9 April 2020

Six vital steps to take if your practice is in COVID-19 distress

Finance General Practice Practice Management

Practice management expert and accountant David Dahm has released a comprehensive and practical 101 survival guide for practice owners HERE

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, many practices have been buried in a rolling series of problems which are starting to culminate in a fight for financial survival.

Dahm says the most important starting point for any practice in distress and running from crisis to crisis, is to step back, take a deep breath and realise they are going to need a well-thought-out plan. “The bottom line do not make any big decisions without getting specific and written advice”, he told The Medical Republic.

“Now is the time to seek professional advice from your accountant. Remember you cannot unsay things to your staff e.g. we have to let go of our nurses or staff. There are many things you can do before this is a real or necessary option”.

Getting your initial messaging to staff right right is critical says Dahm. To do that managers and owners are going to need to ask the right questions and not just get the right answers, he said.

Dahm told The Medical Republic many doctors and practice owners have been not able to step back, given the speed and the nature of the crisis. But if a practice is going to survive, then formulating a plan is what needs to happen.

“Some may feel that their only option is to exit altogether. This is a last resort option. The first thing you must do is speak to your accountant and healthcare practice adviser who has experience with these matters”, he said.

“We do not recommend this as an initial response, no matter how you feel. Your practice is viable if you have the right attitude and approach.”

To help practices understand their context, Dahm has put together a 170-page survival 101 guide, which is available HERE. Due to the challenging environment, Dahm is updating the guide daily, and he expects some updates to be directed by feedback he gets on the guide.

The guide, called Kicking COVID-19: General Practice Continuity Checklist Guide, breaks down the key things a practice will need to do to assess its situation and plan for survival, or in some cases, exit. The guide is mostly in an infographic format for ease of communication.

The guide outlines the following six steps in detail and provides pointers to important resources so practices can either start implementing a plan themselves, or with professional help:

  1. Early leadership and team communication – get in control
  2. Establish a practice crisis plan – among other things, this will give your team reference points and purpose to keep them calm and thinking through the process in a better way
  3. Finance – don’t go broke! Call your accountant first and understand properly the financial settings you will be working within
  4. Process – automate and outsource
  5. Customer focus – what you should be telling your doctors and your patients
  6. Learning and growth – get daily feedback and use it

Dahm is also planning a free webinar focusing on the guide when he will discuss feedback on the guide, which he is encouraging all practice owners and managers who read it to provide.

A link to register for the guide is HERE.

 

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