Normal is a word that gets thrown around a lot. People longing for the pre-pandemic normal, wondering when things are going to get back to “normal” again, and hopeful that, one day, things will return to “normal.”
Who knows what normal is and if and when it will ever go back to that again, but there are signs that components of what people and businesses consider to be normal are coming back — and that is a very good thing, even if the signs are seedlings that will need time to grow.
Moody’s, a national ratings agency, indicated that patient volume at hospitals, dentists, and doctor’s offices started to rebound in May, a sign that individuals are starting to regain comfort and confidence about going out again and resuming “normal” activities. Moody’s did note, for example, that patient volume has a long way to go before it returns back to pre-pandemic levels, but said that doctors and surgeons were extending “office or surgical hours in order to accommodate these patients.”
Surgeries at for-profit hospitals were still down as much as 70% in April, compared with the same month last year, according to Moody’s. Mid-March is when many hospitals began canceling elective procedures nationwide in response to COVID-19 pandemic.
One good piece of news for hospitals, doctors, and dentists is that Moody’s predicts that there will not be a drop-off in patient visits back to what was experienced at the start of the pandemic. Most healthcare providers have figured out how to manage their operations during the pandemic that they will not have to scale back their operations, even if there is an increase in the number of cases nationwide.
Healthcare providers are also positioned better financially to withstand a drop in revenue if patients start staying home, largely because of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Any piece of good news is welcome in today’s world, and signs that patients are going back to their doctors and dentists and hospitals are opening themselves back up are all great indicators that the months-long nightmare for the healthcare industry may be turning. But there is still a long road ahead for healthcare providers. As children start returning to school and flu season gets closer and closer, there are a lot of variables that could turn the healthcare industry right back into the strong headwinds it has faced since March. Hopefully, providers will be better prepared and able to be more proactive should such an event occur. Maybe “normal” is not as far away as we think.
PPMS is a management system for recovery agencies based upon developing, implementing and adhering to a set of strict industry-specific professional practices and policies.
PPMS certiﬁcation, much like a SAS-70 audit, requires independent CPA attestation that an agency has in place written policies, procedures, and work processes that ensure regulatory compliance and adherence to industry best practices. The agency must also demonstrate that it has procedures in place to identify and remediate any variance from these. PPMS certiﬁed agencies are subject to annual surveillance and must re-certify every ﬁve years.
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