Well the holidays are once again upon us! Let me be the first to wish you Happy Holidays, unless of course you are a therapist working in long-term care. Holidays became much more complicated for us this year due to the changes instituted by CMS in the MDS PPS process. Now we’ve got CMS, PPS, MDS, SOT, EOT, COT and ARD. I think they should do away with all of these and just replace them with ARGH! I know all of this seems like code used by a high level top secret spy agency hell bent on taking over the world, but don’t worry - they are not trying to take over the world… they may drive it to financial ruin but they won’t take it over. So I guess that’s something to be happy about in a delusional holiday kind of way.
This year’s Medicare changes make me think there is a lack of trust between the people running the Medicare health care system and the providers that try to operate within it. It’s too bad because I believe that for the most part, providers are trying to do the right things, for the right reasons, and I also believe that Medicare is doing the same. In my career I’ve met many providers. Most of them are fine upstanding people who care about their patients. I also have the opportunity and good fortune to meet and interact with many people from Medicare. I’ve also found them to be good people conscientiously trying to do their jobs to manage the Medicare system and protect the rights of the beneficiaries. There are obviously some providers out there who do their best to scam the system and take advantage of the elderly. And likewise there are obviously some people within Medicare who don’t have a realistic understanding of the day-to-day life and operations of the many honest providers out there. In a society as large and complex as ours it is always impossible to come up with “one size fits all” solutions, but it is equally impossible to come up with viable solutions to address the multitude of contingencies that bombard our health care system on a minute by minute basis. And so we all do our best.
So let me say to you that I truly do wish you Happy Holidays this year regardless of which side of the Medicare fence you’re sitting on, bureaucrat or provider. I know we’ve got challenges to face and obstacles to overcome but I know that if we work together, keep the patients in mind, and strive to understand the complex world we live in that we can all be successful.
Happy Holidays everyone!