Regulators and Providers Share Goals and Values

By / Posted on October 8th, 2015

The Green House Project works with organizations in over 30 states to innovate long term care in a way that meets or exceeds the highest level of the regulations.  Collaboration with state regulators is pivotal to the success of the movement and well being of elders. To build and deepen relationships with regulators, Senior Director of The Green House Project, Susan Frazier Ryan,  recently attended the Association of Health Facilitator State Agencies (AHFSA) conference in Charleston, South Carolina.  This conference is an important opportunity to engage in dialogue with state regulators of skilled nursing homes and ensure that there is a clear understanding of The Green House model.

“We believe that providers and regulators share the goal of creating the highest quality environments and experiences to serve people who require long term care, and help them ‘attain or maintain their highest practicable level of well being.’  In order to achieve the goal and move the field forward, it is imperative that providers and regulators do not work in silos, but rather build mutual respect for each other’s vital role,” Ms. Ryan states. The Green House Project supports organizations to partner with regulators and create real homes where people live meaningful lives.



By / Posted on October 2nd, 2015

Green House Homes Will Be First of Their Kind in Champaign County

(Reprinted from Perkins Eastman) Last Thursday, September 24, in Urbana, IL, team members from the Chicago office of international design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman joined leadership from Clark-Lindsey for the groundbreaking of the CCRC’s new small homes for specialized dementia care—one devoted to assisted living and the other for skilled nursing care—that will follow The GREEN HOUSE® model. Each home will feature 12 private bedrooms, individualized care from specially trained caregivers, and home furnishings. The Perkins Eastman design team is led by Principal Jerry Walleck AIA and Associate Principal Ramu Ramachandran AIA, LEED AP, two key members of the firm’s renowned senior living practice area.

clark lindseyClark-Lindsey has partnered with The Green House Project and Perkins Eastman to help usher in a new and superior standard of care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illnesses. The introduction of these homes not only marks the first Green House project in Champaign County but also a major step forward for how Illinois providers and regulatory officials are looking to institute efficient and innovative care models for seniors. Green House homes are designed to provide a personalized model of care within a real home setting, replete with an open kitchen, dining room and other common areas, setting them apart from the traditional institutional model that can resemble a hospital or nursing home.

clark lindsey2The new homes, situated on a 10,000 sf footprint, will feature an architectural design where every inch of space has been carefully considered in order to transform the physical environment to feel more like home. From the outdoor courtyard, library and den areas to the open kitchen providing home cooked meals, these amenities encourage social contact among elders and caregivers. The homes’ design is tailored to maintain existing on-site trees as well as acknowledge the natural surroundings with respect to building proportion, scale and form, while also taking full advantage of the expansive views of adjacent Meadowbrook Park.

“Clark-Lindsey is already known within the industry as a leader and innovator when it comes to care,” says Jerry Walleck, the project’s design lead, “and the new Green House homes are a continuation of that. They will provide invaluable care and services to dementia residents and their families, and it’s an enormous privilege to have played our part in making that happen.” Both homes are scheduled to open in late 2016.

Clark-Lindsey Village was founded in 1978 and is the area’s first and only CCRC. It is one of only eight certified Centers for Successful Aging in the U.S. In addition to its forthcoming dementia care small homes, Clark-Lindsey Village offers extensive independent living accommodations, as well as inpatient and outpatient therapy services, assisted living and skilled nursing care at its Meadowbrook Health Center.

The Green House Project is a radically new national model for skilled nursing care that returns control, dignity and a sense of well-being to elders, their families and direct care staff. In the Green House model, residents receive care in small, self- contained homes organized to deliver individualized care and meaningful relationships between residents and care staff.

