James M. Berklan

If you’ve toiled around the skilled nursing field and been awake at the same time over the last year, you might have noticed there’s this PDPM thing that seems to be grabbing a lot of attention.

At this point, I merely want to ask if they’ve even named it properly.

This RUG-IV replacement system officially stands for “Patient-Driven Payment Model,” of course — or so they tell us.

My colleague, the inimitable Gary Tetz, however, first noted back on January 4 that, to him at least, PDPM stands for the “Patient-Driven Panic Model.”

That Gary is a card, but he might be onto something. After all, it wasn’t long after he started using his form of PDPM that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma revealed herself as an avid reader of his columns. She’s now one of his Twitter followers and has tweeted about or at him multiple times — and always it has been with a certain measure of respect and/or deference. Coincidence?

Perhaps it’s because she knows Gary sees things clearer than just about anybody around and might compel others to come up with insightful theories of what PDPM could really stand for. We may never know, but now that we’re thinking about it …

What if instead of the Patient-Drive Payment Model, we call it the “Panic-Driven Payment Model”? It’s well known, after all, that the Medicare fund is careening toward bankruptcy even as you read this.

Then again, depending upon how preparations progress, providers might find themselves calling it the ”Pretty Darn Preposterous Model.”

Or, given the mixed reviews it has received, some surely see it as “Partly Desirable, Partly Menacing.”

We know with certainty that others are worried and thinking “Please Don’t Pimp Me” or simply “Please Do Pay Me.”

And one suspects that when providers do get paid, many will be looking at their reimbursement checks and saying the same thing: “Please Deliver Poor Me” or more likely “Pretty Damn Puny, Man!”

The stoic ones in the crowd with deep educational backgrounds may “tsk, tsk” about the overhaul by calling it a “Philosophically Darn Poor Move.”

But come October 1 and beyond, it’s safe to say that providers and federal regulators alike will simply be hoping that nobody will be calling it the “Pretty Dumb Payment Model.”

I’m not betting on it, but time will tell.

Have your own thoughts on what PDPM could stand for? Share them in the comments section below, and take credit for what could become the next long-term care viral sensation. The top submission, as determined by the author, will receive a prize.

Follow Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.