CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
A sudden medical diagnosis in my partner—normally a very outgoing and active man—has upended our life this year. For much of the summer, David was home, bed and wheelchair-bound. Treatment has been extensive and demanding, and we were thankful for a positive prognosis for full recovery. David has now recovered and returned to his physical strength and daily activities, and life is returning to normal.
From this experience, I can tell you that “normal” in your life can change nearly overnight. For me, normal was being the busy CEO of two growing companies. All of that had to fade into the background very quickly because David required care and support for even the simplest daily necessities. I was fortunate, in my situation, to have amazing team members who stepped up and gave me the ability to step away for a few months and be focused primarily on David’s care and recovery.
Crisis Preparation for Endodontists
As a doctor, your options may be very different because your practice cannot continue to operate without an endodontist present. However, here are some things we think you should consider to be as prepared as possible:
Crises come in many forms. Make sure you have insurance to cover the things that you can. In your practice, that would include business interruption insurance, disability insurance and key person insurance.
Have a financial plan and liquid resources in place for potential healthcare and related costs for yourself or a loved one if necessary. In the United States, you have access to the best healthcare in the world if you can afford it, and it can be incredibly expensive. Your health insurance likely does not cover the level of care at top medical facilities that you would probably want in extraordinary circumstances.
Even if you have to continue practicing, a financially successful practice where you have been able to save significantly would allow you to at least reduce days per week temporarily. You also have to consider how you will continue to pay your team members their full salaries. Some team members would be economically compelled to move on if they can’t earn a full income from you, even for a short time like a few months.
Be prepared quickly if you anticipate needing a full or part-time locum tenens. The AAE has a job posting webpage, and you can also try state endodontic associations. Of course, a locum tenens adds 40% or more (for their compensation) to your costs on procedures they perform, but they will at least help preserve referral dynamics versus shutting down.
Reach out to other endodontists in your area and agree to help each other out in the event of a severe personal crisis. You might agree to cover each other for a day each week, or allow associates to be locum tenens in each other’s practices on a short-term basis.
At Endo Mastery, we often talk about how growing the practice to add an associate is key to creating lifestyle and work/life balance for endodontists. Those same associates are also going to give you the absolute most flexibility to respond to unexpected situations in your life. They can be your built-in backup strategy.
Nobody likes to consider worst-case scenarios and we hope our lives are never interrupted in that way. However, my personal experience shows that you can’t predict the unpredictable. You can prepare as a leader by creating your contingency plan and—especially—by having an incredibly strong financial foundation so that money is never the limiting factor in difficult circumstances.