The COVID Pandemic: Best Practices for Recovery



andemic, noun. “An outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geo- graphic area and affects an exception- ally high proportion of the popula-

tion.” It was a word most of us rarely used before February of this year. The coronavirus changed it into a household term. There is no current shortage of information regard- ing what dentists should do during and after the COVID-19 pandemic to manage their practices and their lives. But it’s difficult to discern what advice to believe and what to dismiss. Most will agree, however, that the pandemic has been one of the most challeng- ing events for our country as a whole, and dentistry in particular. Due to the nature of our work, dentists are highly vulnerable to its wide-ranging effects. Because there is no pre- vious playbook we can consult to deal with its impact, doctors are forced to find their own answers to the many questions raised by this hardship.

In light of these trying times, I’m excited to have the opportunity to pose difficult questions to a member of the McGill Hill Advisory Tax and Business Planning team, Wes Lyon, CPA, CFP, for answers regarding the pandemic. I’ve been a strong advocate of The McGill Advisory Newsletter for years. I highly recommend it to my students. Their experienced team of professionals present objective and reliable information on most aspects of business, financial, and consulting matters involving dentistry. In this issue, Wes will provide insight on what most dentists should be doing to help minimize the nega- tive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their practices and what direction the future of our profession may take as a result.

24 focus | SEP/OCT 2020 | ISSUE 5

Thereafter, dentists who found themselves financially unprepared for the pandemic should take this as an opportunity to reset. My clients with low overhead, low debt pay- ments, and lifestyles that fit their income found the pandemic to be emotionally draining, but financially was just a bump in the road. To prepare for the next pandemic, depression, recession, or any other economic impact that may be coming, dentists should concentrate on increasing cash flow by eliminating bad debts, improving practice profitability, and saving for a rainy day.

Most people would agree that the pandemic has been unprecedented in terms of its effects on our economy and how we used to conduct our businesses? What would be your initial professional advice to practicing dentists at this unique time in history? I encourage all dentists to seek professional help dealing with their business issues, rather than trying to figure it out themselves. Good advice is always paid for, whether that be through professional advice or an unfortunate experi- ence. The three biggest challenges facing dentists for the remainder of the year are compliance with regulations relating to gov- ernment assistance, making sure they have taken advantage of all assistance available to them, and managing cash flow and tax pay- ments properly.

While the pandemic did cause almost all dental offices throughout the country to shut their doors, once the doors opened again pa- tients eagerly returned. Between the govern- ment assistance and high inflow of patients during reopening, most dentists should be returning to some sort of financial normalcy by yearend; many practices are even having record years. Both the influx of patients and government assistance may cause dentists to have an unexpected tax bill later this year.

Your firm has done extensive research on the pandemic and its effect on dentistry.1

How do

you respond to a client wondering if dentistry will ever return to some degree of normalcy again? During the pandemic, we were as nervous as any dentist about the future of dentistry—as offices around the country either closed entirely for an interim period or, following ADA recommendations, at least closed for all but emergency treatment. When the first practices began re-opening we became very optimistic. Speaking with my dentist, he was booked solid through the end of the year and in the process of hiring an associate and two hygienists to keep up with demand. This trend quickly continued around the country, with many of my clients reporting record months in June and July. While this didn’t solve the PPE hassle, it did show us that patients were willing to trust the dental community and placed a high value on dental services.

While I don’t believe dentistry will ever return to the way it once was, I do believe we will have a new normal with reasonable PPE requirements. It may be hard to believe, but dentists use to practice with bare hands. OSHA and the ADA began battling over

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40