A Message From Focused Care's Founder

Mark McKenzie, CEO

Let’s Be Honest

The holiday when we focus on expressing our gratitude is near and my family and I look forward to being together on that day. Another special aspect of this holiday is that it provides yet another opportunity for me to thank the Focused Care family for all it does.  Please know NONE of your good and noble works go unnoticed. I know what you are doing – I’ve been on the inside of our profession for the last 30 years starting out as a nurse aide and working my way eventually to an administrator – seeing and experiencing so much along the way. I believe, as the founder of Focused Care, in our mission, in our contribution to the health and well-being of our most vulnerable and I know those who choose this profession have a heart for caring for others.

So bear with me when I move the subject matter of this message to those who claim to know us and what we do, who declare they want seniors protected and provided with meaningful options in life and yet, who often, inexplicably work against us. I have in mind a national organization with a powerful and outspoken lobby and one with state chapters across the country – a well-recognized chapter in Texas.

We can all belong to this association after we turn a certain age – in fact, it dropped the age for membership down to 50 many years ago – which vastly increased the number of people who could get its newsletter, benefit from its hospitality discounts and receive lots of information on public policy impacting seniors and retirees.  Dropping the membership age much lower than most people retire and long before they are eligible for Medicare – also fattened this organization’s revenue stream – in fact an independent analysis shows its reported assets in 2017 were $4.2 billion – it’s the largest interest group in America.

The reason I am taking this well-known organization to task is that they can be counted on to publicly criticize long term care – the ONLY facility-based care that provides 24/7 skilled nursing to seniors when their vulnerability and health status require it. Last month In Texas it opposed additional funds for long term care that we pushed hard for – unused federal funds given to the state that we could use for our dire workforce situation without impacting our state budget.  Representatives from this “senior advocacy” association – were quite matter-of-fact as they told state legislators what long term care providers need and don’t need. Interestingly, none of these people with the microphone actually served on the frontlines during this pandemic, none of them cried with you during your break when you were certain you didn’t have the energy left to finish your shift or feel the fear and uncertainty of going home at the end of the day and back to your long term care community the next morning.

This is not a matter of differing opinions.  It is a matter of irresponsible, and disingenuous behavior that further disables an infrastructure in place to care for our aging population.

The pandemic continues to expose not only a fractured health care system but advocacy platforms that are self-serving at best and detrimental to seniors at worst.

Hold close to what you know. I do.  Let’s stay honest with each other and spread the word.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Mark McKenzie

Founder and CEO