In the chaotic initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of small businesses (including many specialty practices) in the U.S. found themselves forced to close their doors. To retain staff and avoid furloughs, many specialty practices had no choice but to submit applications to secure Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), that would make it possible for them to keep paying their employees during a period when revenue was reduced to almost nothing.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year disrupted the American healthcare industry as few events before ever have. Practices were forced to close and elective procedures were temporarily suspended, leaving many in private practice in difficult financial positions. According to a McKinsey & Company survey conducted just six weeks into the pandemic, 53 percent of all independent physicians reported they were worried about their practices’ ability to survive the financial challenges of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opener when it comes to healthcare technology. One of the most extreme surges as a result of the pandemic has of course been in telehealth usage. However, there is another technology that has also proven to be even more beneficial to specialty practices than previously realized—Cloud-based solutions. When lockdowns and non-emergent care suspensions began, many practices suddenly found themselves unable to operate because they were still using server-based EHR and Practice Management solutions that required them to be in the office. Meanwhile, practices with cloud solutions were able to shift to remote operations with relative ease.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every facet of our lives in recent months. We've all had to adapt to a new normal of social distancing measures and lockdown orders. Health insurance companies have not been immune to these changes and they too have had no choice but to evolve in this rapidly changing world. As restrictions are relaxed and practices return to business (though perhaps not business as usual), it is important for healthcare providers to be aware of how health insurance companies have been affected by this unprecedented event.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: As of April 26, 2020, CMS has suspended the Advanced Payment Program, effective immediately, and is reevaluating the Accelerated Payment Program. CMS Press Release on Program Suspension The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted specialty practices across the country and around the world, resulting in low patient volumes and decreased revenues. As part of the CARES Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) authorized relief to providers in the form of Advanced Medicare Payments. However, it is important for providers to note that this Advance Payment Program is an interest free loan, not a grant.
As we have recently been launched into a new year, now is a good opportunity to find new areas for improvement. Reviewing and reflecting on performance allows specialty practices to identify areas in which they can work better, as well as determine ways to make processes more streamlined, reliable and patient-friendly. How should specialty practices figure out if their current operations have room for improvement? Here are three areas that can reveal potential opportunities.
With the holiday season upon us, people are searching for the right present for friends and family. But what about a specialty practice? Could it benefit from a little holiday cheer? One item at the top of many healthcare organizations’ wish lists is better insight into business performance. As specialty practices aim to prevent revenue leakage, meet rising consumer expectations and effectively participate in value-based care arrangements, it can be difficult to know where it’s best to focus time and resources. Fortunately, robust business analytics is the perfect gift to guide strategic decision-making this holiday season, and one that keeps on giving throughout the year. Here are three areas where strong analytics can make a difference in a specialty practice:
Attracting and retaining patients is a constant priority for physicians, and plastic surgeons are no exception. Without a focused strategy for drawing patients into a practice, organizations can experience slow periods, retention problems and a lack of repeat business that can all impact revenue flow. How does this affect you?