AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 10

RUNNING THE PRACTICE // FAST PRACTICE

RISKY BUSINESS-

" CHIEF RISK OFFICER " IS CENTRAL TO
EVERY PRACTICE ADMINISTRATOR'S ROLE
John B. Pinto & Corinne Z. Wohl, MHSA, COE

E

very ophthalmic practice
manager in this COVID19-weary world earned
a graduate degree in risk
management and mitigation
last year. It's a good time to
absorb last year's abundant
lessons about risk assessment and
management. Although COVID19, fingers crossed, is receding as
an existential threat to medical
practices, it's not the only " monster
in the closet " for administrators.
SLOW AND FAST EMERGENCIES
Consider that risks generally come
in two flavors... slow ones and fast
ones. Of course, COVID-19 qualifies as the fast, abrupt, acute kind.
Unless you read the international
headlines closely, chances are you
didn't start responding to a slowly
stalking pandemic until it swept over
the country late last March. Most
practice emergencies are abrupt:
*	 A doctor's heart attack
*	 A tornado, flood, or fire
*	 Loss of an important contract
*	 For elective care practices,
a recession
*	 Your up-and-coming
successor MD announcing
their resignation
*	 A breakout of TASS (toxic
anterior segment syndrome)
in your ASC

10

AE // May/June 21

*	 A ransomware attack on your
computer system
But there is a different kind of
crisis...a slow crisis. This is the
more common kind, and just
as harmful, eventually, to practice performance.
*	 A local competitor slowly
eroding your market share
*	 Undisciplined spending and a
decline in access to capital
*	 The deferred maintenance
and the steady decline of your
office facilities
*	 Not staying abreast of the
latest clinical techniques
and tools
*	 Neglect of referring doctors,
allowing them to stray to
more attentive specialists
*	 A senior surgeon's steady productivity decline on the path
to retirement
*	 Slow-motion embezzlement
by a trusted clerk
*	 The gradual erosion of owner
harmony in a group practice
VIGILANCE: THE KEY TO RISK
PREVENTION
Management is like medicine. It
is much preferred to prevent a
problem than treat one. Although
you probably don't think about
many of your normal administrative routines in this manner, much

of what great managers do falls into
the category of prevention:
*	 Personnel manuals and staff
contracts help to prevent
human resource risks.
*	 Monthly financials and benchmarking allow you to catch
and fix adverse trends early.
*	 Communicating often and
clearly with your managing
partner and board reduces the
odds of misunderstandings.
*	 Checklists (daily, weekly,
monthly, yearly) help you stay
on time with routine, boring
details that are nonetheless
critical to practice operations.
*	 Seeking out local community
leaders (large clinic managers,
hospital executives, and the
like) allows you to discover or
respond early to adverse trends.
KEYS TO RISK MANAGEMENT
AND MITIGATION
All the vigilance in the world will
not prevent every crisis. Most
practices have been profoundly
impacted by COVID-19, and
many stumbled after the Great
Recession a decade ago. Once a
crisis has surfaced, your duties and
responses as a business manager
largely pivot from defense to
offense. As 2020 demonstrated,
three chief mitigators-leadership,



AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3

AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover1
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover2
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 1
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - 2
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AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover3
AE May/June 2021 Vol 30 No 3 - Cover4
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https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae-march-april-2021-vol-30-no-2
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae-january-february-2021-vol-30-no-1
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_nov_dec_20
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https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_mar_apr_20
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https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g104576_ae_marapr19
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https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/g72340_ae_janfeb17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_novdec16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_septoct16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_julaug16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_mayjune2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_marapr2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_janfeb16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ae_novdec15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_sepoct15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/APTA/g52750_apta_25ada
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_julyaug2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_mayjune2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_marapr2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_janfeb15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_novdec14
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_sepoct14_AE
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_julaug14
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ASOA_MayJunAE
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ASOA_MarAprAE
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ASOA_JanFebAE
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/ASOA_no4eZine
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_fall_2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa_no3_ezine
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASOA/asoa/asoa_summer_2013
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