By Liza Berger

The provider community protested loudly when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rushed into place an open-handed “stop” icon to merely “warn” readers on the consumer-facing Nursing Home Compare website about certain nursing homes that had been cited.

McKnight’s Long-Term Care News chronicled the 2019 objections, and responses from CMS, every step of the way. Providers and regulators were compelled to react and adjust their actions accordingly.

As a result of the icon controversy coverage, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News has been honored with a Grand Award from the APEX 2020 Awards competition. Staff Writer Danielle Brown and Executive Editor James M. Berklan’s team coverage earned the top award in the “Writing” division.

The publication also earned or shared two Awards of Excellence: in the “Social Media — Best Single Blog Post” and the “Campaigns, Programs & Plans — Events and Meetings” categories.

For the former, “Things I Think” blogger Gary Tetz’s poignant piece “Bring in the rocks” was singled out. A past award-winning writing in other genres, Tetz composed one of his most sobering, poignant posts of the year. He deftly tied together a big community social problem (homelessness) with issues normally associated with the long-term caregiver audience. The “bittersweet yet smooth” observations revealed “a craftsman with a heart at work and the readers win because of it.”

The latter award, which is shared with sister publication McKnight’s Senior Living, was given for the initial McKnight’s Women of Distinction program, which inducted 19 women veteran leaders into its Hall of Honor and named 21 to its first class of Rising Stars. The one-of-a-kind program climaxed with a standing room-only crowd at a Chicago ceremony in May 2019, where a Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Juniper Communities’ founder and CEO Lynne Katzmann.

Separately, McKnight’s Senior Living won three additional awards, including a Grand Award in the Website category of the APEX Awards.

The second annual class of Women of Distinction honorees will be recognized at a virtual awards ceremony July 28 and be followed by a Women of Distinction Forum the next morning where online attendees can earn continuing education credits during sessions hosted by top leaders. Both of this year’s programs, which were changed from in-person events due to the pandemic, are open to the public.

The 32nd Annual APEX awards were based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the success of the entry in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence, according to organizers. Nearly 1,200 entries were received, with winners being posted online last week ahead of official notification.