As we’ve come to understand, bad things can happen through no fault of our own.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of someone else being victimized by fate’s fickle finger – and playing the misfortune forward. That’s especially likely if that other someone just happens to have some sway over our destiny.

Military personnel have a phrase that eloquently captures this sequence of events. In the spirit of maintaining a family-friendly tone, the precise wording has been adjusted to avoid offense, but it essentially goes like this: Adversity tends to flow downhill.

What does this observation about gravitational pull have to do with you, dear long-term care provider? Well, as it happens, your main source for residents – hospitals – just received some bad news from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. According to preliminary findings released last week, more hospitals will face readmission penalties in the coming fiscal year.

That’s their problem, you say? Well, not exactly.

Because hospitals, just like nursing facilities, generally are not pleased with readmission penalties. Why? Because readmission penalties essentially mean payment cuts. So, there’s a better than good chance hospitals are going to take steps to ensure history does not repeat.

One of those steps will likely be holding their business partners more accountable. And by more accountable, I mean held to higher and more demanding standards. You can probably guess who will bear the brunt of these new, rigorous requirements.

But should you have any doubt, please consider the previously mentioned statement about the effects of hills and gravitational pull on certain substances.

Moreover, who knows how much of what rolls will come your way? Anyone who has raised a child in the past few decades is likely familiar with a book called “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

This literary classic details a series of events that unfold when a boy offers a cookie to a mouse. After the initial treat, the mouse asks for a glass of milk, which sets off a litany of subsequent requests.

What does all this signify for you? Well, you may not be asked for a cookie anytime soon. But you might find yourself being asked to provide many other new things to your primary referral source. And perhaps more after that.

And it’s a safe bet none of these demands are going to leave a good taste in your mouth.

John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s.

Opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News columns are not necessarily those of McKnight’s.