Focusing On Business Fundamentals

negotiating on behalf of providers

The essential steps to getting your medical practice back up and running as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic

Let’s move forward a few months.

The pandemic is under the control, lockdowns are lifted, you have decided to bring back your staff full time and the phone is ringing off the hook with patients who now feel confident enough to be seen in your office.

What do you do first? First, be thankful and express gratitude for surviving the crisis.

The immediate requirement for your business is to make sure you have enough cash to shore up continued operating expenses as your business revenue recovers. This process of conserving cash while your business recovers will take multiple months. What should you do first?

1) Understand your cash position and your monthly fixed and variable overheads.

You must pay staff, you must pay utilities, but everything else is negotiable. Landlords, insurance companies, car companies and vendors all can wait to be paid for now.

A personal phone call by you, or your management explaining your personal business predicament with a plan for getting caught up or negotiating a settlement will always work. Any vendor understands that putting their customers out of business by pressuring them to pay money they do not have, is not good business.

Good and honest communication with scheduled updates with the vendor will be accepted 100% of the time by every vendor. The idea is to return your practice to peak revenue-generating form while still keeping the lights on.

2) Focus on putting clinic resources into patient care and clinic activities that generate revenue.

To save money by having one less nurse or medical assistant does not make sense if this staff shortage means your clinic can see 6 less patients a day. Not having every phone call answered means less appointments are made, less patients are seen, and less revenue is generated. If your revenue cycle staff is not able to perform all vital functions that were required pre-pandemic, then your clinic will take that much longer reach past revenue-generating efficiencies.

Staggering rehires based on current clinic needs does make sense, but not filling key positions that were required pre-pandemic means that your practice may never regain its previous efficiencies.

3) Re-negotiating compensation for all staff and providers for a specific period until clinic revenue reaches pre-pandemic levels is a viable option. This is a difficult conversation but this unique crisis means that your staff may need to make short term sacrifices to insure your business can regain its pre-pandemic form.

4) Look to alternative short-term business financing solutions.

There are companies that offer working capital loans against receivables, private equity companies that would like to partner with certain medical specialists, banks that offer medical practice loans, plus the CARES act will soon be funded again to offer loans and/or grants for businesses affected by the virus. Survival may mean flexibility in how you look at your business including incurring debt that you may not have needed previously.