Protect Your Practice During COVID-19
Joe Nicholson, III, DO – Chief Medical Officer
As the COVID-19 public health emergency continues, you’re undoubtedly receiving a lot of information meant to help you prepare your practice and staff, care for patients, combat supply shortages and protect your business and income. It can be a lot to sift through. We have already released this webcast to help you enact the steps to obtain financial support. In the coming weeks we will continue to summarize some of the programs and resources available to help your practice stay productive and financially stable.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources
In addition to providing information for the general population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance and resources to help providers prepare their practices for COVID-19. The site provides insights on how to get your clinic ready before, during and after patients arrive; phone advice line tools to help staff screen for COVID-19 symptoms, assess for high-risk conditions, screen for special circumstances, and provide appropriate disposition, with a clinical decision algorithm tree to help guide care advice messages. They also provide printable posters to help educate patients and staff on how to manage respiratory symptoms and use personal protective equipment.
Other resources on the CDC’s coronavirus (COVID-19) site are available to help healthcare professionals, laboratories and health departments in their response efforts. This includes guidance documents that private practices should find useful, such as:
- Strategies for optimizing the supply of N95 respirators
- Decontamination and reuse of filtering facepiece respirators
- Interim guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens
- Mitigating healthcare personal staffing shortages
Information on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes numerous provisions that are important for physician practices to understand. This includes funding for supplies, COVID-19 testing and services, workforce support and telehealth. There are several different programs available that, if eligible, may provide financial relief to your practice as part of the CARES Act, including:
- The Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP), a short-term loan program to help small businesses - including private practices - cover costs for payroll, benefits and other business expenses.
- The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) emergency advance can provide up to $10,000 to businesses such as family practices that are experiencing temporary struggles.
- Small Business Association Debt Relief provides assistance in the form of automatic deferments for certain businesses on their SBA Service Disaster (Home and Business) Loans.
- Small Business Association Express Bridge Loans may be available to help businesses that have an existing relationship with an SBA Express Lender access up to $25,000 quickly.
A more detailed summary of the key provisions of the CARES Act is available on the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) site.
How to take action
If your practice has seen a drop in patient volume, if you’re struggling to implement processes to provide safe and effective care, or you’re otherwise feeling the impact of the COVID-19 response AND could benefit from these relief measures, consider completing the applications sooner than later to manage any administrative complexity and to keep your practice running smoothly, before financial concerns get in the way.