Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stars Among Us

By: Bill Myers
Provider, January 2014

“Looking up at the stars,” W.H. Auden wrote in one of his most glorious poems, “I know quite well/That, for all they care, I can go to hell.” But this month’s cover story finds some stars in our profession who’ve decided to be the most loving ones. Our annual 20 To Watch feature proves once again that leadership can come from every quarter. From a CNA in Arizona to an executive director in Maine, this year’s “20” are the people who’ve decided, as Auden might have it, that “If equal affection cannot be,/Let the more loving one be me.”

From those celestial heights, we move to the infernal layers, as Vivian Tellis-Nayak continues to send his dispatches from the hellish realm of Parkinson’s disease in this month’s special feature. In the third installment of his ongoing Web journal, Tellis-Nayak takes us through the ordeal of deep brain stimulation, where doctors literally drilled a hole in his head in order to put an electrode inside, hoping to stave off the ravages of the disease.

This month’s Focus on Caregiving,has some thoughts from Pennsylvania, where authors Linda Hnatow and Karen Russell report on an innovative collaborative dedicated to preventing pressure ulcers. Hnatow and Russell find that the Pennsylvania Restraint Reduction Initiative, founded in August 2008, has helped caregivers in post-acute and long term care not only to identify the kind of best practices that make residents’ and patients’ lives easier—but to spread the word so that other providers can take advantage of the cooperative’s lessons.

I check back in on U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci as part of our ongoing series of congressional profiles. Renacci, a centrist Republican from Ohio with more than three decades of experience in long term care, is backing a bill that would eliminate the requirement that Medicare patients spend three days in the hospital before they can be reimbursed for skilled nursing care.

Annual certification surveys can be stressful enough, but now providers have to worry whether the notes and records of their quality assurance committees may show up in a plaintiff’s brief, as Jeannie Adams finds in this month’s Legal Advisor. Traditionally, those records have been considered privileged. But some are worried that handing over the documents during the annual survey may mean the records aren’t subject to privilege and, thereafter, “become discoverable in future litigation.” 

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