A 'promising' new year

Share this content:
It’s the New Year, otherwise known as resolution time—the season to hit the gym five days a week, read more books and be nicer to your mother-in-law. At least until the end of January, that is.

Since it is tradition to set goals and map out a course of action for the year ahead, I thought I’d take the liberty to offer a few resolutions of my own for long-term care stakeholders. Well, since I’m making these resolutions on behalf of long-term care, maybe “wish list” is a more appropriate description.  (And no, these are not binding resolutions.)

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: I resolve to work with nursing homes to improve the survey and certification process to make it as fair, consistent and transparent as possible. I also will continue to talk to nursing homes about the five-star rating system and be open to areas of improvement. Further, I will strive to implement policies for long-term care that are reasonable and sensible. (For example, if I decide to again recalibrate Medicare payment rates for skilled nursing facilities as I did in 2008, I will make sure they are based on sound research.)

Congress: I resolve to enact laws that are fair to nursing homes as well as consumers and not knee-jerk responses to media reports. I will research topics such as private nursing home ownership and nursing home care quality and costs. I will consult with nursing homes on the language of the Nursing Home Transparency and Quality of Care Improvement Act of 2008 before attempting to vote on it.

President-elect Barack Obama: Amidst all of my other obligations and responsibilities, I resolve to make sure states are financially equipped to handle the needs of seniors. I also will keep the needs of this population group as well as long-term care in mind in enacting healthcare reform.

Regulators: I resolve to keep informed about survey and certification rules, and judge facilities based only on solid facts and evidence. I also pledge to have an open and honest line of communication with the facilities under my purview throughout the year.

Nursing homes: I resolve to recommit myself to offering the best care possible to all of my residents and providing a pleasant work environment and quality of life for all of my employees. I also resolve to keep an open and honest relationship with surveyors throughout the year to avoid being caught off-guard during survey time.

Maybe I better stop here. Ah, resolutions. If only they were as easy to implement as they are to make!

Next Article in Daily Editors' Notes

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.