Our (Almost) Annual Predictions
By Richard L. Peck
After the recent events that we’ve gone through, anyone who would venture to predict anything ought to have his head examined.

So, okay, examine mine! Although I’ve long since adopted writer Dorothy Parker’s famous “What fresh hell is this?” as a slogan to live by, I go on the assumption that some things are unlikely to change, no matter what. Take long-term care, for example. People will continue to grow old and need assistance to lead decent lives. And there will always be providers who will attempt to accommodate them. Taking into account all but the most dire of possibilities-a meteorite strike, for example-I think there is still room for predictions in this field. I’ve done it in past editorials, and have even seen a few come true. So there!

Prediction 1: “Something” might actually be done this year in Washington about supporting long-term care. Not a new financing system, certainly, but perhaps more acknowledgment of the need to support long-term care staffing and some steps toward regulatory relief. This is a midterm election year, after all.

Prediction 2: AHCA’s Charles “Chip” Roadman and AAHSA’s Larry Minnix will continue to grow in recognition as long-term care leaders and “personalities”-Roadman for his succinct, forceful, sometimes colorful expressions of the industry’s case; Minnix for being a provider who knows whereof he speaks and can teach others the provider’s viewpoint.

Prediction 3: Both gentlemen, however, will have cause to rethink their organizations’ official enthusiasm for the Bush administration’s latest nursing home quality initiative (see “NH News Notes,” p. 8) which, in essence, seems yet another exercise in federal government judgmentalism.

Prediction 4: The staffing crisis will begin to show signs of easing, as the economy’s unemployment bad news becomes the industry’s employment good news and welfare-to-work rolls start to grow.

Prediction 5: Somehow, some way, somebody’s going to come up with a workable concept for a nursing-home-based TV series. (I made this prediction three years ago, and I’m sticking with it.) Personally, I’d like to see Gene Hackman give up his two-movies-a-month regimen and play the administrator. Candice Bergen could be his DON.

So, see? There just might be a few things to look forward to in 2002! NH

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