Control uncertainty

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A. As a business owner, it is difficult to imagine all of your hard work literally going up in smoke; or out the door due to an employee larceny; or called into question because of a serious allegation made by a regulatory agency or a payer. But these things--fires, floods, employee misdeeds, regulatory actions--happen all of the time. And for an HME provider, how you plan for and respond to these challenges will determine how significantly your business is affected.

So what do you need to do to ensure your business is ready for a crisis? The most important step is to ensure that your business has a crisis management plan. Such a plan will identify the potential crises that can occur and will provide the tools for dealing with these situations.

A crisis management plan should identify who will be on your crisis team and what their roles will be; establish an internal communications protocol for notifying and activating staff; list available resources and how to utilize them; provide clear step-by-step guidance for working with local officials and managing the media; and include materials that can be used in a crisis, such as contact lists for key personnel and customizable statements that can be used to communicate with the media for various scenarios.

In addition to providing a resource for dealing with crises that may occur, the plan will also get your team thinking about key operational issues, such as where data is backed up and how quick and easy it is to get to that data.

It is an uncertain world. Taking the time to develop a crisis management plan, while it won't remove the uncertainty, will give your business a good measure of control over whatever situation may occur.