About Perkins Eastman
Perkins Eastman is among the top design and architecture firms in the world. With almost 950 employees in 14 locations around the globe, Perkins Eastman practices at every scale of the built environment. From niche buildings to complex projects that enrich whole communities, the firm’s portfolio reflects a dedication to progressive and inventive design that enhances the quality of the human experience. With work in 46 states and more than 40 countries, the firm’s portfolio includes transportation and public infrastructure, high-end residential, commercial, hotels, retail, office buildings, corporate interiors, schools, hospitals, museums, senior living, and public sector facilities. Perkins Eastman provides award-winning design through its offices in North America (New York, NY; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Pittsburgh, PA; San Francisco, CA; Stamford, CT; Toronto, Canada; and Washington, DC); South America (Guayaquil, Ecuador); North Africa and Middle East (Dubai, UAE); and Asia (Mumbai, India, and Shanghai, China).


7th Annual ALS & MS Walk for Living Raised Over $100,000!

By / Posted on September 28th, 2015

ALS Walk for LivingContact:

Debbie Weisberg
DKW Communications

7th Annual ALS & MS Walk for Living Raised Over $100,000!

Event Supported Revolutionary Urban Green House® Model Residences


CHELSEA, MA (September 2015) –The 7th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living, a fundraiser to support individuals with ALS and MS as well as the innovative residences at the Leonard Florence for Living, was held on Sunday, September 27, 10am at 165 Captains Row on Admirals Hill.

The Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL) is the first urban model GREEN HOUSE® homes in the country and the world’s only fully vented ALS residence. The LFCL features neurological specialty residences with cutting-edge assistive technology, allowing individuals with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) to receive skilled nursing care in a nurturing home environment. Walk for Living Photo 9-27-15

Bonnie Berthiaume was the first multiple sclerosis resident to move into the Leonard Florence Center for Living in 2010. The Center has, quite simply, changed her life. “Since moving here, I have been able to participate in wonderful outings; we have gone to Red Sox games, movies and the theatre,” explains Bonnie. “I have even gone skydiving three times!” The Leonard Florence Center, sponsored by the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, consists of ten homes, with ten residents living in each home. The ALS and MS residents, many of whom are completely immobilized, are able to control the lights, turn on the TV, open doors and raise window shades — just by using their eyes.

Ten years after his ALS diagnosis, Patrick O’Brien, another LFCL resident, premiered his extraordinary film “TransFatty Lives” at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Lauded by both critics and attendees, the film won the “Top Audience Award,” which is the highest possible honor and chosen by peers. Although Patrick needs round-the-clock ventilation, he lives an active and busy life at the Center. In addition to producing films, Patrick travels, attends concerts, sporting events, movies and premiers. “I was officially diagnosed with ALS when I was 30 years old,” explains O’Brien. “It is a fatal and incurable disease yet I have chosen to do something with my illness. This challenge has given me a focal point for my energies, and will hopefully inspire others to keep moving through their own adversities.”

Steve and Scott

Steve Saling with Green House team member, Scott Brown. Steve’s shirt has his mantra, “Life is Good” in bold letters!

Over the years, the ALS & MS Walk for Living has become an integral part of the local community. Over 1000 people attended this year’s walk. The event also honored Everett High School teacher Susan Lomas, who has been involved in the Walk since the start and has been instrumental in getting so many of the Everett High School’s students involved throughout the years. Moreover, Chelsea High School students and their families turned out in full force for this event, as they have in the past.

Popular radio and TV personality Billy Costa, co-host of “Matty in the Morning” on KISS 108, host of “Dining Playbook” on NESN and host of “High School Quiz Show” on WGBH was this year’s emcee and kicked off the two-mile walk. Major corporate sponsors included Biogen, M&T Bank, AHOA, Kayem and Clifton Larson. Immediately following the walk, there was a BBQ hosted by Chili’s, doughnuts provided by Dunkin Donuts, face painting, live dance performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth and a raffle. The Walk for Living is one of the few walks that are dog-friendly.

