In the latest episode of Ophthalmology off the Grid, cohosts Gary Wörtz, MD, and Blake Williamson, MD, MPH, touched base with practice management experts Bruce Maller and Matt Jensen who shed light on key areas of concern for practice leaders. Mr. Maller and Mr. Jensen provide insight on a variety of topics, including how best to support staff members during this time and what actions to take to ensure long-term business survival.
When asked about how this crisis is affecting different practices depending on factors such as size, Mr. Maller, who is founder and CEO of BSM Consulting, said, “there’s really a number of different factors at play in terms of how the current crisis is impacting practices. If you’re a smaller practice, maybe that’s one to five providers and maybe somewhere between five and 30-40 employees, much depends on the practice’s ability to sustain or maintain through this time…and the bottom line is cash…Do you have sufficient cash on hand in order to cover near term expenditures?…If you have a larger business, it’s just a matter of scale.”
Mr. Jensen, CEO of Vance Thompson Vision, gave a walk-through of what Vance Thompson Vision—a prime example of a larger practice—has been doing over the past few days. He said, “Times like this are when your principles, your values are tried the most…In times of trouble, values are what we run to. For us, that means a commitment to work-family. This has affected everything that we’ve done over the past 18 days…I think the most important thing we did is just talk to our team every other day. We send a live video; we record our leaders talking about what they’ve learned so far. We run that list of our updates. We tell them when we’re going to talk to them again…From the feedback that we get from the team that’s been the most impactful part is just the regular communication. Here’s what we know, here’s what we don’t know. We’ll talk to you again Wednesday.”
Conversation also included a discussion of the CARES Act. Clearing up a few main points on this topic, Mr. Maller said, “First of all, PPP [paycheck protection program] is a different program from the economic disaster recovery loan that the SBA [Small Business Association] has had in place for years…Everyone that’s listening in today should be aggressively pursuing PPP.” When asked how one could apply for the loan when it won’t be ready until the end of the week, Mr. Maller said, “They’re going to take them in order in which they’ve received them and you know…the money is going to dry up fast on this because there’s so many small businesses out there.”
The OOTG cohosts and panelists also responded to a number of questions from the viewers, Dr. Williamson noted, “one of the things people are talking about on the chat is: they’ve called their lenders, and their lenders say that they’re not ready to get in line for PPP yet. We’re saying get in line, get in line. Is that just market specific or just you happen to have a relationship with a local lender or else you’re going to have to wait till next week?”
Mr. Maller responded with an anecdote, “A client of mine went in on Friday because I told him to just have a conversation with his bank. [He] showed up at the bank, knew nothing about the House’s approving of the CARES act. And so, my client educated him on the way it was going to work, and the bank was so impressed, they said, ‘you will be number 1 on our list. We so appreciate your talking to us.’ So, sometimes you just have to be bold and courageous and that is absolutely correct what you said. It’s so variable by location and institution.”
This Ophthalmology off the Grid webcast was the fifth in a special series devoted to the COVID-19 outbreak. The full webcast can be viewed below.
COVID-19: When the Practice Closes
Cohosts Gary Wörtz, MD, and Blake Williamson, MD, MPH, touch base with practice management experts Bruce Maller and Matt Jensen. They shed light on key areas of concern for practice leaders, including how to best support staff members during this time and what actions to take to ensure long-term business survival.