The New York Times recently wrote about the problems rural nursing facilities are having, but didn’t report on my solution.
If you happened to see the front-page article in the New York Times this past Monday on the shuttering of rural nursing homes, you might be surprised that I spent more than 20 minutes on the phone with the reporter talking about some good ideas.
Instead, he chose a flippant quote which really had nothing to do with the story. I spent my time trying to educate him about the industry, and then explained my solution to the problem.
My solution was to turn these facilities into the central healthcare provider for the county, or a tri-county area, if they are very rural. Not just nursing beds, but assisted living, maybe hospice care, a walk-in clinic to see a nurse if doctors are not available or a hospital is too far away. These facilities can do more, if the state will let them and if they can get paid for it. But some of these services are outside the nursing facility license. That needs to change.
But for whatever reason, the reporter did not seem to think potential solutions were important to his story, just that old people were being moved out of their facilities “like cattle.” There is another way.