John O'Connor

There’s nothing quite like a new calendar to get media types acting like story forecasters.

But what might be more helpful is a brief list of things that won’t be taking place. So here are three predictions every long-term care operator can count on. As in, count on not to occur.

1. Regulations won’t go away

Yes, 2017 was a great year on the deregulation front. The White House took great pride in calling off the regulatory dogs, and it has promised more of the same for 2018.

But don’t put your compliance manuals in storage quite yet. There may be fewer new rules proposed and put in place this year. But like dandelions in the spring, more will be coming. Part of the continuation will be nothing more than the winding down of works in progress. But there will be some new rules proposed as well.

2. Technology will not solve all your problems

Yes, it’s true technology will play a larger role than ever. It’s also true that technology is not a savior. Can technology undo poor strategic choices, corner cutting and a failure to invest/reinvest? Highly unlikely. As my stylist said when I requested the George Clooney haircut, “It’s a comb, Honey, not a magic wand.”

3. Unflattering news coverage will not subside

In the immortal words of Bruce Springsteen, it’s hard to be a saint in the city. It may be even harder to be an ethical longterm care provider. Many feel forced by circumstance, greed and/or fear to do things they’d just as soon not be reported in the local paper. Alas, such things frequently are. For more on this reality, please Google “nursing homes.”

Sure, the bad news will continue in no small part because media outlets are always looking for salacious stories. But if we’re going to be frank, a big part of the problem is the many operators who make such journalistic efforts about as challenging as looking for poop in a dog park.

So buckle in. It should be an interesting year ahead. Regardless of what happens. Or doesn’t.