Barry, Betsy, Scott and Adam

Chelsea Jewish Foundation Leaders, Barry Berman, Betsy Mullen and Adam Berman along with Green House Director, Scott Brown

“We are extremely grateful for the support of our local communities, businesses, residents and their families, and the many friends of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation,” said Barry Berman, CEO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. “The Walk for Living is crucial in helping our residents live richer and fuller lives.”

“I was excited to be involved with 7th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living,” states Billy Costa. “It is our hope that the Walk for Living will help to raise funds and awareness about living with ALS and MS today. I have lost two close friends to ALS over the last few years, so I understand just how devastating these diseases can be. The technological advances, amenities and services at the Leonard Florence Center for Living are truly inspiring.”

Support the ALS & MS Walk for Living by making a much-needed donation at or contact Joelle Smith at 617-409-8973 or To view videos about the LFCL residents, please go to, and


September is World Alzheimer’s Month…Every 67 Seconds Someone In The United States Develops Alzheimer’s Disease

By / Posted on September 17th, 2015

It’s an amazing statistic and there are many more that accompany it:

  • It is the 6th leading cause of death in our country
  • It is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed
  • One in three Elders die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia
  • Almost two thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women

The World Month was established to raise awareness and to increase education ThinkstockPhotos-480845135about the disease.  It is designed to encourage people all around the world to spot the signs of dementia, but also not to forget about loved ones who are living with dementia, or those who may have passed away.

The 2015 report titled “The Global Impact of Dementia” was included in a recent article by Long-Term Living.  It commented on five statistics that we should all know.

Dr. Al Power, who has been named to the Scientific Program Committee for Alzheimer’s Disease International 2015, has provided much insight on this topic to Green House adopters.   His blogs, webinars and presentations have resulted in rich conversation about the disease.  Dr. Power will be conducting an all day preconference session along with a plenary and education session at The Eighth Annual Green House Meeting & Celebration in Broomfield, CO from November 16-18th. The annual meeting is for Green House members only and this year’s theme is Better Together.  The title of Dr. Power’s preconference session is “Reframing Dementia.”  His plenary session is entitled “Living Better Together with Dementia: Taking it Further” and his education session is “Real Life Without Antipsychotic Drugs.”

To learn more about Alzheimer’s click here for information and research from the Alzheimer’s Association.

So, what will you do this month to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease?


Build This, Not That: Lessons Learned From a Decade of Green House Home Experience

By / Posted on September 17th, 2015

Rob and Debbie speaking on this topic at The Pioneer Network Conference

Rob and Debbie speaking on this topic at The Pioneer Network Conference

Green House Project Guide Debbie Wiegand, LNHA and Rob Simonetti, Senior Associate with SWBR Architects highlight key Green House design lessons learned from over a decade of experience in the webinar “Build This, Not That: Lessons Learned From a Decade of Green House Home Experience.”  These lessons are supported by research, and have helped Green House adopters to partner with regulators to build residential homes that meet the highest level of skilled nursing licensing standards.

The core values of Real Home, Meaningful Life, and Empowered Staff represent the physical, philosophical, and organizational transformation that allows those working, living, and visiting Green House homes to “feel the difference” when they enter the front door. Design topics are addressed as they relate to The Green House experience, focusing on insight and value of design concepts that foster how the core values are lived and integrated in Green House Homes. Real home design elements are crucial in supporting elders and empowering staff to create a meaningful life within The Green House home. A strong evidence base of research around the core values provides insight into what makes the model unique and sustainable, and provides an opportunity for positive outcomes. These data driven practices are crucial solutions to share with providers, policy makers, and consumers when beginning the design process and overcoming regulatory hurdles.

