Post-COVID-19: A Hospital COO Action Plan
Although the COVID-19 surge continues to overextend healthcare leadership resources in managing the current state, it is imperative that organizations immediately begin to plan for the realities of the post-COVID-19 healthcare environment.
Provider organizations will experience enormous financial pressure caused by elective procedure cancellations, heightened supply costs, and mounting labor expenses incurred through increased overtime and contract labor usage. Depending on the geographic market, revenue could take 2-6 months to return to pre-COVID-19 levels. Additionally, organizations are unlikely to recover much of the revenue lost during the pandemic.1
This revenue shortfall will define operations for the next 6-9 months and likely beyond. In order to combat this financial pressure and return to business as usual, the first step is to effectively communicate a plan for recovery and engage staff to assist in improvement efforts. Healthcare organizations must immediately focus on optimizing the workforce, critically managing non-labor expenses, revamping Pharmacy operations, capturing all revenue, and reevaluating the efficiency of organizational processes.
It will be imperative to communicate the organization’s 30-day outlook and approach to resuming normal operations. Plans for recommencing elective procedures, reopening clinics, and transitioning inpatient units back to non-COVID-19 patient management should be clearly communicated to participating employees. While “all-staff” emails are a key component of an effective communication plan, management forums and in-person rounds will instill additional confidence in staff members as the organization emerges from this distressing experience.
A coordinated and thorough clean by Environmental Services must be effectively conveyed to staff members and the greater community to instill confidence and emphasize the return to normalcy. OR scheduling staff should be oriented to the reopening plan and emphasis should be placed on maximizing OR blocks.