Oct. 1, 2019, dawned clear and cold, after a dark and stormy night. Change was in the air, and I commemorated the momentous occasion Tuesday morning by gleefully wishing, “Happy PDPM Day!” to everyone I passed.

Not all appreciated my unilateral attempts to celebrate this special milestone — the birth of the Payment-Driven Panic Model. But they all agreed on one thing. I was annoying, and potentially insensitive. 

Apparently, some people who were raised in other non-PDPM payment traditions feel it’s politically incorrect and offensive for me to phrase it that way. But, frankly, I don’t want to live in a country where it’s not OK to simply say, “Happy PDPM Day!” 

Still, now that I better understand the sensitivities, it might be best to start creating some ground rules for how we’ll be observing PDPM Day in the future. Here are what I believe are the four key questions, along with a few comments to spark healthy discussion:

  1. Should we exchange gifts? No need. PDPM is a gift, all on its own. Let’s not be driven by pressure and guilt into making this another Valentine’s Day. 
  2. Should there be turkey? Yes, along with some non-turkey ancillary (NTA) side dishes.
  3. Should we have traditions? Just one. Each Oct. 1, we’ll all gather around as a long-term care family and listen to an episode of CMS’ “Beyond the Policy” podcast. If the tryptophan in the turkey didn’t make you sleepy, this will complete your sedation
  4. Should we get the day off? Absolutely, though this doesn’t apply to those working for companies and facilities that haven’t properly prepared for PDPM. They’ll soon be getting plenty of vacation time — perhaps permanently. 

Let’s be honest: Learning how to celebrate a new national holiday like PDPM Day is going to be challenging for a while. But hopefully soon we’ll get the kinks worked out, the fear and uncertainty will fade and the benefits to our patients will become clear.  

Then we’ll all be able to cheerfully shout, “Happy PDPM Day!” And mean it. 

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He’s been amusing, inspiring, informing and sometimes befuddling long-term care readers worldwide since the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.