“It’s all about relationships” when introducing this new, different model of care. In order to achieve this radical

St. John's Penfield Green House homes in Rochester, NY.  SWBR designed these homes in collaboration with the team from St. John's and The Green House Project

St. John’s Penfield Green House homes in Rochester, NY. SWBR designed these homes in collaboration with the team from St. John’s and The Green House Project

change in care, collaborating with state regulatory agencies is critical to develop strategies that create win-win outcomes for providers and regulators. Common goals are established through a formal meeting with the state regulatory agency to observe opportunities for insight on important topics and discuss strategies that honor the agency’s values while exceeding regulatory compliance through evidence based solutions. Green House has partnered with over 30 state agencies by creating opportunities to establish common ground and execute mutually shared goals through innovative strategies and model education. In the webinar, Debbie provides suggestions for adopters related to the top five regulatory hurdles that she has experienced; fireplaces, medication storage, elimination of the nurse’s station, open kitchens, and corridors. Green House adopters are encouraged to dialogue with regulators about ways to minimize potential harm while using evidence to support the impact the feature will have towards building quality of life.

When designing Green House homes, Rob encourages listeners to “think beyond the front door”, emphasizing that the experience of getting to the home should be integrated within the neighborhood and connect individuals back to their experiences and culture of that community through the location, regional architecture, and shared amenities of the home. Rob identifies lessons learned in various aspects of the home as the model has evolved over the past decade including home design, size, room layout, lighting, appliances, and furniture, highlighting responses of what works and what doesn’t from a recent survey of Green House adopter’s design experience.

Interested in learning more about Green House design? Listen to the webinar and learn more about the design process>>


Jefferson County Creates Sustainable Change Across Their Organization

By / Posted on September 17th, 2015

In order to change the way that the world sees aging, it is important to not just implement The Green House model, but also to sustain it.  Through experience and research, we have found that this occurs most successfully when culture change exists throughout the organization, not just within The Green House homes.

JCNH Green House

Jefferson County Green House home

Jefferson County Nursing home in Tennessee opened their three Green House homes in 2010, and have experienced successful outcomes and stories of transformation.  As they look to the future, they have decided to partner again with The Green House Project on a process called, The Legacy Blueprint.  This program is offered to Green House organizations when they also have a legacy home to promote alignment of the core values and essential practices of The Green House model.  All elders, regardless of where they live, deserve a small, flexible and warm environment with opportunities for choice, and a sense of purpose.

Roger Mynatt, Executive Director of Jefferson County Nursing Home, shares, “We chose work with The Green House Project on the Legacy Blueprint because it will create the perfect bridge between the Legacy Building and our Green House homes.  We are taking the best of our mission and complimenting it with the Green House Core Values to create staff empowerment and person-directed care.”

Roger Mynatt with Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of The Green House model in 2010

Roger Mynatt with Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of The Green House model in 2010

To learn more about The Green House implementation process, click here to download Homes for Success





Deadline Extended by CMS for Comments on LTC Regulation Changes

By / Posted on September 15th, 2015


via: McKnight’s

If you thought you would not have enough time to offer your input on the long-term care regulation reform rule you have just been given another 30 days!

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have extended the comment period until October 14, 2015.

If you are a Green House adopter or an advocate for culture change it’s important we share our vision and core values to change long term care in our country.  The last time regulations were written was 1991!

 Culture change advocate, Carmen Bowman who was a Colorado state surveyor for nine years and  policy analyst with CMS Central Office, strongly urges everyone to make sure their voice is heard on the proposed changes.  Carmen, who now is a consultant, trainer, author and owner of Edu-Catering said “As representatives of the culture change movement, what a grand opportunity we all have to encourage CMS to make some changes–to especially look at language.”  She went on to say there are many other culture change practices that advocates may want to urge CMS to include in these new regulations.

Let’s make sure our thoughts and concerns are part of the process!

Click here to read more about the announcement

Happy 50th Anniversary To Medicare…What Will The Next Five Decades Hold?

By / Posted on September 12th, 2015

This year marks some major celebrations when you think of programs for Elders in this country.  80 years for Social Security and the Golden Anniversary for the Older Americans Act as well as Medicare and Medicaid.

