Hospital Preparations and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Now that the President has declared a national state of emergency and many states have followed suit by canceling schools and events, it’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic is underway. Hospitals and even drugstores around the country have developed plans for a potential onslaught of patients. One thing that they might have overlooked is their financial systems, but we have a plan for that.

ERISA appeals

Keck Medicine of USC

According to one source, “The situation hasn’t become as critical in other parts of the country, but healthcare organizations continue to make preparations. In Los Angeles, Keck Medicine of USC hasn’t experienced clinical staffing issues, but has begun to prepare for the likelihood that there could be staffing shortages in the future. The system works with several staffing agencies and remains in close contact during this time. CEO of Keck Medical Center of USC and COO of Keck Medicine of USC Rod Hanners said the health system is looking into on-site childcare arrangements in collaboration with the university for staff members with children.”

“The system has also taken steps to prevent the spread of the virus among its staff. ‘As of last week, all healthcare providers with Keck Medicine were credentialed to practice telemedicine in order to expand capacity, enabling virtual visits with patients as another option,’ said Mr. Hanners. ‘We know virtual visits help protect both our patients and our staff and will be even more important with increased social distancing.'”

“He also mentioned that the health system is evaluating remote work options for employees who are not working directly with patients and making sure they have the tools they need to telecommute and still perform their regular job functions. It is limiting hospital visits to one visitor at a time when possible and screening all patients for COVID-19, including those who are being treated remotely from home.”

“‘At present, we have sufficient personal protective equipment and related supplies for our staff and patients,’ he said. ‘We have increased our threshold for automated re-orders to take place at an earlier stage. As with all hospitals nationwide, our surge planning is well underway, including temporary structures for additional clinical screening and isolation.'”

“Envision Healthcare, which includes more than 27,000 clinicians nationwide, is taking a similar approach. The company is supporting hospitals and healthcare partners across the country to provide treatment, share best practices and develop protocols and scenario planning.”

“‘We are still in the early stages of this public health emergency, and while some clinicians are being quarantined, we have yet to see a significant change in workforce demand,’ said Adam Brown, MD, a practice emergency physician and president of Emergency Medicine Services at Envision Healthcare. ‘We are prepared to make adjustments in clinical teams as the situation evolves, including the deployment of ENVOY, our dedicated traveling clinical team, and the use of virtual health. We continue to provide our clinicians and hospital partners with regular updates, access to a 24-hour hotline, a website that is our digital playbook and other resources to make sure they remain safe while caring for communities across the U.S.'”

Walgreens and CVS

Another means of preparation, “Both Walgreens and CVS said March 13 they plan to conduct COVID-19 tests in parking lots outside of their stores. Both pharmacy chains said they’re working with CMS and the CDC to help increase the frequency of testing for the disease caused by the new coronavirus.”

“CVS said it is still working out details on the number of tests it will have and where it will conduct them, but the company expects it to happen in parking lots and not inside stores. It said that people being tested won’t have to leave their cars. Walgreens said it will create space at select locations outside stores and have non-Walgreens health personnel administer COVID-19 tests. It said it will announce testing locations and times at a later date.”

Financial Preparation

While physical preparations are one thing, there’s another that hospitals can do in order to ensure that they’re ready for potential onslaughts of patients – get their financials in shape. One part of this involves getting all of those aged claims paid. They might only make up a small percentage of their overall claims, but it always helps to have as much money in the coffers as possible for when an emergency – or a pandemic – strikes. Clearing up aged commercial health insurance claims that have gone past the three state appeals is a job for a specialist, like us, who can file Federal ERISA claims on them. Call us today to get started!