Publication | ThinkSet
To Survive the COVID-19 Crisis, Healthcare Providers Need Contingency Planning and Fast Action
Haywood Miller and Peter Chadwick
Advice for dealing with employees, vendors, lenders and landlords
On the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers are struggling to not only protect and treat patients, but comply with constant and often conflicting edicts across every level of government. As we emerge from the crisis, the signals promise to get more conflicted, based on industry and geography, among other things. Providers can expect to continue waking up each morning not knowing what new mandates will be imposed on their organizations before nightfall or when the nightmare will end.
The content and timing of the government guidelines will have direct and immediate impact on cash flows and forecasts for months to come—sometimes on catastrophic levels. How does an outpatient surgery center remain in business when elective surgeries are prohibited? Who pays a rural hospital to convert its psych ward to an ICU? How does an out-of-network residential treatment facility pay its employees if patients aren’t allowed to travel from out of state? How do facilities react when an employee or patient tests positive for COVID-19?
While the coming weeks and months may see greater coordination among local, state and federal officials, or a declining number of published guidelines, there is no reason to believe the healthcare sector will reach a point of stability in the foreseeable future.
This new reality puts the leaders of hospitals, outpatient treatment centers and residential treatment facilities in an unprecedented predicament. Managing through it will require new levels of agility and resolution. But it can be done.
While every provider will face unique challenges, every leader can take critical steps to help ensure they steer a course through this crisis—and maintain healthy relationships with key stakeholders.