Gary Tetz

So there I sat in a mind-boggling PDPM training recently, with one recurring thought: You long-term care people are incredibly smart. 

It’s astounding, and admittedly sometimes a little annoying. The Patient-Driven Payment Model has clearly revealed your superior intellects, and my own mental deficiencies — a reminder I didn’t want or need.  

Towering over the audience in that hotel ballroom were two huge screens filled with indecipherable spreadsheets and incomprehensible data — to me, anyway. It appeared to make perfect sense to the rest of you. Because you’re smart. 

No wonder people (just me, actually) call it the Patient-Driven Panic Model. My eyes glazed over and blood pressure spiked in the red, and it’s not even part of my job to know all this stuff. 

I shared my PDPM inferiority complex with my ultra-smart CEO, who is part of a five-generation long-term care family, and he responded, “Don’t feel bad. Remember, I’ve been in this business since I was 13.” 

That got me thinking. But after sober reflection, it appears that nothing I’ve been doing since age 13 has prepared me for comprehending the intricacies of PDPM. 

I still listen to rock and roll and watch bad ’70s TV, but all that offers is useless escape. I’m still unsuccessfully trying to figure out relationships, an area of study at least as baffling as PDPM. 

So, no, apparently I didn’t spend a lifetime preparing for this moment. 

Fortunately, I don’t need to figure it all out. If everything had to make complete sense to me before I could write about it, most of my columns would be white space. This is why this space is called, “Things I Think,” not “Things I Understand.” 

Perhaps I just need to accept that it takes better brains than mine — specifically, yours — to comprehend the nuances of PDPM. Maybe I should stop beating myself up about that. I’m smart in other ways, I think.