Edward Nakayama: I don’t think many healthcare providers escaped dramatic impacts to their businesses as a result of the coronavirus crisis. And when I think about impact, it’s not just economic impacts that result for lower volumes, lower revenues, other income statement or balance stresses, it’s also cultural impacts as many providers have had to shift to work-from-home formations, maintain employee productivity, connectivity, maintain morale. Particularly in the face of potential workforce expense reductions in the form of lower hours, pay cuts, conversion of salaried employees to hourly, furloughs, terminations, ect. And I do think the battleground is going to change coming out of the crisis, and it’s potentially going to prioritize culture to a greater degree than it did prior to the crisis, and your recent track record along those dimensions is going to be very important. How do you answer questions such as how did you treat people during the crisis, and how is that going to impact your ability to recruit and retain people going forward? Did you focus on keeping your employees healthy and safe? Did you maintain open communications with your employees and your clients or your patients? Your answers to these questions are going to be very important as we collectively emerge from this crisis. And I think particularly they are going to be of importance in the provider space where people are of such paramount importance.
I think this creates opportunity for high-quality provider groups coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, groups that have demonstrated resiliency and continuity in their businesses. I think those businesses are going to have a lot of opportunity in front of them as we emerge.
Smaller groups are going to want to associate with larger platforms who can offer stability and financing ability, enhanced infrastructure. Certain elements that had they been in place prior to the crisis would have made it much easier for some of these smaller groups to weather.
So what lessons can we glean from this? Well, generally being prepared makes a lot of sense, and this preparation comes in the form of investment and infrastructure that allows you to be flexible and agile and nimble, maintain a market presence, live to see another day, and avail yourself of the opportunities that are typically created in periods of extreme distress.
We saw a lot of providers shift very rapidly into telehealth as a primary method of service delivery, not only does this allow them to continue delivering great quality of care to people who need it, it’s this ability to have continuity in market presence and hopefully give people great experiences so that they keep coming back to you following the crisis.