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MED

Your Medical Practice is Reopened: Now What?

Jun 24, 2020 08:18PM ● By MED Magazine
There is a lot to consider for the “new norm” for medical practice. Top priority should be the health and well being of your patients and staff. Look for ways you can control costs and enhance or maintain revenue. Here are a few things to consider. 

PROTECT STAFF and PATIENTS:

  • Develop Safety Protocols - Universal precautions are a good starting point for your policies.

  • Communicate with patients that their safety is your top priority!  Weather its face mask requirements, or COVID testing prior to surgeries, or sanitization after every encounter to waiting in cars for their appointment.  Let them know you have their health and safety as your top priority.

  • Give extra care and attention to the emotional and physical needs of staff - The pandemic has required physicians and many other health care workers to work long hours in dangerous conditions. As the health care system reopens, practices should pay extra attention for signs of exhaustion, depression, stress and other similar issues. 

    • Take daily temperatures on a non-discriminatory basis

    • Vulnerable staff – those over the age of 60 or with underlying health conditions – may need to make adaptions to minimize risk or not allow to return until safe.

    • Work with employees with unique child - care arrangements.

  • Consider scheduling employees and providers in rotating shifts, so if one team experiences a COVID infection, there are still employees able to carry out practice operations.

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS 

As medical practices reopen, your revenue and patient volume may increase slowly and unevenly. Physicians should carefully consider their capital needs and use of funds received, both private (bank loans) and public (such as SBA loans or government grants). 

  • Increase Patient Volume:

      • Expand appointment options

      • Recall all canceled appointments

      • Reschedule all cancelled or postponed cases

      • Inform referral providers that you are open and providing safety measures

  • Enhance Revenue Cycle Hygiene – 

    • Verify patient demographic information, including insurance plan, eligibility and benefits since plans, benefits, copays and deductibles, may have changed. 

    • Collect outstanding balances prior to visit; copay/co-insurance at the time of visit

    • Complete and submit claims within 24 hours from Date-of-Service (DOS)

    • Tackle accounts receivables slowly by implementing an internal process to follow up on outstanding claims.

    • Monitor insurance payments that telehealth and all other visits are being paid properly. 

    • Self-pay may be the new norm, determine and collect self-pay rates that ensure practice is covering costs (must be above Medicare allowable)  

  • Plan to Meet Existing Obligations - Maintain open lines of communication with vendors on payments due that you may need to defer. Also. see what they are offering to help you as you ramp back up. 

  • Develop a Monthly Budget – As you adjust to the new normal, review your monthly expenses. Practices can identify what costs the most on a monthly basis and adjust as necessary.