Tuesday, April 11, 2023

New! Update for Updated Update: Game Over Updated

Four white dudes doing what they do

I returned to The Ira and VITAS! Show today for the first time since the 6th, and managed to follow along for another four (4!) of the episode's fifty-one (51!) minutes

Here's what I said in the comments this time...

OK so today I could handle about 4 minutes

I got re-oriented with Ira tossing out some nightmare clinical scenarios like bowel infarct, seizures and status epilepticus, though he didn't mention my personal favorite - massive sudden arterial bleed for tumor and tissue damage in head and neck cancer (dark towels?) - to emphasize the need for hospices to provide crisis levels of care (via continuous care in the home or general inpatient care at a licensed staffed facility)

Sure absolutely the IDT has to be prepared for the worst - part of every plan of care should be to ask: what's the worst that could happen? Then make sure to assess monitor prevent and intervene if needed because you were prepared

Now THAT's a great quality indicator

OK, now Ira's jabbering about "kind of have our hair on fire" - kind of? - then goes on to point out the many lost opportunities and failures by the professional orgs (oops) to do anything as it all happened under your nose and under your watch [ref above Christian admitting y'all haven't don't squat about it for 20 years]

I need to be honest with you here: you've been captured, the war is over and VITAS! dude's side won it all

Seriously, consider yourselves captives owned by the financial rapscallions who have taken over hospice, and they're just getting started, so really from here on out your jobs are all about harm reduction and keeping your heads down in order to survive in the current environment

Also too the orgs AAHPM RacistHPNA, of course the trade groups most notably NHPCO and org of orgs NCHPC (Ginger's new gig), etc - they're not just responsible for lots of the problems we're all in, but now also central to whatever "solutions" creep out of this mess or more specifically exploit it

Consider their whacky idea that one indicator of quality should be the number of nurses on staff who are certified CHPN etc via RacistHPNA - which is an excellent idea for RacistHPNA because dues + certification test prep and testing are pretty much the main revenue channels for orgs like RacistHPNA that still follow the model

I'm sure AAHPM is making that same play because orgs are platforms for commerce and careers and that's it

So, to repeat the obvious - you've lost everything at what''s likely the biggest board game most of you have ever played - your battleships are sunk, your king is surrounded etc etc etc

Your jobs are now harm reduction and keeping your head down in order to survive in the current environment

So Lauren has her hair on fire because there's no reason for 1,000 hospices in LA County (Ira says 800 so of course he does), then there's some chuckling about scammers and inside info because VITAS! dude knows where they live

Anyway Lauren asks the burning question - how do we regulate hospice to assure quality BUT! don't make regulations (?)

Or what she's really saying is don't keep dumping everything on the nurses, which is a universal complaint and valid - but seriously Lauren of course rules etc will have lots of implications that need to be figured out and whatever else you want they're not going to be "free," especially the way VITAS! dude's handlers need them to be free or as close to zero as possible, divided by 2

You just negotiated against yourself - you were advocating for something then immediately advocated against it with the other side's own argument

Anyway, Ira droned on and on about three great policy recommendations from some in-group but after he ran out of breath and stopped talking we still have no idea what these great things are in even the most general sense, which at this point we can all just chuckle and say oh Ira... and move on

Eric tosses out another fat slow juicy grapefruit of a pitch to VITAS! dude - hey so I don't suppose you and your bosses like regulations all that much do you? 

And with a mighty swing VITAS! dude smashes a really slow roller down the first base line until it stops at about halfway no he thinks self-regulation is definitely the way to go, then he and Ira fist pump and hug because it's all about quality

Then there's quibbling and second guessing and more negotiating against themselves in an incoherent mess until at one point Eric brings up amyloid eaters the Alz Assoc/pharma scam - and since he's a bright guy of course he sees the connection and the irony of it all before he says let's not bring that up (which was Ira's point a moment ago that the orgs just don't even want to talk about these topics let alone look at them with a critical eye  and basic understanding of financial concepts (making money with money)

Then I stopped watching at about 34:00 - thanks, until next time

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

UPDATED! Updated Game Over Update


Rare shot of Ira with mouth closed

Today I celebrated the halfway point of my journey to listen and annotate the GeriPal podcast video talkapalooza from Montreal - this is not a trip for the fainthearted, especially when it comes to air

It's not that the air gets thinner with altitude - it's the combination of naivety, bullshit, willful ignorance and detached indifference 

Sure, this is a 'professional conference' so the voices of patients and families are notably absent...

Which is the whole freaking problem with the same old models we see here, so as long as y'all keep doing this please don't expect anything different, and none of us should expect y'all to find a way through this mess with the same old models  

You can check out all of my comments at YouTube, here are today's annotations - 

April 4 - OK today I was able to tolerate 2-3 more minutes plus some rewind of Ira's waxing poetic about how great things used to be when the for-profit owners were satisfied with "reasonable" ROI (reasonable to who?) operating "efficiently" (we'll hear that one again) which sounds nice when you're talking about an assembly line but we're talking about patients and families facing serious illness and end of life - oh, wait 

Ira wraps up his monologue with the insistence that "our field has a role to play," and probably means himself more than anything because someone so un-self-aware isn't going to realize it's time to STFD and STFU

Eric steps up again and before you know it launches into an upbeat commercial for VITAS, and the punchline is a physician even cleaned the house! he's never seen another hospice do THAT before!!! 

So Eric there's this role in the IDT called 'hospice aide' where a person goes into the home and provides personal care including light housekeeping and meal preparation if that's part of the individualized plan of care - check it out (warning - irony ahead) 

Anyway after stepping all over what should have been his main question to VITAS dude (what do YOU think of the tension (conflict) between 'excellent hospice care' and 'making lots of money, as much as possible but always more than last time') ...

VITAS dude takes a swing - and there's a slow roller to third, it's not a bunt just really weak contact

Something something Chicago (economics?), then he's in Florida to join a parent facing serious illness

Now he reports to the CEO and is held to metrics so of course he always asks what's best? (for?)

Then he name drops RacistHPNA Board Member Ab '6-Pac' Brody and I'm not sure if he's talking about having or not having an EMR, something about paper and pharmacy and knowing everything and VITAS is great (gonna start writing VITAS!)

Funny story about me and '6-Pac' - he expressed righteous indignation as RacistHPNA BOD member when y'all announced plans to hold in-person in pandemic in freaking Nashville Tenne-freaking-See racist homophobic transphobic Confederate hotbed and thus a risky unsafe place for big swaths of memberships (well, not so big really), and I responded nah - y'all will be there because commerce and careers are more important than caring

How did he respond to that? Let's just say you don't have to be a cishet abled white woman to be a brittle white feminist - in a world of problematic nursing orgs RacistHPNA pretty much heads the list

Anyway VITAS! dude's main point is that his factories are the best - he and Ira high-five chest bump yell 'EFFICIENT!!' - and the only question he asks himself every morning is how many terminally ill people can he help today? HOW MANY?! don't forget he reports to the CEO who reports to the BOD etc

QUANTITY is the only thing that really matters - comps, same store sales - get them to sign on the line that is dotted because even if we have to send a physician over to clean the toilets we'll do whatever it takes, we don't make money on every admission but when you have lots and lots of admissions you can make lots and lots of money

That's the simplest most uncomplicated part of this whole thang

Peace out until next time