James Chappuis, MD, orthopedic spine surgeon and founder of SpineCenterAtlanta, outlines how his practice has tackled the economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the key to its ramp-up strategy.
Question: How has your practice navigated the economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dr. James Chappuis: We have been fortunate enough to get some [Paycheck Protection Program] funds to allocate throughout our departments. We also had to implement some layoffs, furloughs and reductions in force to help us navigate through this challenging time as a company.
Q: What percentage of patient volume is your practice currently operating at? What was the key to your ramp-up strategy?
JC: We are currently operating at 75 percent to 80 percent capacity in most departments. Our physical therapy department may see lower numbers, due to the closeness of the personal space required for those types of appointments. The key for us as a practice has been the flexibility with patient schedules.
Q: Is a second elective surgery shutdown likely in your state? How would that affect your practice?
JC: I am not sure about a second elective surgery shutdown. We have just been operating at the highest level of caution we can, while constantly monitoring the number of new COVID-19 cases being reported in our state. It would not affect us too much directly because we are a private practice.
Q: Is your practice considering any strategies, such as partnering with larger groups, for added protection from future similar events?
JC: At this time, we are not considering any strategies or anything different than we have been doing during this time. In our opinion, smaller is better, so it would not be beneficial for our practice to partner with any large groups. We are taking our own steps to maintain caution and protect our practice from similar events.