Good morning, ProviderNation. Sorry to distract you from all the mesquite and margaritas down Texas way,* but the fine folks at the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services (say that 10 times, real fast) have done some thinking on state regulations of assisted living centers.
Most folks agree that the business of elder care is in its revolutionary age (and many assisted living advocates see their sector as the vanguard of that revolution), so it’s interesting to note what isn’t happening even as the profession grows.
In many other areas, as the businesses grow and diversify, it’s reasonable to expect that at least some of the bigger players advocate for federal regulations. The shibboleth here is, of course, “regulatory certainty,” in which bigger players argue simplifies political economy for everyone. Take whatever you like about the argument, what’s fascinating is the extent to which you just don’t see that kind of advocacy from assisted living providers.
Part of it, a Royal Smart Person tells me, is that, having taken a look a good look at what “regulatory certainty” means for their skilled nursing cousins, many assisted living providers offer a polite, “No, thanks.” (There’s also the fact that, however large assisted living companies have grown, no single player—or even combination of players—is big enough to warp the market.)
But part of it goes to the very revolutionary character of the profession, the smart person adds. Assisted living providers pride themselves on person-centered care, above all else. However you define person-centered care, the essence of it is flexibility. Therefore, any effort to govern from On High jeopardizes the very innovation, dynamism, and rapid-fire responsiveness that many advocates feel defines assisted living.
Speaking of the alphabet soup of regulatory agencies, the good people of CMS and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology have released final rules that backers say will “simplify requirements and add new flexibilities [cq] for providers to make electronic health information available when and where it matters most and for health care providers and consumers to be able to readily, safely, and securely exchange that information.”