Fewer appointments and procedures, and lower reimbursement for telemedicine, took a financial toll on many practices, who either secured Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration or other government assistance to meet payrolls, or restricted their spending.
Explore This IssueAugust 2020
“We were simultaneously having to deal with medical decision-making while running a business whose revenue suddenly and unexpectedly went to zero, with no change in overhead,” said otolaryngologist/head and neck surgeon Marc G. Dubin, MD, from ENT Associates at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. “Most of our staff has worked for us for decades, and many live paycheck to paycheck. We were able to secure an early PPP loan, which allowed us to maintain all of our staff. We were careful as we worked through our accounts payable, and owners have deferred compensation for months to ensure that the payroll was funded and necessary bills were paid.”
At Colorado ENT and Allergy, CEO Kevin Watson also secured PPP loans to help cover overhead, but he’s now reserving cash to cover a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the fall that would require another shutdown of office visits and elective care.
“Anything like computer upgrades or any major capital purchases will be delayed, but we’ve also saved money to cover payroll for physicians and staff,” said Watson. “I don’t think we’ll see any more government grants in the future. The way our practice runs, we don’t usually keep a lot of cash on hand. But now, I feel that I should have been more prepared for something like this. We’ve had warnings about pandemics, and who knows how this will affect us in the future?”