COVID-19 has completely shaken the whole radiology profession, each part of it whether it is the radiologist or the regulation body, even the individual sectors which run their financial chain by providing radiological support to various centers and hospitals all have witnessed immense turbulence.
Recently a review has been published in Academic Radiology by the experts in the field of radiology who stated that the past year has shown a tragic phase to all of us but at the same time it has helped the best radiology groups to come forward and help the rest of the community to combat for present and improve the future.
Kruskal et al. discussed the various lessons learned from the public health crisis like COVID-19.out of those the one which dealt with financial aspect were as follow:
1) Financial risk assessment: the practitioner must go through a thorough assessment and find what all can affect the cash flow for his practice and should make detailed strategies where the budget can be taken care of.
2) How to manage expenses: This can be done by temporarily pausing a few projects. Furloughs have been a trending solution in the present scenario to deal with the financial crisis. One should not wait for a complete shutdown of the system rather should act and react wisely and immediately by implementing compensation changes and more importantly the communication should be done properly to avoid the moral breakdown of the team.
3) measures to manage clinical income and revenues: One should create a proper checklist and follow that regularly to avoid even the smallest loss and capitalize from the area which is otherwise never been considered such as reducing no-shows, shortened scan times, easy access for the patients with more working hours.
The academic practice leaders can work closely with the institution’s financial team and design a plan where the importance of radiology has a different level altogether.
Last but not least any pandemic-specific loans or revenue opportunities should be used to improve the revenue.
4) Having a sufficient cash reserve: In a crisis like this pandemic, there should be enough money present in the reserve or savings which can be used immediately for salaries and expenses.
The authors stated that “effective oversight results in immediate access to working cash in the form of cash savings, money market account or credit line,”. They also said wisely that “when you do have accessible cash reserves, ensure that these are not being used to support other practices who might have their cash tied up in longer_term investments,”.
An additional recommendation was made about “fund flow agreements” with parent organizations that can be considered during an emergency like the present pandemic.
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