James M. Berklan, Editor

Upcoming graduates have it especially bad, but it strikes just about every student this time of year: spring fever. 

Concentration literally goes out the window, where the birds soar and the flowers pop as spring fever wreaks its distracting havoc.

Long-term care providers don’t dare come down with a case of it this year, however, no matter how tempting. Despite the usual advice from career-enhancement coaches, this is the time to not act like eternal students.

In fact, this is high time to be thinking of writing that year-end term paper, or at least a persuasive essay. Passing grades are essential, any long-term care lobbyist will tell you.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have repeatedly mentioned — no, urged — providers to express their thoughts about the proposed 2023 SNF PPS rule. Now’s the time to be heard. If you can’t recreate a scene like near the end of the movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” then you might just have to settle for the full $320 million pay cut and other noxious stuff that’s been proposed.

Keep in mind, there is precedent for moving the needle with grassroots comments. American Health Care Association President and CEO Mark Parkinson reminded me just a few weeks ago that providers produced some 13,000 comments on an early proposal to revise the Requirements of Participation a handful of years ago and CMS not only took note, it slowed down and changed course. Last year, provider penmanship also helped slow down proposed CMS changes, though the agency has already indicated that once is enough, leaving us in the current predicament.

Of course, no two situations are entirely the same. But if you choose to take the easily distracted route instead of bearing down over the next month, you may never learn what impact you might have had. Settle down in front of some more Netflix offerings, or otherwise blow off this assignment as the “school year” winds down, and you’ll have only yourself to blame.

Are you the kind that is OK settling with a bunch of “what ifs” when the final report card comes?

Comments are being accepted until June 10 — school year symmetry, catch it. 

CMS is then expected to issue a final rule before classes begin again in the fall. What will your contribution be?

James M. Berklan is McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Executive Editor.

Opinions expressed in McKnight’s columns are not necessarily those of McKnight’s.