18 Coronavirus Crisis Tips
If you have to close your practice and stay at home, you can prevent some of the financial damage to you, your staff and your practice with actions like these.
1. Create a Crisis Plan by using three columns. List each concern in the left column, data you need in the middle column and the actions to take in the third column. Use it to work on your Crisis Plan with your consultant. Once you have enough information, you will know your best actions. Finding solutions to small problems is much easier than taking on the entire crisis all at once.
2. Follow the instructions from the CDC cdc.gov and your state or county officials. Membership organizations, like the American Medical Association or American Dental Association, provide advice but are not government agencies.
3. Have your employees file for their Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits with the state. In addition to the state’s UI benefits, each employee receives an additional $600 per week in federal UI benefits (because all states are now declared disaster areas). For many employees, they might actually get more income per week with UI than they were earning before this crisis. To get the extra UI benefit, the employee must state while applying for the state UI benefit, that he or she is unemployed as a result of a disaster or emergency. The best way to file for UI benefits is online. For example for California, go to: edd.ca.gov/Benefit_Programs_Online.htm
4. Unemployment Insurance benefits for self-employed people is also available. Thanks to the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act), all self-employed workers, contractors, government employees, individuals seeking part-time work, and workers who quit their job or can’t reach their place of work as a result of COVID-19 are among those eligible for unemployment benefits. Federal funds will be distributed to state unemployment agencies, and all benefits will be administered through your state. If you have not yet done so, submit your application to your state’s unemployment assistance program now. For more details, careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/UnemploymentBenefits/find-unemployment-benefits.aspx
5. Continue your telephone answering, appointment setting and collection functions remotely.
6. Continue to provide essential services, such as emergency treatment and urgent treatment as allowed by your local government agencies.
7. Because of public COVID-19 fear, some supply vendors are low on face masks. So the CDC’s website has a guideline for you called “Recommended Guidance for Extended Use and Limited Reuse of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators in Healthcare Settings.”
8. The new CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act provided $350 billion available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help you with losses, payroll and overhead. Although this money was used by 4/17/20, Congress will have more money available soon. For the latest news: sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications. Three possible solutions:
- COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Per the SBA’s website, you can get $10,000 within three days and do not need to pay it back. You need to prove a financial loss after 1/31/20 compared to the previous 12 months, Apply here: covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
- Paycheck Protection Program. Even if funds are not currently available, you can still apply through your bank. For example, the Bank of America will help you with payroll, rent, utilities, healthcare costs and more. This is a loan that may not need to be repaid if the conditions are met. For details: sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program.
- SBA Debt Relief for the “7(a)” loans. If you have or want to get a regular SBA loan, the SBA will cover the payments and interest for, at least through September. To get the loan, you go to an SBA Lending Partner. You fill out SBA Form 1919 and SBA Form 2020. Links. sba.gov/funding-programs/loans and sba.gov/partners/lenders/7a-loan-program/types-7a-loans
9. Another federal program through the new Families First law starts 4/2/20, With this program, you pay employees sick-leave pay if they or someone they take care of, has coronavirus symptoms or if they have children whose schools are closed. You will receive tax credits (full reimbursement) for this expense. The IRS is handling this benefit. For details go to irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs. TurboTax has posted an explanation that is easy to understand: turbotax.intuit.com/tax-news/families-first-coronavirus-response-act-everything-taxpayers-need-to-know-about-the-new-relief-bill-46430.
10. Conduct regular conference calls to update your staff, coordinate emergency patient care and provide advice.
11. Give resources to your staff to increase their future value to you (i.e., online training, phone coaching).
12. Submit requests to lenders to put your payments on hold (total deferments) or for interest-only payments for your bank loans, suppliers, labs, credit cards, office lease, equipment leases, etc. Forbearance on student loans (no payment or interest) for 60 days will be easy.
13. The deadline for your 2019 tax return has been moved from April 15 to July 15. Penalties and interest for income taxes due April 15, but not paid until July 15, are waived as well. Go to irs.gov/coronavirus for the latest information.
14. Stay productive, but do not stress out. Work on your Crisis Plan, expand your knowledge and add new job skills. Continue to work with your consultant and accelerate your coaching sessions. It’s also good to have some fun.
15. Be a solver. Offer to help medical clinics and hospitals. As a healthcare professional, your experience and knowledge is priceless!
16. Watch for opportunities. For example, older practice owners may want to sell their practices at very low prices. Office buildings and equipment might also reach new lows that may never be repeated. See article below.
17. Stay optimistic! Focus on the END of the crisis. Imagine how you want your practice to be after things are back to normal and you will make better decisions. To consider your opportunities during this crisis, go to exectechweb.com/opportunities.
18. Get the facts and ignore the headlines. Check the actual infection rates and death rates for someone like you. For example, even if you get infected, but are under 70 and healthy, you will probably not die. Examples: