It is has become apparent. Our world has transitioned to operating under a new normal and adaptation to that new normal is essential. We continually assess the landscape surrounding COVID-19 and how it has and will impact our own organization – and know our industry partners are doing the same. To that point, we have created an Agency Operations Checklist to help support your agency during this time; to ensure the ongoing success of your organization as you adapt to the new normal.
Step 1: Create a Strategic Decision Making Process
As rapid changes will continue to take place, the first and most important step for your agency’s success, is to slow down enough to create and implement a process for rapid decision making and planning. Who should be involved in decisions? What steps need to be included? How and what are we communicating? There are still many uncertainties, and being able to function within a process of strategic decision making as additional impacts to the industry take effect, is crucial. Not to mention the tremendous effects this will have on the ongoing sustainability of your agency, post-COVID19.
Step 2: Keep Your Staff Engaged & Productive
It is important to communicate operating plans and strategic decisions with employees. Create a cadence to share regular team updates regarding the impact COVID-19 is having on your agency to ensure each staff member understands their value and the role your agency is playing to change lives in the midst of this global crisis. Richard Branson says it best, “A company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your product”. This couldn’t be truer in any other industry. Check out our blog post, “Behavioral Health Agency Advantages for Managing Remote Teams During the COVID-19 Pandemic”, for highly creative ways to engage your team today.
Step 3: Stabilize Operations through Financial Analysis and Billing Best Practices
Maintaining financial health and billing best practices during this time is the lifeblood of your agency. Without honing in on these key areas, layoffs and discontinued services are at risk.
- Evaluate Your Spending: It is important to understand your ongoing financial obligations and creatively lower your operating costs – keeping the long-term economic effects of COVID-19 at the forefront of your mind.
- Develop a Contingency Plan: Pull in the strategic decision making process created in Step 1 to develop a financial contingency plan based on estimates of minimum cash flow.
- See More Clients: Collaborate with clinicians to determine how your agency can maximize scheduling in a way where – through leveraging telehealth services – you can actually see more clients during this time.
- Apply for the PPP Loan: Check out this quick guide we have created to assist you in this process, including what you need to know to apply and details about loan forgiveness.
- Reestablish Billing Best Practices: Become an expert of your EHR software to ensure you have visibility into billing and claims processing results. Remarkable Health’s CT|One Platform is designed to reduce the time spent on billing and accelerate turnaround time for payment from Medicaid and insurance companies, to give you the capacity to focus on other areas of the business that have drastically changed from the effects of COVID-19.
Step 4: Leverage Essential Technology – Virtual is the New Normal
Look at the technology needs and the equipment necessary to operate your agency effectively, as we transition to the new normal of a virtual world.
- Virtual Meeting Platform: Zoom, or another video conferencing platform tool, is essential both now and post-COVID19 to service all virtual meetings. Whether you are hosting an internal staff meeting or a client session, you can expect virtual meetings to become a new norm making a tool like this critical.
- Messaging Tool: A quick, secure, and accessible means of communication among staff and with clients is crucial. As we transition to becoming more and more virtual, we encourage you to find a messaging platform to support your operations. Ensuring you have a messaging tool within your EHR software minimizes external integrations and maintains a HIPAA compliant platform once relief in regulation surrounding HIPAA has been lifted. Check out Messaging within CT|One!
- Social Media: In light of virtual becoming our new normal, agency social media pages and content is an invaluable tool to communicate with your clients regarding services and resources available to them. This will become an essential piece in your marketing strategy.
- EHR Software for Outcomes Management: Are you still utilizing Excel spreadsheets or pen and paper for your clinical and billing needs? Let an EHR help you focus on client outcomes and the health of your staff. Less is more, and ensuring your EHR software ties all aspects of client care together, is essential.
Step 5: Adapt & Maximize Client Engagement
If your agency provides residential services, many first steps necessary to continue services during COVID-19 have been implemented. To ensure you continue to protect clients and staff and prepare properly for exposure incidents, create a weekly cadence to review the National Council Guidance for Behavioral Health Residential Facilities for best practices.
- Host a Training: Refresh your staff on client engagement best practices. Ensuring clients are engaged in the time between sessions will help minimize no-shows and encourage the individual to participate in the services he/she needs.
- Gather Clinicians to Collaborate: Create new means in which your agency can engage and communicate with isolated populations. Encourage each team member to bring five new ideas of how to engage all types of clients. As a starter tip, check out this resource on all of the companies committed to Keeping America Connected through free Wi-Fi connectivity, hotspots, and minutes to truly help those who are unable to receive services.
Step 6: Create Wow Moments
Participate in the movement of creating WOW moments for others. A WOW moment is when one individual intercedes in the life of another person and fundamentally changes the trajectory of that person’s life – and what better time than now to do just that. Whether it is a WOW moment for a co-worker, a client, or a supervisor, this can make all the difference in the world for the ongoing health and success of your agency.
Let us know how we can be a part of creating WOW moments for your team as you navigate this checklist within your agency.
Want to take it with you? Be sure to download the quick glance version of this checklist to print for yourself or pass along to your agency!