Sixteen years ago, on a small, energy-independent farm in upstate New York, I had the opportunity to visit with a man who was making a name for himself in the long-term care industry — an industry where many had already branded the 40-ish, bearded advocate as “radical” and “misguided.”
The truth? I drove to his farm that afternoon, like others before me, to find out if he was the “real deal.” I knew he could “talk the talk.” But I needed to know if this former Skilled Nursing Facility Medical Director could “walk the walk.”
Ironically, it wasn’t his vision of care for the frail aging that won me over that afternoon, but rather his fascination with and affection for his two infant children – both cursed from birth with Ohtahara Syndrome; a rare and cruel form of epilepsy. I sat mesmerized in Bill and Judith Meyers-Thomas’ modest living room, beginning to understand why the Harvard-educated physician had, by any standard, changed the adult congregate living industry more than any other figure in US history.
As far as the good doctor and abolitionism go, I believe you understand the context in which he uses the term – a word, as you’re well aware, means “to eliminate slavery.”
Finally, I am reminded of Deep Throat’s admonishment to Bob Woodward in All the President’s Men to “Follow the money,” and secretly wonder how much of your enchantment with the nursing home sector is born of quid pro quo generosity.