Look! Up in the Sky! by Richard L. Peck, Editor-in-Chief
Look! Up in the sky!
BY RICHARD L. PECK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Recently I was going through the zillion or so pieces of mail I get every year and noticed one addressed to "Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Man." It startled me, but suddenly I noticed my backbone straightening, my biceps bulging in ways unknown, and my gaze developing a fierce intensity. I knew what I must do.
Ducking into a nearby closet (phone booths having been wiped out by the cell phone phenomenon), I donned a formfitting silk jumpsuit with "NH/LTCM" across the front (my chest having expanded to accommodate this) and a flowing blue cape. I leapt into the air and proceeded to scoop up Charles Grassley, President Bush, William Frist, and a handful of Democratic hopefuls, carrying them in my powerful arms (with great background music) to all nine of our OPTIMA Award winners to show them: (1) There are good nursing homes in this country, and (2) staff are doing great things under adverse circumstances. Dropping the politicos back in Washington, D.C., I then crisscrossed the country picking up "poor-performing" owner/operators who were giving the industry a bad name and sealed them up in a cave where they would do no one significant harm.
Then I began some high-speed creative writing. First I rewrote nursing home regulations into clear English, in the process cutting them down by about two-thirds and making them more user-friendly. I then wrote a classified ad that made people salivate at the thought of working for nursing homes. I wrote a complete advertising campaign for private long-term care insurance, convincing middle-aged people that they could not do without it. Then I wrote legislation tying in private LTC insurance coverage with a federally funded safety net. I flew back to Washington, introduced the bill, and then held Congress three miles up in the air until they passed it. For good measure, I remodeled several thousand nursing homes to provide more homelike living.
Looking about, I could see that seniors were getting all the services they needed in the most supportive environment possible at a reasonable price.
Somewhat winded, I returned to my office, donned my civilian clothes, and sat at my desk. My production manager loomed in the doorway: "Richard, you're department is running behind, and we've got to get cracking on this issue!"
"Yes, Mary, sorry. I'll get right on it," said my meek, mild self. I turned slyly toward the audience and winked a baby blue.
It had been a good day for Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Man.
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