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11/09/2020 - Clear as mud
We all thought the world was going to stop spinning as the time clocks, computers and our world turned over at midnight from 1999 to 2000. We watched as around the world, each sector hit the midnight mark to see what, if anything happened to them, before it struck us in the Eastern U.S.A. I remember my own excitement planning a Disney World vacation to bring in the historic New Years 2000. But as the time got closer, we decided to cancel it. What if the airplanes couldn’t fly; because of computer failures? What if our O.R.’s couldn’t function the vital equipment needed to perform surgeries? What if my payroll did not go through because the computers couldn’t take the year 2000? Way too many what-if’s! I had to be home to handle all the glitches that were almost certain to come. So, with that, our magical trip was cancelled. Do you kind of get that same feeling in your gut right now? Back in March 2020, just eight short months prior to writing this, our routine business world came to a screeching halt, leaving little time to plan. We went from 70 mph to 10 mph overnight in our O.R.’s. Schedules had to be changed with staffing, immediately. A lot of business work had to be administered from home, immediately. Communication vices, had to be ramped up, immediately. New tools had to be set-up, for telemedicine, pre-evaluations, Zoom meetings, immediately. We scrambled from state-to-state to find out Who, What, Where, When – and most importantly, How?? Questions were flying on our PAHCOM listserv. Webinars from every source thinkable were popping up. New Procedure Codes, new rules; and then… the Hunger Games kicked-off! We had to figure out the HHS funds that we received. What is it, and what can we do with this? Then the PPP Loans – and the HHS funds again. Other pre-payment opportunities with our CMS/Medicaid. Speed lane to today (70 mph again); now what? We keep leaning on our PAHCOM Listserv, our State Medical Societies, and our Webinars. How do we ensure that we’re forgiven for our PPP Loans? When do we start applying for forgiveness? Banks are anxious to get their funds back; and we are anxious to put it behind us and close it. But wait! The pandemic is still going strong. Are we positioned well enough to bull through the winter in our Practices? Or are we going to have a Groundhog’s day event and go though this loop again? What will be different this time? What will be the same? Even Bill Murray eventually got it right in Puxatawny… As we approach this winter season, how do we treat our Employees that get “sick”? Do we treat them as presumed positive with Covid until proven “all clear”? Do we charge them sick days; and/or allow them to work from home, when we can? Do we need to create work for them to do from home, or be more creative and flexible about what CAN be done from home? Do we consider childcare school and care needs with flexibility? How burdensome could this be for smaller practices? Do we need to supply equipment to do their jobs? What about “us”, the Practice Admins? We, as Practice Administrators, are the HUB of our Practices. What happens when we go down? The affects could be insurmountable. Transparency is always important, but the questions continue to rain down. How much can we plan and share? There is so much that is confidential. We can’t just hand over our keys and let someone else drive it. If you are a smaller or mid Practice, this is really tough. You don’t have the depth some of the larger Practices have with divisions and departments. How many hats do you wear? I don’t know about you, but as I see several of my fellow Chapter members struggle with HR issues and personal health issues during these unprecedented times. If you are like me and feeling clear as mud, remember that we have each other as resources. Stay Healthy, God Bless, and remember to wear your rain boots. Brenda L. Foose, CMM, HITCM-PP VP, LV Chapter 2020-2021

 

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