This weekend I received the following email from a fellow consultant and friend, Owen Dahl (firstname.lastname@example.org) who reminds all of us about the importance of disaster planning:
With the weekend news on the “Swine Flu” outbreak in Mexico and is a few states, it seems timely to encourage all of your practice’s to review their disaster plan. I certainly don’t wish any major issue or illness for anyone; however, this is a great time to prepare for a disaster. There are a few basic questions that warrant thought:
1. What will you do from a staffing point of view with several employees calling in sick? Your sick leave/PTO policy or short term disability? FMLA for those practices with more than 50 employees?
2. How will you handle an influx in ill patients, do you have enough personal protective equipment in the office?
3. Does your business interruption insurance cover outbreaks that cause the office to close for an extended period of time?
4. How do you communicate with employees or physicians? Those physicians who may be in the call group and not directly involved with the practice?
While you’re at it, think about your disaster plan for a hurricane (note Ike last year), fires (note Myrtle Beach, SC this week)m floods (note North Dakota and Minnesota), and tornados (note too many to mention) . The same basic steps apply to all cases.
Please be extra cautious and make sure you take your time to think through what might happen and what impact any kind of disaster may have on your practice.
p.s. Owen and I are both members of the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants (www.nschbc.org). I highly recommend it for membership to anyone who provides consulting services to medical practices.