Some of the extras seem to be going off the script

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Some of the extras seem to be going off the script
Some of the extras seem to be going off the script
For anyone who thinks most of the good scripts are in Hollywood, I say look east. The nation's capital can more than hold its own when it comes to creating story lines that are interesting and unpredictable.

Consider: Late last week, we learned that the long-term care industry ranks as the nation's 10th largest employer. This information was provided courtesy of the American Health Care Association. AHCA data crunchers extrapolated some fairly powerful stats, based on how much money is spent on LTC services.

But this report was not circulated for the purpose of giving lawmakers interesting factoids. It doesn't work that way in Washington. The implied message behind the numbers: Cut nursing home funds and some of the people who voted for you might lose their jobs.

In some ways, the study might have overachieved, for it appears that the report also may have helped awaken some sleeping watchdogs.

The media outlet Politico.com chose to point out Friday that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission had requested an investigation into the relationship between hospices and long-term care. The commission's implication seems to be that all this economic growth is happening because facilities are pigging out on public money. It emphasized that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began performing random audits of nursing homes with hospice services 2009. The outlet also referred to Inspector General investigations into nursing homes dating back a dozen years.

At a time when providers thought they would be basking in their self-made media spotlight, they instead find their role as an economic driver being questioned. Out in Hollywood, they know every good story needs a bit of conflict before delivering the final smiles and credits. It's not clear, however, if this Washington production will get the happy ending originally scripted.

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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.

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