If I have a reputation for anything it is a willingness to express an opinion — and sometimes that comes with a price.

By Steve Moran

If I have a reputation for anything it is a willingness to express an opinion — and sometimes that comes with a price.

Here is what a recent week looked like:

On Sunday night, I posted an article titled Will This Be the Day the Feds Destroyed Assisted Living where I expressed concern that a recently released report from the GAO calling for better data collection on assisted living communities that serve Medicaid waiver residents.   

Then on Monday, Senior Housing News published an article titled “Federal Watchdog Criticizes Gaps in Assisted Living Regulations” that contained quotes from leadership at Argentum, LeadingAge, and AHCA where all three took the position that this was not a big deal, and maybe even good for the industry.    

I shook my head, wondering what I got wrong and sent emails to all three organizations asking what I was missing. We had very good productive friendly dialogs about their thinking. We all agreed to disagree and time will tell. I will likely devote a future article to what they are thinking.  

But, it was “DRAT — sideways with all three associations in one fell swoop!”


I received a text message from a cousin, whose father (my uncle) was about to be discharged from skilled nursing rehabilitation with the nursing home refusing to take any responsibility for providing a safe discharge. The cash flow was over and they just wanted this MediCal-pending 89-year-old out! No matter that he had no money and home was not a safe option.

The Administrator was on vacation, so I had some interactions with the director of nursing that were unabashedly unpleasant. I insisted that they had a legal and moral obligation to provide a safe discharge. The DON didn’t care. She told my uncle’s wife I “terrorized her.” Yes, there will be a future article about this too.

Drat, I have never been accused of being a terrorist before.

I Am Not Yet Done

Then I discovered there is a substantial group of “feet on the ground” senior referral agencies that apparently think I hate them and the way they do business — in favor of the large internet referral organizations like Caring.com, a Senior Housing Forum partner, and APFM.

They feel this way because I have been very critical of efforts by organizations that represent this style of referral agencies pushing state governments to pass laws that would give them preferential treatment and make it harder for the online agencies to compete. I have suggested that instead they should figure out how to compete more effectively.

What is actually true is that I think both types should co-exist and that for a significant number of consumers they do represent a better choice than the online referral agencies.   

Drat again . . . and the week is not even over (as I write this).

So Here We Are

First, I want to say that I have the greatest respect for the three trade associations that do not see things the same way I do. I really appreciate their willingness to dialog about what the GAO report means, and I don’t think they are actually mad or anything, except they have a different view. I also recognize that it could turn out that I am wrong.  

I admit to being a bit discouraged that someone would accuse me of being a terrorist when I am standing up for the rights of a resident — or that a group of people have mis-characterized my position on an issue.

The Likeable Contrarian

On the other hand, I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a contrarian and grateful to have the opportunity to be wrong. Because it provides the opportunity to grow and learn. This ultimately means we serve seniors better, serve teams better, serve families better and — at the end of the day — make the world a better place.

Mostly though, I am most grateful that the people who I am crossways with will have the passion to speak out when they see something they disagree with.