Medicare was signed into law on July 30, 1965; however it was a much debated piece of legislation in a variety of forms prior to that historic date!  In many ways it may remind you of the debate that continues today about health care coverage in our country and how it should be provided.

Medicare has grown into the nation’s largest healthcare program, covering 55 million Americans over the age of 65 and includes people with certain disabilities.

As lifestyle changes and advances in medicine have helped increase our life expectancy, it also has created a financial challenge for Medicare.  When the program was first implemented people were living until 70…today you can add another 10 years to that number.

Within 15 years it’s estimated that 76 million additional baby boomers will be eligible for Medicare, however it’s also estimated that there will not be enough people paying into the system to support the current benefits of the program.Generations-summer-2015-cover

It is not a new or surprising issue—we have known that the Baby Boomers would soon be turning 65 in very large numbers—what we did not know was how to begin to find good options that could keep the program in place and honor the true mission of Medicare.  With the 50th anniversary this year, there is more discussion around possible options and some are saying the future for the program is beginning to look brighter.  Click here to read one example of that optimism.

To mark this milestone occasion, The American Society on Aging (ASA) devoted its Summer 2015 quarterly journal to the topic of Medicare.  It explores the past, present and future of this important program.  Click here to read more.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Dementia

By / Posted on September 10th, 2015

Dr. Al Power will be conducting an all day preconference session along with a plenary and education session at The Eighth Annual Green House Meeting & Celebration in Broomfield, CO from November 16-18th. The annual meeting is for Green House members only and this year’s theme is Better Together.  The title of Dr. Power’s preconference session is “Reframing Dementia.”  His plenary session is entitled “Living Better Together with Dementia: Taking it Further” and his education session is “Real Life Without Antipsychotic Drugs.”  Log-in to the Peer Network website today to register for the meeting so you can hear from Dr. Power first hand!


Like most people, I am subject to a regular barrage of media reports, coming from radio, television, internet news outlets, social media and daily RSS feeds. And here is what this information stream has taught me:

If I eat blueberries, I’ll lower my risk of Alzheimer’s. Or was that tomatoes? It now appears that yogurt lowers the risk as well—does that mean blueberry yogurt, or will any old flavor do? Maybe I should have coconut flavored yogurt, because apparently, if all that coconut oil doesn’t kill me with a heart attack, it may make my brain healthier.

And now it appears I may have to replace my plumbing, because a new study suggests that too much copper causes Alzheimer’s; though other medical studies have shown that a high copper intake actually lowers the risk. So which is it? And is lead involved? (I need to know because I tend to chew on my pencils when I do my daily Sudoku puzzles.)

And then there’s the glucose connection, the blood pressure connection, the inflammatory connection, the brain reserve connection, the mood disorder connection, the social connections connection.

And what kind of a teenager was I? Apparently, certain adolescent behaviors raise your risk. One of them is getting drunk; well, thank God, none of us ever did that! Also, it’s a risk if you have a history of adolescent antipsychotic use. (Tell that to the psychiatrists who are finding all kinds of new reasons to prescribe these drugs to young people, from depression to “oppositional disorders”.)

Another risk factor (cue Randy Newman) is being too short. Time to get out the gravity boots? And if that weren’t bad enough, now the folks in Manhattan say dementia can come from exposure to bacterial and viral infections. (Someone sneezed on me just the other day, and I swear my ADAS-Cog score dropped two points!)

Okay everyone, are you listening to me?? STOP! Just…stop. If there were a “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Dementia”, the first words would still be: “Don’t panic.”

What we have here is a collection of illnesses closely tied to the aging process, and a sequence of changes that may begin decades before we show any outward signs. And we are dissecting all the minutiae of the millions of things we do, eat, drink or experience in our lives—trying to find connections, however tenuous, that we can shoot to the media outlets to fuel the frenzy.

There are a lot of people making money off of our hysteria and paranoia. But it’s much worse than that.

