Where Have We Been Over the Last Quarter and Where Are We Going?

Published in Women's Health on June 26, 2020

By: Nikki Jensen and Kayla Mahler

What a quarter! Our lives have drastically changed since the beginning of March. For the majority of Essentially Women members, our businesses either closed, converted to appointment-only business while using drop ship or curbside pickup services, or became busier than ever on the pharmacy or DME-side of the business.

Many of you have spent countless hours researching, navigating and applying for various government programs meant for small businesses, including the Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund distributions from HHS, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) emergency advance program.

Where we are at

Reopening

Many members are in the process of reopening right now as this article is being written. As we get used to living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future, make sure you keep up to date on all COVID-19 updates from your local or state public health department and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Any industry updates will be posted on our centralized COVID-19 response website. Please bookmark this website and check back often!

As you reopen, first and foremost, please refer to your Universal Precautions and Emergency Preparedness Procedures that are required for your accreditation. Your emergency or disaster plans should be implemented, and you should adjust the disaster planning as needed. Universal precautions and infection control are required. As a reminder, annual competency review is required as part of accreditation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you should provide re-education and continuous updates to all staff about these guidelines.

Lean on your public health department for guidelines as they vary depending on your state, county or city and keep up to date with their requirements. As you look at reopening or moving forward, here are some recommendations:

  • Only allow the patient into store (no other family members).
  • Have a disinfection area at entry for patient to use before doing anything with staff.
  • Chairs are minimum 6 ft apart.
  • Minimal patients in the store at one time. Consider doing curbside pickup for phone orders.
  • Clean/disinfect fitting rooms after each use.
  • Clean/disinfect store, work areas daily (beginning and end of work day).
  • Follow any maximum capacity guidelines that may have been implemented for your area.

Many members have expressed concern about fittings and how to sanitize bras and other garments that cannot be washed. See our Disinfecting Clothing Guide, which is a resource for disinfecting clothing and other related items in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Funding

If you’ve received any funding from the Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES Act Provider Relief fund or the EIDL, make sure you are using the funds appropriately and complying with the terms and conditions of each program. VGM Government Relations has put together an Economic Stimulus Program – COVID-19 Resource Tool that gives you information and links on all programs. Make sure to check this tool for the most up to date information.

Check out these additional resources from VGM & Associates!

Where we are going

No one quite knows what the new normal will look like in two months, six months or even a year from now. Continue to pay close attention to guidelines set out by the CDC. Manufacturers have provided guidelines and best practices on sanitizing garments used in fittings. Essentially Women will continue to release updates and news as we have it available. Since news changes rapidly, it is an absolute necessity to read email, keep up to date on CMS regulations, local, state and national news, and rely on organizations like Essentially Women to keep you up to date with reliable advice on your business.

One of the biggest differences between this pandemic and others, like the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 or eradicating smallpox, is that our technological advances gives us new ways to do business to be able to continue to conduct business. Maybe you’ve figured out that your staff likes to work remotely and will continue to do so, helping you reduce staff internally making room for more customers. Have you embraced virtual fittings? Remaining agile in the way you conduct business will continue to be important as we navigate reopening and the potential of dealing with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future.

Remember, Essentially Women is your business partner. We know many of the changes are hard to understand. We are here to help you understand, navigate the complexities and help you connect with your peers across the country. If you have questions, please let us know. We are here to help you.


TAGS

  1. covid-19
  2. essentially women
  3. women's health

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