The inevitable is here

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Staffing is inadequate and erratic at many of the nation's nursing homes?

Well of course it is.

To many operators, or anyone paying attention to the serious labor challenges pummeling American business in general, the big takeaway from a recent New York Times' story on the topic was as surprising as nightfall.

Long-term care has a staffing problem? Well of course we do. It sometimes compromises optimal care for the nation's seniors? Well of course it can.

How could it not?

This escalating crisis is as inevitable as gravity. America is grappling with a tsunami of seniors, and not enough people willing or able to take care of them.

So why is anyone remotely surprised? It's straight from Economics 101.

The article provides the usual fodder for myopic outrage, while giving short shrift to a boomer deluge and workforce shortage the nation has seen coming for years.

But the real scandal isn't what the authors suggest — imperfect data, a flawed rating system or the few bad-apple operators who probably do try to game the system. It's the time-honored lack of political will to acknowledge the root cause and address the unmet societal need.

There should be outrage, but constructively focused on illuminating the reality of a rapidly aging America, devising new strategies and allocating the resources necessary to actually deal with it.

Eventually, maybe lawmakers will brush the sand from their eyes and confront the disease, rather than villainize the symptom.

In the meantime, it's the time-honored lot of long-term care providers to once again be publicly shamed for a problem you didn't create, don't control and can't remotely fix all on your own.

It's unfortunate and unfair, but will you continue doing what politicians won't — recognizing reality and actually responding to it?

Well of course you will.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in Humor Writing in the 2014 American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) awards program.