There is some confusion about where we are—economically—in the midst of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We are in a recession and likely on the front edge of a depression. There is wide disagreement about the “shape” of the recovery. And unfortunately, “reopening” and “recovery” are being used interchangeably.
“Reopening” is the phrase being used for an end to some of the government-imposed restrictions on organizational operations in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Nearly all 50 states have moved to some level of reopening—for a detailed look, check out this interactive map from The New York Times, See How All 50 States Are Reopening. “Reopening” comes in all forms.
While “reopening” is often required for the financial “recovery” of many organizations, the terms are not synonymous. To reopen physical operations does not mean the return to profitability. There are increased costs of safety measures—from personal protective equipment, to testing, to ventilation systems, and more. In addition, restrictions on capacity are widespread. Limits on the proportion of restaurant capacity that can be used. Limits on the size of gatherings. Limits on the physical distance of consumers in establishments. And there are questions about how many consumers will return to “being served.”
For the health and human service field, the reopening versus recovery issues are many. In a recent discussion, a residential treatment provider organization executive said that given the design of their facility, for the foreseeable future, they would need to operate at 80% capacity to ensure the safety of consumers. There will likely be a significant decrease in rates for virtual services as the market capacity—and competition—increases. What ‘in office’ services will consumers be comfortable receiving is another question. And, if consumers want more service ‘at home’, how can they be delivered profitably—since home-based services were not profitable before the pandemic crisis.
In short, I see reopening as tactical, but recovery as strategic. Reopening requires a policy, an implementation plan, and a budget (see my briefing from last week, Back To The Office? The Testing Dilemma). Recovery for most health and human service organizations will require not only a new strategic plan—but also new business models. What services an organization delivers, the operational framework for how they deliver those services, the breakeven volume and scalable profitability of each service, the overall portfolio mix of profitable and unprofitable services—these are the types of very fundamental questions that recovery planning needs to address.
For more on a framework for recovery planning, these are my recent briefings—Strategy In A Crisis – Staying Afloat Vs. Navigating: Keys To Planning & Managing For Recovery and A Blueprint For Organizational Sustainability In A Disrupted Health & Human Service Market: Planning To Move From Crisis To Recovery.
To help you keep on top of the recent developments during the pandemic crisis, our weekly round up continues.
Testing & Related Efforts
Governor Tom Wolf announced that his administration launched an enhanced dashboard to pull Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 data and information together to inform Pennsylvanians.
Gilead Sciences, Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for the investigational antiviral remdesivir to treat COVID-19.
As of June 6, 2020, about 20% of 383,159 health care personnel tested for coronavirus disease 2019 tested positive.
Pharmacists can play a key role in COVID-19 testing administration to support public health efforts in reducing the spread of the disease. In this webinar, Steven Chen PharmD, FASHP, FCSHP, FNAP, takes a deep dive into how pharmacists can be better positioned to perform COVID-19 testing as a result of the recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
On June 10, 2020, the greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network resumed testing of home-based, self-collected samples for coronavirus disease 2019.
Clinical Updates In The Field
The report was released on June 10, 2020, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It presents an analysis of the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP). The NSSP data captures about 73% of emergency department visits nationwide.
On June 5, 2020, the National Committee for Quality Assurance announced adjustments to 40 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set measures to support the use of telehealth during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and after.
Coronavirus disease of 2019 is causing less disruption in occupancy rates among continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, also known as life plan communities) than non-CCRCs.
Weekly emergency department visit volume was 42% lower in April 2020 than in April 2019; the decline was attributed to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in the United States.
Cleveland, Ohio-based Hospice of the Western Reserve and its affiliate, Hospice of Medina County, have initiated staff layoffs and other cost cutting measures including the suspension of inpatient care at HMC’s Inpatient Care Center.
Signature HealthCARE announced 100 layoffs at its corporate headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, noting a lack of temporary payment support during the COVID-19 crisis.
About 81% of physicians in the United States reported a drop in consumer visit volume during the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak, according to a survey conducted from March 23 to 30, 2020.
The report was released on June 12, 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It presents the percentage of specimens testing positive for coronavirus and reports testing rates and mortality rates.
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), who are under the age of 75 years and have been diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), are at greater risk of fatality than those without I/DD.
According to a May 1, 2020 survey, approximately 23% of the 2,469 respondents with disabilities lost critical care services during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Resources For Leadership & Crisis Management
We are 13 weeks into the pandemic crisis. For executives of health and human service organizations, the question is how to make the “crisis normal” work and pivot to a new way of operating for future sustainability. One asset that is often overlooked is an on-site pharmacy that can bridge the service gaps created by the pandemic.
So much discussion of canoes these days—and I love water analogies. Until 12 weeks ago, executives of specialty provider organizations had to balance “two canoes”—operating in a fee-for-service or cost-based environment, with operating in a wide array of emerging performance-based and value-based reimbursement models.
Most specialty provider organizations are now providing telehealth services of some type. But now that the “emergency adoption” is over, how do management teams optimize those services?
Virtual and hybrid care models are especially challenging for residential treatment programs. This web briefing included discussions on practice models for new hybrid blended service lines; how payers are measuring treatment effectiveness as services shift to a blended model of onsite and online; the metrics and data needed to assess the efficacy of a blended approach to care; and best practices in leveraging technology to sustain residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs.
In the shift to virtual care, provider organizations need to scale up their website and digital marketing strategies. This web briefing provided an overview on how to stand out from competitors by building a strong online brand; drive website traffic through content curation and marketing; and leverage traditional, non-digital sources to boost online success.
Support For Vulnerable Populations
Jean Stowell, head of the Doctors Without Borders U.S. COVID-19 Response Team, announced that the organization has dispatched a team of nine to the hard-hit Navajo Nation in the southwest U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report was released on April 2, 2020, by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It presents the FCC coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Telehealth Program that was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the FCC’s plans to launch a Connected Care Pilot Program.
The rule was published in the Federal Register on April 9, 2020. The Federal Communications Commission presented rules for the coronavirus disease 2019 Telehealth Program and a pilot program, called the “Connected Care Pilot Program.”
New Developments In Tech
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cigna announced it will add Talkspace to its behavioral provider network for customers to access an expanded suite of virtual support services for mental and emotional health.
The Mount Sinai Health System has teamed up with Google Nest to use the latest in video and audio technologies to monitor some of the most critically ill individuals with COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced telehealth video appointments using VA Video Connect increased from approximately 10,000 to 120,000 appointments a week between February and May of 2020.
Amwell announced it has closed its Series C financing round, adding $194 million in funding. Many early investors and strategic partners participated in this round, including Allianz X and Takeda.
The document was released by the Federal Communications Commission on June 10, 2020. It is a list of more than 305 organizations awarded funding through the FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program.
For even more on post-crisis recovery strategy, join us for our upcoming web briefings offered as part of The OPEN MINDS Executive Blueprint For Crisis Management: Building Organizational Sustainability & Success In A Disrupted Health & Human Service Market program:
- June 23 at 1:00 pm EDT: Options To Secure Additional Financing
- June 25 at 1:00 pm EDT: Using Mergers, Acquisitions & Affiliations To Address ‘Urgent’ Cashflow Needs