How 3 orthopedic groups are handling crisis-related challenges: rent deferral, low overhead & more

Angie Stewart -   Print  |

Becker's Spine Review asked three leaders to share how their orthopedic groups are handling financial and operational challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Note: Responses were lightly edited for style and clarity.

André Blom. CEO of Illinois Bone & Joint Institute (Des Plaines): IBJI's Board of Members approved an IBJI COVID-19 Care Plan March 17 that included financial planning as one of its four pillars. We modeled four distinctively different impact and recovery pathways with what we knew at the time and tied financial planning elements to each of the four pathways. Our starting position was that of being extremely conservative with our operational cash at hand and applying a preservation mindset to all our decisions — along with placing patient, staff, physician and facility safety at the forefront of our thinking and planning.

As the pandemic unfolds, we modify our triggers to adapt to changes in healthcare and in our communities at large to remain financially stable and ready to serve the needs of our patients as we emerge from the various restrictive aspects of the pandemic. Our leadership teams meet twice a week to ensure we remain connected and consistent in the cadence of day-to-day decisions needed during this time. IBJI will continue to remain flexible in our thinking as we walk out all the phases this pandemic throws at us.

Daniel Gibbs, MD. Partner at Heiden Orthopedics (Cottonwood Heights, Utah): We are a small six-surgeon private orthopedic practice with three offices. The key to being competitive in our market has always been to keep our overhead as low as possible. During the coronavirus pandemic, our low overhead has been an asset. That being said, we have had challenges just as everyone else has. The [Paycheck Protection Program] has allowed us to keep all of our employees without cutting hours, salary or personnel. We have been able to work out agreements to defer rent until later this year. Anticipating problems and preparing early in the pandemic was crucial. Certainly, the best thing to address our current financial challenges will be getting back to helping our patients with their orthopedic needs as soon and as safely as possible.

Dimitrios Tsoukas, MD. Director of MIOSMed Center (Athens, Greece). Our medical organization has mainly relied on surgical revenue from both elective and acute cases. So we had to try really hard to keep our practice during the lockdown period. We utilized digital health tools and have developed a telemedicine practice. We implemented COVID-19-specific clinical and surgical protocols. Us surgeons had the time to participate in many webinars about orthopedic and sports injury surgical procedures, exchanging up-to-date knowledge with colleagues from all over the world. Most of all, I feel we became better doctors by finding again the really important issues in our practice and in our life.

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