Building a Robust Contingency Plan for Financial Emergencies

by | Jun 21, 2024 | Practice Operations

medical practice emergency fund

Running an independent practice is undoubtedly a challenging task. Beyond providing exceptional patient care, you must navigate intricate financial waters to ensure the stability and growth of your practice. 

According to the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), operating expenses for medical groups have increased by 26.5% from 2020 to 2023, while revenue has only grown by 9.1%, highlighting the critical need for financial preparedness​ (AMGA)​. 

One crucial yet often overlooked aspect is preparing for financial emergencies. Developing a robust contingency plan can shield your practice from unexpected financial challenges, allowing you to maintain operations without compromising patient care.

The Importance of a Contingency Plan

Contingency plans act as a safety net, foreseeing potential financial disruptions and outlining strategies to mitigate their impact. It’s more than just a financial buffer; it’s a strategic approach to maintaining stability and resilience.

Key Components of a Contingency Plan

Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is the cornerstone of any contingency plan. Aim to set aside at least 3-6 months’ worth of operating expenses. This fund ensures that essential costs—like salaries, rent, and medical supplies—are covered, even when revenue streams falter. According to SCORE, 66% of small businesses have faced financial challenges, often struggling to meet operating expenses. Establishing an emergency fund can prevent additional debt and protect your business’s and your personal financial stability.

Risk Assessment

Start with a comprehensive risk assessment to identify potential threats. Consider scenarios like unexpected dips in patient volume, delays in insurance reimbursements, or unforeseen expenses such as equipment failure. Understanding these risks equips you to prepare for them. 

Budget Reviews

Regularly review and adjust your budget. Scrutinize your expenses and revenue streams to find areas where you can cut costs without affecting patient care. Implementing flexible cost structures can help minimize financial strain during challenging times. According to a report by Deloitte, 72% of healthcare providers are re-evaluating their budget plans to enhance financial resilience.

Diversified Revenue Streams

Relying heavily on a single revenue source can be risky. Explore additional revenue streams like telemedicine services, wellness programs, or specialized treatments. Diversified income can help cushion the financial blow of unexpected disruptions. 

According to an article by RevCycleIntelligence, telehealth services have stabilized post-pandemic, indicating their potential as a viable revenue stream for medical practices​. By leveraging multiple income sources, your practice can better withstand financial challenges and ensure ongoing stability.

Steps to Build Your Contingency Plan

Establish Clear Objectives

Define what you want to achieve with your contingency plan. Is it to ensure uninterrupted operations, protect your staff’s income, or maintain patient satisfaction during financial downturns? Having clear objectives guides your planning process.

Plan Financially and Operationally

Beyond financial safeguards, ensure you have operational plans. This includes cross-training staff to cover key roles if needed, streamlining appointment schedules, and securing temporary support from locum tenens if necessary.

Communicate with Stakeholders

Maintain open communication with your staff, partners, and suppliers. Ensuring that everyone understands the contingency plan and their role within it can foster a unified approach to navigating financial difficulties.

Regularly Review and Update Your Plan

A contingency plan isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it component. Regularly review and update your plan to accommodate changes in your practice, market conditions, and broader healthcare environment.

Thrivory Is Here to Help

At Thrivory, we understand the complex financial landscape that healthcare practices face. Our commitment is to simplify financial education, empowering you with the knowledge and tools to navigate uncertainties confidently. By strengthening your financial literacy, you can make informed decisions, ensuring your practice not only survives but thrives in the face of financial emergencies.

Conclusion

Building a robust contingency plan is essential for the longevity and stability of your independent practice. With clear objectives, strategic planning, and regular updates, you can mitigate financial risks and maintain operational harmony. Remember, financial preparedness today paves the way for a resilient tomorrow.

By implementing these strategies, you not only protect your practice from potential financial threats but also position it for sustained success and growth.