In Memoriam: Steve Levenson, MD, CMD

Steve Levenson, MD, CMDSteve Levenson never had any qualms telling things as they were. It’s what I loved the most about him. Remarkably, his analysis of all things related to geriatrics and long-term care medicine were almost always spot on.  He was an encyclopedia of knowledge and a laser focused repository of institutional memory. What I will miss the most about Steve is that I no longer have someone to call to get an unvarnished and incredibly well-informed answer to almost any question related to the art, science and policies surrounding nursing home care.  We have lost a once in a lifetime voice that I worry might be impossible to replace.

I had known Steve for many years, and looked forward to participating in any meeting that he was part of.  He would speak up and I would literally hang on to every word.  Steve knew his stuff!  Over the past few years, I got to know Steve a lot better.  He was working on what one might consider to be his “Opus,” that culminated in a three-part series (Part 1:; Part 2:; the third and final one to be forthcoming) of articles for JAMDA on everything related to the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes.  I was privileged to see his earliest drafts and relished the opportunity to have vigorous discussions on some of the finer points.  Steve was a formidable person to debate, and we had developed a mutual respect that I cherished.  

Dr. Steve Levenson spent 43 years working on-site in long-term and post-acute care settings as a physician and medical director in Maryland. He is widely recognized for his pioneering work in medical direction and efforts to improve long-term care. He wrote four books and almost 100 articles. His book, Medical Direction in Long-term Care, was the first ever written about how to be a medical director. He also authored a comprehensive how-to-do-it guide for medical directors and the Subacute and Transitional Care Handbook, which is the only comprehensive clinically oriented reference on the topic of post-acute care. 

He was a past-President of AMDA—The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, and also spent 25 years (1988-2013) as an advisor and consultant for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), helping develop clinically relevant surveyor guidance and training on most of the Quality-of-Care and many of the Quality-of-Life FTags.

Steve’s loss leaves a huge void.  Steve himself understood this and often shared his concern that voices such as his were few and far between.  I’ll go one step further. There will likely never be another individual like Steve Levenson.  Steve spent a lifetime advocating for the integration of critical thinking based on the geriatrics approach to care into the delivery of care to vulnerable older adults. CALTCM was recently honored to have Steve give two webinars focused on his groundbreaking concept of “Smart Case Review” ( We can honor him further by picking up the many gauntlets that he regularly threw down and each taking on an aspect of the things that he was passionate about.  Let that be Steve’s legacy!

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Frank Randolph MD - Thursday, February 15, 2024

I used Steve's book long ago as my key reference on Medical Direction. I have communicated with him for advice over the years. On occasion, in person, at AMDA meetings. He was definitely a leader extraordinaire.

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