You'd be hard-pressed to find an industry that is dealing with more turmoil than the long-term care industry right now. Every day there are posts on social media from Administrators and even more so Directors of Nursing saying that they just can't handle the stresses of the job anymore. I for one, don't blame them one bit. There seems to be no support for the industry either at the Federal or State level. Many facilities are either shutting their doors or being sold to new ownership that often times only cares about dollar signs as opposed to quality of care.
F-Tag Journal was born out of necessity. As a new Administrator several years ago, I kept finding out the hard way that surveyors are awfully creative when it comes to issuing citations. I would go back and read the regulations and the Interpretive Guidelines and still find myself pondering how the surveyor was able to issue a citation based on one or two very vague sentences in the regulation. I've heard bosses tell me that surveyors cannot issue a citation based on the Interpretive Guidelines. The reality is I've seen surveyors issue citations out of thin air. Let me give you an example. F557 is the often referred to as the Dignity F-Tag. One surveyor felt that a resident that had been in the building for several weeks and did not have his name posted on the nameplate outside his door was being treated in an undignified manner by the facility because of this. I promise you that no matter how many times you read the Interpretive Guidelines, you will not find any mention of door nameplates. But that is the nature of Long-Term Care. It is brutal.
When I started realizing how brutal this industry was, I started doing some research to justify my hunch. I looked at the historical records of how many citations were being issued every year both at the state level and national level. It was shocking to me to learn that from 2016 to 2019 (Pre-COVID) the number of citations nationally was increased every year by about 5,000. In 2019, there were roughly 123,000 citations issued. Everything we hear from Washington D.C. these days continues to be hypercritical of the industry. We beg the politicians to do something about reimbursement rates and to help us with our incredible staffing shortage but it seems to fall on deaf ears. We are out here on our own. Reimbursement rates will always be too low. Staffing will always be a challenge. The regulatory environment is getting harder and harder. Enter F-Tag Journal.
Many of us learn better from lectures and video presentations than they do being handed a 800 page book and encouragement such as "good luck". F-Tag Journal is here to simplify the learning process. It takes the Interpretive Guidelines and breaks it down into smaller bits that are easier to digest and retain. After a review of the sometimes lengthy Interpretive Guidelines comes the true value of F-Tag Journal, the real life specific examples taken from the 2567s of other facilities. Anyone that has ever sat through a college lecture knows that at some point a student will ask "Can you give us some examples?" There is a reason people need examples. Sometimes descriptions and words don't quite fully communicate the intentions of what is trying to be taught. I think the Interpretive Guidelines is very much a victim of this principle. That is why F-Tag Journal is so incredibly helpful. Some of the F-Tags literally have hundreds of different specific examples that you would never imagine would be cited by reading the regulations or the Interpretive Guidelines. But they do. F-Tag Journal is incredibly helpful. I've experienced it in my own buildings and have gotten feedback from other leaders that have used it in theirs.
So far I've been able to identify 4 key reasons how F-Tag Journal can help the career of an Administrator or Director of Nursing. First, it supports your clinical staff. If you are a DON, ADON or Staff Development Director and you are responsible for education, training and inservices this is an incredible resource for you. It saves time and money. How much time does a DON or SDD spend creating teaching materials or inservices? Wouldn't it be more efficient to just sit your staff down, login to ftagjournal.com and hit the play button? Let's run some numbers. Let's say you pay your SSD $30/hour. They spend about 10 hours a month creating or finding teaching and education materials. That's about $300 every month of man-hours. F-Tag Journal currently costs $27/month. You just cut your education cost by 90% and freed up about 10 hour of your SSD's time. Not bad.
Secondly, F-Tag Journal is education that has learned from the mistakes of others. You are welcome to make your own mistakes as a DON or Administrator, but I'd suggest for the sake of your career and salary that you find other ways to avoid citations that by getting them firsthand. F-Tag Journal literally has thousands of specific examples that you will never anticipate as a potential citation until its too late.
Thirdly, F-Tag Journal is their on-demand. Maybe you don't even have a Staff Development Director at your building. A lot of companies are trimming their budgets and SDDs are often one of the first to go. That leaves the training responsibility up to you and other leadership. Having on-demand training for $27/month is quite the deal. It's as easy as sit, login, hit play and you're done.
Lastly, you can use F-Tag Journal as an accountability tool. A great strategy that another Administrator came up with was to identify which videos he wanted his department heads to watch and he asked them to come up with strategies to ensure that the facility would not get any of the citations mentioned in the training videos. He said he got the idea from a book called Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. I have since tried that strategy myself with a new dietary manager and found it to be very effective. I will mention that I had to sit down with the new Dietary Manager and work through some of it with them, but they did most of the work with a little guidance and some suggestions. She has dramatically changed for the better the dietary department.
I hope you can see the value that F-Tag Journal has if you put the information into action. I never intended for the videos to be watched and forgotten. The intent was for leaders to be able to take the information and use it to get better survey results. So far, anyone that has used it that way has proven that this strategy is quite useful. I hope you'll support me on this as I continue to produce more and more training videos for those that want to be the best in the industry and want to be able to command salaries at the top end of the spectrum. I don't need to get rich, I just need enough support that I can commit to producing these videos full-time.