wonder Woman of the nursing home field? Homer Simpson? Freddy Krueger?
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services brought out its equivalent of a brass band and confetti machine Tuesday to tout a new provider payment strategy. One could almost hear strains of "Happy Days Are Here Again" in the background.
Two stories that resonated the most over the past year have been personal blogs from long-term care operators who have left the profession. That's a very interesting fact.
They're everywhere — in your billing department, food services, human resources or janitorial — and they're secretly sabotaging your nursing home, one day at a time. We all know some.
The tributes to former First Lady Barbara Bush will wash over the media landscape for at least a few news cycles, as well they should. But then, unfortunately, the world will go back to its twisted ways and the airwaves will be dominated by tantrums, tweets and twits.
A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation confirms a shift that most skilled care operators can relate to. While resident occupancy levels continue to bottom out, the new arrivals are in worse shape than ever.
Frank Grosso has done a lot in his 67 years. But he's not done. That much he wants to make abundantly clear.
By most accounts, the election of Donald J. Trump as our 45th President has been great news for long-term care operators. But amid various success stories, a serious misstep may be in the works.
To some it could be like studying less for an important exam. Taking food away from a person in need of nutrition. Donating one's modest paycheck to the millionaire's club.
Do you want to work for Walmart? You might not have a choice some day soon.
It's purely coincidental that it's Easter week and I'm writing about putting all of your eggs in one basket. The researchers put me up to it.
Operators who can make some adjustments and ride out the current regulatory and operating storm might not just survive, but thrive.
Providers and other stakeholders must feel like school children sitting in the principal's outer office, anxiously — if not eagerly — awaiting their fate.
If this field had a mantra, it would be: We'll find a way, no matter what.
On its face, this process seems so simple, especially given technology advances lately. Kids do it, even grandmas and grandpas are doing it. So why can't the U.S. medical community do it better?
Fortune magazine just released its latest list of billionaires. And this year's compilation contains at least one representative from the long-term care sector. Frankly, I'm not sure whether this development qualifies as helpful or hurtful.
I was worried I wouldn't appear too excited about the Christmas present. Because I wasn't really.
It's very possible historians may look back at 2018 as a kind of Golden Age for skilled care. No, I have not been drinking.
You have every opportunity to make your year a winner even though it's only March.
The time has come, dear readers, to confess a secret. I caught the flu after Christmas. And I had received the flu shot in September.
Long-term care professionals in the habit of obtaining continuing education credits from the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards had better brace for some dramatic changes that kick in April 1. For beginning on that date, many of the old rules will expire.
If you feel like you're getting picked on, you should fight back. Scrap like hell, thrash about and do anything you can to cause a ruckus and save yourself. What does this have to do with long-term care providers? Possibly everything.
A report last week from the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General on fraud related to Medicare and chiropractic reimbursement led me to ask the following question aloud: "Wait, Medicare covers chiropractic stuff?"
What's the best eldercare development we've seen in the past quarter century? For my money, nothing compares to the ongoing expansion of hospice care services.
Don't ever let Congress plan your next party. That's my sincere recommendation.
In healthcare, the idea of anyone having idle time at work would likely be met with a laugh. Our collective wisdom indicates that American workers are terribly busy, whether they are working in a nursing home, a school or in a corporate role.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration dropped the hammer on a Colorado facility last week. Given what's happened, OSHA's response might seem reasonable. At least on paper.
Earlier this week I landed in the hospital, a story filled with highs and lows that I won't bore you with. But I did want to share what I learned about a topic near and dear to the hearts of long-term care operators. It's probably not what you're thinking.
Reassert yourself to the optimistic, goal-oriented ideas you early latched onto at the start of the year.
An upcoming Supreme Court ruling might be the end of public unions. As far as most nursing home operators are concerned, it's too bad the same fate wouldn't extend to non-public unions as well.
Long-term care providers who supply therapy weren't invited to the big party Thursday, but they're hoping they'll still have reason to celebrate soon anyway.
As difficult as your job may be — and I know there are many long days — it's worthwhile to remind yourself it could always be worse. You could be a nursing home surveyor in Idaho.
How well are Medicaid Advantage plans working for participants when it comes to skilled-care placements? There are doubts.
Let there be no more questions about whether creating long-term care facilities to reflect different eras is a good idea.
It was different, and helpful, to hear Philip D. Sloane, M.D., MPH, a University of North Carolina Chapel Hill professor, discuss how to talk to families about antibiotic reduction during a McKnight's Super Tuesday webinar yesterday.
It appears there may be some good news ahead, courtesy of the boss at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
As drama rages over whether Congress will allow the federal government to grind to a halt Friday night due to a funding tug-of-war, long-term care providers will anxiously watch to see if a repeal of Medicare Part B therapy caps will be a part of any solution.
In a profile about House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), one detail about how he treated President Trump was seized upon by a variety of media outlets, for good reason.
Middle daughters around the world still relate to the fictional Jan Brady's exasperation with her TV big sister — "Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!" So too should long-term care operators. But instead of being jealous of an older sibling, this field's indignation might be better directed at nearby hospitals.
Look into the crystal balls out there to speculate about the rest of 2018. But remember, too, that examining the past is also a very good way to know the road ahead.
Over the years, I've heard what seems like every possible explanation for cancer. Sometimes it's cancer patients blaming themselves through questionable science — "I was too stressed" or "I should have eaten less sugar" — and other times it's more legitimate — "She was a lifelong smoker" or "She had the BRCA1 gene."
Last week I offered three fearless predictions for the year ahead in long-term care. So without further ado, here are three predictions every long-term care operator can count on. As in, count on NOT to occur.
When stuff hits the fan, it's often all a matter of perspective. That's the pickle nursing homes find themselves in today.
Amid all the focus on new rules for nursing homes, we can't forget the old ones and the need to audit, train and document.
There's nothing like a budding new year to awaken that urge in scribes to warn better-informed readers what to expect. It must be some kind of occupational hazard. So in the spirit of not always being right but never being in doubt, here are three predictions you can take to the bank.
There's never been a newsier time in the world of senior care. Numerous huge issues and personalities have shaped the last 12 months. But there's one clear choice for who should be "The Long-Term Care Newsmaker of the Year."
Last week, long-term care providers likely celebrated the slashing of regulations announced by the Trump administration. This week, they should be appalled by a move that may impact how they do their jobs.
Believe it or not, the overall picture has been improving. And it might get even better in 2018.
It pays to know that amid the byzantine architecture of the Department of Health and Human Services there are QIN-QIOs. That's Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Networks for those with plenty of ink in their cartridges.
If a MRSA vaccine could be developed for adults, it could potentially save nursing homes a lot of money, not to mention reset some of our infection control protocols.
But for those of you who think outrageous political trickery is dead, please let me point you in the direction of Capitol Hill. For we appear to be in the midst of one of the better con jobs to come along in quite some time, and it's threatening your supply of Medicare and Medicaid dollars.
Golfing great Jack Nicklaus had an insightful comment that long-term care providers might find helpful as they struggle with day-to-day tasks.
Taking time to step back and reevaluate how you're using your time — and if you're a manager, how your employees are faring this time of year — can pay off big time.
I was impressed recently when I saw the press release announcing that Villa Healthcare was closing its Villa at River Parkway in Milwaukee in March.
One of the more interesting aspects of the epic battle over the tax reform bill has been this sector's response. One major long-term care organization continues to blast proposed changes while the other has remained largely silent.
Sure, a tax overhaul bill that has a significant segment of providers quivering is picking up steam and should be on the president's desk soon. But there's also other legislation being considered that should have providers acting like tiny tots with their eyes all aglow.