You see, the more we fuel this kind of panic, the more we demonize the condition; and consequently, the more we demonize and dehumanize people who live with cognitive disability. Folks like Dr. Bill Thomas have long warned us that those people who do less or produce less are devalued in our society. It is also now clear that a similar fate befalls those who remember less in our hyper-cognitive, technology-obsessed world.

Here are a couple of known facts to keep in mind: We all die. Many of us who live to a ripe old age will experience changes in various organ functions and capabilities. Many of us will become forgetful as we reach our later years. Those who do are not bad people.

There is so much emphasis on “successful aging” these days—what does that mean? Are you successful if you run marathons until you are 96 and then die in your sleep, or at the completion of some incredible sexual escapade? That’s romantic, but highly subjective and unlikely. More important, this fixation on how we end our lives not only threatens to devalue who we are in our last years, but also how we have lived all of the earlier days of our lives.

And if you don’t make it to the grave with all of your organ functions intact (an oxymoron in itself), what is that called? “Failed aging”? What about people born with developmental disabilities or congenital illness? They would be “failed agers” from the very start. No need to even give them blueberries and yogurt, I guess.

You and I will always be more than the sum of what we can do and what we can remember. So here’s the advice I would put in my “Hitchhiker’s Guide”:

No matter who you are or how you live your life, you have a chance of becoming forgetful as you age. Your risk is never zero, but no one knows your exact “number”. You can almost certainly lower that risk somewhat if you eat well, exercise and do things that are good for your body, mind, and spirit; your risk will probably go up if you abuse any of those. But being obsessive about every little thing you do will likely not improve your odds to a greater extent than healthy moderation.

Find that “sweet spot” that gives you a life worth living. When we stop indulging the fear mongers, we can see the value in people of all abilities. This will help us to visualize a true path to well-being for all.

The Heart of The Home: Elders and Staff

By / Posted on August 28th, 2015

Last year, when Claremont, CA resident Bill Andrus began to need 24-hour care in their home, he and his wife, Georgeann, chose Mt. San Antonio Gardens’ Evergreen Villas for his new home. The Villas are trademarked  GREEN HOUSE homes, which provides a real home for people needing skilled nursing care. In each of the two villas, the residents are supported by a small, self-managed team of care partners, known as shahbazim, and nurses. Mt. San Antonio Gardens pioneered what are California’s first and only small homes licensed for skilled nursing.

“We wanted Bill to live in a stimulating environment while receiving the care he needs,” says Georgeann. Acknowledging the difficulty of making that decision, the couple feels fortunate that the Villas were an option for them. Georgeann, who served on the Gardens board of directors for six years when The Green House homes were being considered, says, “We are so grateful for Bill to be part of it. It has been particularly heartwarming to see this from the initial concept and then to participate in the reality of seeing it work very well.”

Bill and Georgeann Anrus

Bill and Georgeann Anrus

While Bill was settling in, Georgeann applied to live at the Gardens as an active, healthy independent resident. She moved into an apartment on campus where she takes a quick walk to the Evergreen Villas. Living on the same campus means easy and frequent visits each day. The couple goes together to lectures and performances held at the Gardens or at the nearby Claremont Colleges. “Our neurologist had said to me, ‘Now you can just be a spouse, not the caregiver’, and he was so right!”

“Bill has become physically stronger since his move here,” marvels Georgeann. The special design of the great room has inspired Bill to use his walker, unassisted. The couple also credits the home-like atmosphere and the personalized attention of the shahbazim and nurses to his continued well-being. Because this team works so closely with such a small group of elders, the care partners get to know their personalities and individual needs and preferences intimately. While the shahbazim are also responsible for cooking and maintaining the house, their first priority, Georgeann notes, is always the care of the elders.

“The people are the best thing,” says Bill, who especially enjoys sharing common interests with Registered Nurse (RN) Michael Sansosti. Both are avid readers and love fishing.

