Like many other businesses, essential or not, COVID-19 brought new business challenges for owners and stakeholders to face. In the United States alone, over 100,000 small businesses have closed forever as of May due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s estimated that 7.5 million more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are at risk of closing.
Despite being in the medical field, private practices don’t get to dodge the economic repercussions of COVID-19. The American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already released helpful guides and certain clinic guidelines to help private practices stay afloat during the pandemic.
If you’ve just recently started your own private practice, facing medical and economic challenges may overwhelm you in keeping track of everything to ensure that your practice keeps running throughout the pandemic. Here is a comprehensive checklist that will serve as your guide as a practice owner or administration:
The main reason and perhaps the only major factor why businesses close during the coronavirus pandemic is due to financial losses. Which is why this is crucial to keep your private practice running.
Review and evaluate your ongoing financial plans. Considering that the pandemic broke in the early quarter of 2020, you would still have a certain amount of leeway when it comes to discretionary budgeting. Evaluate your financial plans so you can ensure the liquidity of your practice if ever there’s a less clinical revenue due to the pandemic. Determine how much does your business need in minimum to stay open and from there, you could develop your own contingency plan.
When doing this, develop a strategy for you to save money as much as possible without significantly hurting your practice and your employees. Such strategies might be delaying certain payments that can be delayed or seeking forbearance, forgiveness, or a standstill from your lenders and creditors among others.
Economic relief packages are given out by the United States government to SMEs to help alleviate the cost of running. Make sure to check for updates every now and then.
The emergence of pandemic worldwide created a shortage of essential medical supplies. This includes the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) which is absolutely necessary to keep you and your employees safe. Having a steady source of supply is important in making sure that your clinic won’t encounter any inventory problems.
While it’s tempting to bulk up on your supplies and have enough buffer for months, don’t order too much that all of your liquidated cash will go to unused stocks. Anticipate what you currently need and consult with your suppliers concerning the number of resources that you need to keep in a backup. If necessary, keep in touch with your local and state authorities regarding queueing for supplies.
Since the pandemic broke out, states and other localities are continuously issuing shelter in place and stay at home policies. These implementations impact your clinic operations not only when it comes to the number of patient visits but as well as the adjustment needs of your own employees.
While private practice clinics are classified under essential operations and generally, you won’t encounter a problem with the legality of staying open, you should understand the nuances of these policies and how it will impact your practice.
Such examples are guidelines for the right of essential employees to refuse to work, providing official letters to your employees for those who are under jurisdictions where a stay-at-home order is in effect, and other legal issues specified on your state and local municipality.
Consult with your legal team on the necessary steps that your practice should cover or have a state legal professional assist you with these matters if needed.
During these uncertain times, it’s crucial for your private practice to have a clear chain of command and a rapid response process. Revisit medical protocols, health safety practices, and other essential habits that everyone on your staff should be aware of.
Understand that the highest priority of your practice is the safety and health of everyone who steps into your clinic. From your health practitioners to the patients. Establish safety nets and think ahead when it comes to management and clinical response.
One of the things that your clinic should effectively maintain is employee rotation and shifting. Have your clinic’s schedule ironed out to fit in compliance with your state’s coronavirus guidelines. Prepare a contingency plan in the event that there will be an outbreak in your clinic. Think of it as a much extensive triage system that runs your whole clinic.
The COVID-19 pandemic closed and opened new opportunities for the medical field. As new normal measures are taken out, it’s imperative that your clinic can ride with these changes. Not only it will ensure that you and your employees’ safety are accounted for, but you’ll also have a higher chance of keeping your business open.
As much as possible, keep your business as flexible as possible and adapt to the new measures that you have to implement. One good example is the availability of telemedicine. Although you might need to shell out additional capital for your practice’s technological necessities, the benefit outweighs the cost.
In these times where the pandemic limits the options available for health care, you have to make sure that your business is as accessible as possible to your patients. By utilizing necessary digital health tools, you’ll be able to bring your practice outside the confines of your physical office. Of course, there are some things that you need to prepare as an owner and a physician, but with the right anticipation and response, your practice will be able to adapt and overcome certain limitations.