“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” Those words penned by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby seem poignant and relevant to our current situation. The world had just recovered from the economic crisis caused by the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, entering a time of unparalleled economic prosperity, the Roaring Twenties. As in 1919, our current domain is simultaneously frightening and fascinating. Supposed “experts” of the time predicted that things might never return to normal. Many people died and businesses failed; only the strong survived. The United States, as with the rest of the world, entered 1919 with a great deal of pessimism. The businesses that survived were strong; new commercial ventures sprang up replacing those that had failed.
Unfortunately, many businesses, including some allergy practices, may not survive the current economic crisis. So, how can you ensure that you survive to enjoy the economic boom that is almost certain to come, and not end up among the less fortunate footnotes to this historic event?
The College and Advocacy Council staff have been working tirelessly to give advice specific to allergy practices, not just a generic “one size fits all” recommendation for the average doctor. Just like with the USP threat, the College didn’t scramble to form a “special” committee or hire extra staff to deal with this crisis; we already had infrastructure in place to move swiftly to create the resources needed for survival. As always, the College remains focused on its mission to assist the allergist who takes care of patients, whether in a community based, academic, hospital or military practice.
Our webinars and virtual town hall meetings are outstanding. If you missed them, they are archived on our COVID-19 resource page with the other resources you need for success. Tonight’s town hall-style webinar on human resources issues during this pandemic promises to be just as good. We were among the first medical specialties to outline specifically how to apply for forgivable loans and payment advances from the government programs. Many of our members are already receiving this much-needed economic assistance. Our advice has focused on how to increase income and reduce expenses. If you are like me, you are in “information overload.” Our advice is focused like a laser beam on the economic viability of your allergy practice.
The post-COVID-19 future may be very different than the paradigms to which we’ve become accustomed. The solutions of the past may not be effective moving forward. Even prior to the current predicament, we were already beginning to see a trend of practices shifting from individual entrepreneur ownership to corporate ownership. The COVID crisis may accelerated this trend.
We are still early in the evolution of our new future; I am excited and optimistic about our prospects. You can count on the College to be here as your trusted partner. Until next time…
J. Allen Meadows, MD, FACAAI