Are you ready for some more quality? Doesn't matter

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James M. Berklan
James M. Berklan

Did you feel the Earth move a bit extra Wednesday? Didn't think so, even though that was THE DAY that five new quality reporting measures were added to the calculations for nursing home grades.

Like many regulatory changes that will be tough to swallow, this new set of measures was splashed frequently and with great fanfare. It's a popular method for gaining acceptance.

Say it aloud, say it a lot and settle in with it.

Sometimes this persuades doubters to soften up, but more often it just swamps the targeted parties into submission.

That's where providers are now — gritting their teeth with fake smiles, acting as if they actually like what's being done to them.

Oh, at first, things could be OK. There won't be much to howl about. (Remember that the blood was spilled on these decisions long ago, so this week has just been installing the conditions.)

However, wait until adjusted scores on Nursing Home Compare start getting attention. They aren't going to be passing out extra shiny quarters at that time.

That's when we'll hear, and hasten to report, that comparing scores from the new system to scores under the previous system will be like comparing cantaloupes and kumquats.

Providers will be right in this complaint. But, remember, their say in this was over long ago. Now, they're reduced to pledging to “keep an eye on” how the new measures are being implemented. Not exactly a position of strength. But nobody will be surprised if this produces scolding “told you so's” in the not-so-distant future. Providers will have earned this right.

You can find a list of the new measures in many places, including the government's own version, which righteously justifies changes in the interest of the American public. Expect your fellow citizens to eat them up too, though there has already been at least one lawmaker complaining that reporting methods are still too lax on providers.

The bottom line for providers is this: You're being measured more ways than ever before, and the trend is only going to get tougher. The days of not having to measure and report on just about every single thing you do will soon be a distant memory.

Just hope the trend reverses before the memo comes out that you're going to have to start reporting on your own ins and outs.

Follow James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.


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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.