John O'Connor illustration
McKnight’s Editorial Director John O’Connor
John O'Connor
John O’Connor

Senior living operators might be excused for feeling as if there is a big ol’ target on their backs these days.

In a State of the Union speech, President Biden all but accused long-term care operators of delivering substandard care to our nations elders.

Currently, the government agency that oversees long-term care — the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — is prepping regulations that would put staffing requirements in place for the first time ever.

And now there’s this:

Two US senators are proposing a national advisory commission on long-term care services, and you’re not invited. At least, not yet.

Which kind of makes it sound like this might actually be more of a commission on operator oversight.

Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and John Boozman (R-AR) introduced the Supporting Our Seniors Act. Specifically, the measure would establish this latest addition to the federal bureaucracy.

As proposed, the group would have a dozen members. They would be charged with making policy recommendations to Congress in 10 areas. Those include coverage for people not eligible for Medicaid, financing options for low- and middle-income individuals, workforce stability and more.

That sounds fine, as far as it goes. But shouldn’t the people literally doing the heavy lifting have a seat at this table?

Maybe common sense will eventually prevail and they will. But according to legislative language my colleagues at McKnight’s obtained, there is no mention of participation from the long-term care field. Hmmm.

We can only hope the glaring oversight was unintentional. Then again, senior living operators have not exactly been getting a lot of love from Washington lately.

It certainly can be argued that another group dedicated to improving long-term care is a good thing. But what is absolutely 100% not needed is another group dedicated to berating this sector while pushing for more rules and regulations.

If what we have here is really the latter, that’s not really helping. Actually, it looks a lot more like piling on.

John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s Senior Living and its sister media brands, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, which focuses on skilled nursing, and McKnight’s Home Care. Read more of his columns here.