Michael and Bill Reading for screen only 100 dpi

Bill and Michael reading

“It’s great,” says Michael. “We trade books and when I have some extra time in my schedule, we’ll spend time talking about them.” The ability to give everyone a little extra attention is very gratifying. Michael, who previously worked in structured hospital environments, enjoys the opportunity he now has to cultivate more personal friendships with the residents he cares for. “Certain people, like Bill, do very well in this kind of setting. It is especially well suited to those who prefer to take the initiative for their daily activities” and who enjoy the interaction and activity that is such an important part of the daily experience in the Evergreen Villas, according to Michael.

Working with the caregivers is also a new experience for Michael. “We work side by side with the shahbazim. While the RNs are in charge of everything clinical, the care partners spend all of their time interacting with the residents, so they can give us feedback on their behavior and needs, enabling us to intervene early.”


Amanda, shahbaz, and Michael, nurse, work together

Amanda, shahbaz, and Michael, nurse, work together

“Communication is a big thing here,” acknowledges shahbaz Amanda Phos, who began her training for her role long before the Evergreen Villas opened. With just 10 elders in each of the two Evergreen Villas, the care partners get to know each person personally, from their life stories to their health needs and abilities, their food preferences, and their hobbies and interests. “If you know the elders well, taking care of them is very easy,” says Amanda. “I think that’s the beauty of this place. We base each day’s activities on what they individually want to do. And every day is different. When we all come together around the dinner table, we like to talk about the day’s activities. It feels like a family.


“It’s hard work, and it takes a team to make it work so well,” says Amanda. “We’re the heart of the home, and that makes it very gratifying to be here.”


End of Life Counseling: Medicare soon to cover the costs of those discussions with your doctor

By / Posted on August 12th, 2015

elder shahbaz hands 1Plans to reimburse doctors for conversations with Elders about what to do about end-of-life care has been talked about for years–and at times a very controversial topic–but it appears Medicare is ready to implement that change.  Currently they are gathering public comments and if approved, would take effect in January.

It’s a proposal applauded by many because they believe people should have a greater say about how many medical options they want used to stay alive such as a ventilator or feeding tube.

atul-beingmortal-cover3d1-319x479It’s a topic close to the heart for Dr. Atul Gawande, author of the book, “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End“.  He challenges people to think carefully about the decisions they make for themselves and their loved ones at the end of life.  In his book, he examines the loneliness, helplessness and boredom so often experienced by those living out the end of their lives in long-term care institutions and he argues that this should not be the norm in our country. He writes that Green House homes are “…designed to pursue that idea that a life worth living can be created…by focusing on food, homemaking, and befriending others.”

A final decision on the proposal is expected by early November.  It would allow qualified medical professionals to be reimbursed for face-to-face meetings with patients.  Read more about the plan using the following links:

New York Times  Medicare Plans to Pay Doctors for counseling on End of Life

McKnights  Providers Applaud CMS Proposal to Cover Advance Care Planning

NPR  Medicare Plans to Pay for Voluntary End-Of-Life Counseling




Buckner Westminster Place Earns National Recognition

By / Posted on August 12th, 2015


U.S.wes wells with plague News & World Report awarded two of Buckner’s Green House homes in Longview, Texas with a four-star rating in its annual Best Nursing Homes issue.  Congratulations to all!  The magazine rated almost 16, 000 nursing homes across the country.  The ratings are awarded by looking at the data collected in the homes.

Administrator and Guide for the Buckner homes, Wes Wells, explained that the rating was the result of a number of resident surveys.  “(U.S. News & World Report) didn’t come out here and look at us,” Wells said. “They looked at our measurements based on assessments that we have to turn in.”

cropped buckner celbration pictureA special celebration occurred in late July to show the plagues to all involved and thank everyone for their contributions to the success of the homes.  In fact all staff members were treated to a steak dinner in honor of this special distinction.

Click here to read the entire article from the Longview News-Journal.

Click here to see a video of the celebration from the local CBS affiliate.