Memorial Day has come and gone. For the most part, we seem to have survived it.
But in exactly one month, the United States is facing another challenge. All over the country, people will be gathering in groups to grill out, drink, play sports, hang out on the beach, go boating, and shoot off fireworks.
It’s that “group” thing that poses a real challenge if you’ve reopened your practice.
As of this writing, we’re already seeing a resurgence of coronavirus cases in 19 states; the level is holding steady in another 18 states. 37 states out of 50 have epidemic levels of infection, and that number is likely to rise after Independence Day.
This virus has not gone away, and it’s not likely to die out. The more opportunities it has to reproduce – transmission to uninfected people – the more it will spread… again. And you know what that means for your practice.
You Have Time, But Not Much
The initial post-4th spread of COVID-19 will likely take 7-10 days to show up; that’s dependent on how much testing takes place. It could be a little sooner or somewhat later.
Arguably, that leaves you about 6-8 weeks to prepare for the worst.
If you’d had 6-8 weeks to prepare prior to the first shutdown order, what would you have done differently? Furloughed team members early? Institute an across-the-board pay cut? Perhaps you’d have instituted some other cost-saving measures so you could stash as much working capital as possible.
Or would you have focused on earning more?
That’s the painless solution to preparing for the unexpected, and it’s something that you can begin doing today. If you prioritize scheduling your higher-value cases, you’ll increase your top-line revenue almost immediately. Of course, you’ll need to be diplomatic about rescheduling patients, so it makes sense to have a well thought-out approach before beginning.
First, don’t reschedule necessary procedures. You’re probably still working through the backlog of unfilled cavities and bleeding gums; those will only worsen over time. Second, make full use of the inevitable cancellations and reschedule requests; it’s summer (or near enough), and people are somewhat stir-crazy and ready to get away from their homes. It’s likely that there will be a lot of spur of the moment decisions that lead to requests to reschedule.
There will also be cancellations from patients who haven’t returned to work yet and have lost their dental insurance. Don’t immediately fill those empty slots if you can help it; save some for cases that will make you a lot more money. If you have the choice of a teeth-whitening session versus a full set of veneers, the choice becomes relatively easy from a financial standpoint.
Or Maybe Another Shutdown Is Months Away
If you’ve followed the news, you know that scientists and physicians are nearly unanimous about saying that the COVID-19 virus hasn’t behaved as anyone expected. That makes predicting the future a bit dicey to say the least.
Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. If you do, you’ll be in better shape to deal with any fallout from this 4th of July unlike any other.
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