Being small does not equate to being disadvantaged. Here’s how solo providers and small group practice are benefitting during the pandemic.
Being small can also mean being nimble and reducing exposure.
To say that the COVID-19 pandemic upended every facet of society, including healthcare, would be an understatement. As the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) relayed, avoiding exposure is the best way to prevent the illness because the main cause of transmission is person-to-person. In light of this, the CDC implemented five (5) simple protective measures:
In order to promote overall health and well-being, people need to remain active, keep medical appointments, and interact with others while adhering to the CDC’s recommendations in order to mitigate the risk of contracting or spreading the either the underlying virus, SARS-COV-2 or the end stage disease, COVID-19.
How does the COVID-19 environment translate into advantages for solo practitioners and small group practices? First, for in-person visits, testing, and procedures, there are less people in an office, which is another advantage in addition to implementing the CDC guidelines. This means the patient has fewer points of contact. Second, like large providers, small providers offer telehealth in-take, appointments, and follow-up in order to reduce in-person contact for individuals at high-risk.
Certain specialties, such as sleep medicine, are offering curbside pick-up for home sleep testing, which includes an instructional video and testing kit, within a week of the patient’s appointment. This option enables the patient to receive an accurate diagnosis (so long as the testing kit was administered properly) and helps with better sleep condition management.
When telemedicine or external testing is not an option, as the calendar year rounds out and individuals have deductibles which may have already been met, now is a good time to assess the needs of individual patients and make sure that medically necessary visits, testing, and procedures are scheduled before December 31, 2020. This means less money out of a patient’s pocket and better patient outcomes.
Being small does not equate to being disadvantaged as a medical professional. Seize upon the positives identified herein and end 2020 with an eye towards the ability to be flexible and provide patients with personalized care.
Rachel V. Rose, JD, MBA, advises clients on compliance and transactions in healthcare, cybersecurity, corporate and securities law, while representing plaintiffs in False Claims Act and Dodd-Frank whistleblower cases. She also teaches bioethics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Rachel can be reached through her website, www.rvrose.com.