Jim Berklan

Throughout history, the cards have been stacked against various figures. So don’t get to feeling too singular when you sense the long-term care blues coming over you. 

“The man” — in this case Uncle Sam — often does come after you. Usually the reason given is it’s for the greater good. But sometimes credit must be given where credit is due.

The Patient Driven Payment Model has been an industry obsession for about two years, and rightfully so. Some good news is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services got out in front of this potential mess and successfully educated providers. 

What ensued was largely another Y2K. In other words, no end of the world. In fact, with all due respect to some who saw their workloads lightened or even eliminated, the system seems to be working well overall. At least that’s a presumption from the lack of shrieking we’re hearing.

But the itch to fully evaluate it, even after about four months in play, still can’t be scratched, no matter how hard one wants to.

Sure, preliminary numbers looked good for many operators, but as of press time, we were all waiting to see what the big players would reveal at their quarterly earnings calls. 

Grandma could be doing well with solid clinical outcomes (undoubtedly the most important statistics), but if Nursing Home Inc. isn’t doing more than just staying afloat, nothing else matters. The second part of healthcare may be care, but the real first part is really “health of the business.” 

CMS met the PDPM challenge head-on and gave providers about as straight of language and instructions as can be expected from such a tentacled body. 

Opportunities have blossomed for proactive providers, and reimbursements have flowed accordingly. Operators have expanded care offerings in many instances. More segments of the LTC workforce are relishing their roles in helping determine their employer’s fate. Cue the slideshow about how more-engaged workforces are so desirable.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach that suits everyone perfectly, and there will be some payment take backs eventually, most analysts seem to agree.

But there also has to be agreement that CMS did an awful lot right this time.