The following is an editorial from EquiManagement's Publisher Kimberly S. Brown.
An article on May 4 from Nielsen.com posed three possible scenarios for how the US economy would exit the COVID-19 pandemic: Rebound (early return to normal living in the third quarter of 2020), Reboot (a medium-term scenario that is positioned in return to normal living in the fourth quarter of 2020), Reinvent. The last term they defined as a longer term view that places the world in a general return to normal living conditions at some point in the first half of 2021.
However, the view on July 1 shows extreme confusion in how the United States has reacted to the pandemic, a mix of state and federal strategies to help individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic, and some failed attempts to re-open the economy without causing the number of severe cases of disease to outnumber the available intensive care personnel and equipment (i.e., respirators, beds).
Today, the EU and other European countries started allowing non-essential travelers into their countries. There were exceptions to those allowed to visit. According to a report on nytimes.com, Americans were not included on the list. The Europeans apparently don't think Americans have managed the pandemic appropriately as the US still has increasing cases and deaths and a state-first response to COVID-19.
June 30 had a record number of new COVID-19 confirmed cases reported in the US, the fourth record high in one week.
Record high numbers of cases were reported in eight states yesterday, and 28 states saw increases in the number of positive cases in the past week, according to NBC news.
There has been a reported total of 126,739 deaths in the US due to coronavirus. (More statistics can be found on the CDC website.)
As veterinary professionals, you recognize that with COVID-19 (and many diseases), there are inapparent or pre-symptomatic carriers who are spreading the virus to susceptible populations (which is just about everyone since this is a new virus).
Keep in mind that the "confirmed" cases are only from those who have been tested, and testing is still below what health care leaders recommend. (Have you been tested?)
Also, just because someone is "confirmed" positive for the virus doesn't mean they became ill. As we know, immunity is individual. Some people's immune systems deal with this virus easily and others die. There is no vaccine to protect anyone from the virus at this time.
With all of those concerns and science struggling to get ahead of the virus, you also need to be thinking about your business. The key to personal and business wellness is to not be complacent.
Resources from EquiManagement
EquiManagement has worked to bring you information to help you better manage your business during the pandemic, and we will continue to do so on the road to recovery.
Here are some of those items that are COVID-19 related:
- Daily Vet Life podcast
- Telemedicine Webinar for Veterinary Practices
- COVID-19 Pandemic Survey Responses by Vet Practices
- Veterinarian-Client Communication During the COVID-19 Crisis
- Veterinarian Financial Planning and COVID-19
- The CARES Act and the Veterinary Industry
- Paycheck Protection Program, a SBA Loan Program Expanded in CARES ACT
- COVID-19 Advice from the AAEP Infectious Disease Committee
- U.S. Equine Coronavirus Testing from IDEXX Laboratories
- Disease Du Jour Podcast Episode 23: Dr. Nicola Pusterla on Equine Coronavirus
Your Business Can Change
Veterinary practices are generally loathe to make changes. Vets don't like it, staff doesn't like it, and even clients can be adverse. However, some of the changes that the pandemic has forced on veterinary businesses might be practices you want to keep as you return to the "new normal."
For example, most vet practices during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic required credit card payment over the phone for services rendered. If you have wanted to get paid at time of service but had not enforced that in your practice, now might be a great time to let clients know that payment at time of service is the new rule moving forward.
For example, you have been doing telemedicine and charging for it during the pandemic. (You were probably doing telemedicine prior to the pandemic and not charging for your time or expertise.) Now might be a great time to let clients know that payment for your time and expertise will be the "new norm" moving forward.
For example, your clients have been buying lots of equine and pet supplies and food online during the pandemic from online stores and pharmacies. Hopefully they have been buying from your clinic's platform or at least a partner where you get a percentage of the sales. Now might be a great time to expand those online services and offerings and let your clients know about them.
For example, you have learned to communicate with your clients better via text, email, social medicine and telemedicine. Those digital and social avenues to client communication and education might be something you want to continue or expand on moving forward.
Think about what has changed in your practice and whether it could be a long-term benefit. Think about the diversification you could make in your practice offerings (if applicable) and whether they can be part of your "new normal" moving forward.
Do you offer nutrition consultation (either yourself or with a company partner's expert)? Are you working with referral hospitals either as the referring vet or as the clinic? Can you expand on those partnerships?
Did you have more haul-in large animal work rather than farm visits, or vice versa, and want to continue the trend?
Did you take care of clients' small animals during farm calls and perhaps are thinking of either adding services or personnel to expand that part of your practice?
This has been a rough time, and we aren't finished with the pandemic yet. There are still challenges in daily life, health and business that need to be addressed and solved.
But in the meantime, glean any positives you can. Determine if there are practices or services that you were forced to change during the pandemic that you want to keep moving forward.
Above all, don't be complacent about yourself, your staff or your business. The pandemic roller coaster isn't done, so stay seated, fasten your seatbelt, and hang on!