Anyone walking through our second floor is seeing a transformation at work. Last week we began a three-month project that will flip the location of our second floor lounge with our existing nursing station. The new modern lounge will feature plenty of natural light and a new modern look. We are excited about the new plans and even more excited that changes are underway. Like any project, there is the dust and mess that comes along the way and we trust that our Residents and families will bear with us as we make our way to the finish line.
It’s the time of year for me that every nursing home Administrator loves. Christmas? Spring break or our birthday? No it’s The Maplewood's turn for the annual New York State inspection.
Being a participant in Medicare and Medicaid requires that the facility be inspected by the NYS Department of Health at least one time every 15 months. It’s a surprise inspection where 6 people from the Department of Health walk into your facility unannounced and camp out for four or five days. The facility and its practices are inspected from stem to stern. All this has been created to assure a certain minimum level of quality still exists in the facility since the last inspection. In the last 27 years of doing this job I can tell many stories about these inspections. I suppose every Administrator has a favorite story about one of these inspections and I am no exception. It happened 10 years ago or so and I want to share it with you.
Several years ago there was a top hit TV show called Seinfeld. One of the main characters went by the name of George Costanza. George was the guy that somehow always made the wrong call and as a result things never seemed to work out right in any given situation. In one episode, George comes to the realization that he should try to do the opposite of everything he thought he should and in so doing, his luck changes and everything begins to go his way including getting a girlfriend, a job with the Yankees and moving out of his parents' house. In my view, the new age of healthcare is beginning to come into focus and it’s looking a lot like that Seinfeld Episode. In some ways George holds the key to solving our healthcare crisis.
Several months ago Governor Cuomo got wind of some of the compensation packages out there for organizations receiving Medicaid funds. He recently responded with Executive order #38. We will see what this does and if there will be any unintended consequences of this mandate.
It has been a wild roller coaster ride in New York State government since Andrew Cuomo took the reigns. Governor Cuomo was saddled with a very tough financial situation and has made some good headway in beginning to get our State back on it's feet again. One thing that everyone agrees upon is that there is still a long way to go. As we search for solutions, one basic concept seems pretty clear. State government is either going to need to do more with less or completely discontinue programs and services that have been offered in the past. The last few months has revealed what some of these changes are to be in the area of Medicaid reimbursement for Long Term Care. Providers are beginning to see what the future will look like.
Every time New Years Day comes around it kind of feels like waking up in the morning. We roll over and look at the clock and see it's time to get up and get going. We pull the curtain back and see what's going on outside. What will the year be like? It’s a fresh start. We've made the turn and we're playing the back nine. When I was a kid, it seemed like everyone worked for Kodak. If you didn’t work for them, it seemed you should be. It was the symbol of well-being and security. This week the news is flooded with stories about the possibility of Kodak filing for bankruptcy. How could this happen and what’s the world coming to? It certainly seems like we have arrived at a time when all the old rules that we grew up with don't apply anymore. Investment houses go down and the federal government buys General Motors. College grads enter the workforce and can't find a job. They’re discouraged because the story said they were supposed to graduate and have ten offers waiting for them.
How many times have you pulled off the interstate in some unfamiliar off-ramp or town looking for a bite to eat? Similarly, when you go on a long vacation that requires several days of driving, have you ever needed to find a hotel at the end of the day? There are certain things I look for in these situations when I am hungry or need a place to sleep. I don’t know about you but I usually feel more comfortable if I am able to pull into a place that I can trust and have some idea of a minimum standard. Sometimes it might not be exactly what I want at the time but the reliability factor makes me go back there.
There are certian people we run across as we go through our lives that really stand out as examples what is good and worth aspiring to become. I pause for a moment to share with our readers such a person. Annette (Toni) Bobeck passed away last week after a long and hard fought battle with cancer. We will always remember Toni as our hero for so many reasons. I would like to share a couple of those reasons with you in this writing.
I remember back in the early 70s when Maplewood was moving from Lake Avenue to the Village of Webster. It was a time of great change for my parents and great stress in our family. It was also a time of opportunity to meet new people and greatly add jobs to the Maplewood payroll to take care of the increased number of Residents being cared for at Maplewood. Toni joined the staff as a part - time night nurse as a way of making a little grocery money while at the same time raising her family.
My wife and I recently hit a milestone of celebrating our 25thwedding anniversary. 2 years ago we decided we would celebrate by taking an extended trip to a place we had never been before. It was a trip of a lifetime that was filled with great memories that will last forever. The best laid plans could not have prepared us for all that we experienced. Part of the adventure was an element of the unknown. Everything was strange to us. People spoke a different language, and as a result, any of the signs that may have given us a hint as to a sense of direction were of no use to us. We basically were down to instinct and other familiar constants like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. We found ourselves relying solely on the people that were around us. The only way we could communicate with them was by gestures and pointing. Anyone watching our performances could have a good laugh. We ran into people who were both very nice and helpful and others who took advantage of us and in some cases steered us in the wrong direction. It was a humbling learning experience for both of us. While reflecting on all of this I got to thinking about what we do at The Maplewood and the fact that there are solid parallels between the experience of my wife and I and the Patients and families at The Maplewood who we are privileged to serve.