For those of us on the east coast and specifically, Florida and the Gulf states, it's hurricane season but in the Midwest it's also tornado season. Earthquakes have been happening in areas other than the west coast and floods have also been serious problems recently.  A comprehensive disaster plan can help minimize loss if your practice suffers a catastrophic event.

Tragedy is unpredictable, and no business is disaster-proof. "Minor" earthquakes, which shatter windows and destroy equipment, occur almost everywhere. Fire can occur virtually anywhere and at any time. The same is true of lightning, burst water mains, gas leaks, flash floods, accidents, and, sadly, acts of terrorism. Time is money. If your practice is closed for a day, you may lose a few dollars, but if you are shut down for a week or a month, your practice may never recover.

Disaster Plan
Design a well-organized, comprehensive contingency plan you can put into effect immediately, when needed. Anticipating and preparing contingency plans for coping with natural and man-made disasters can make a significant difference in how well your practice survives. Before initiating a disaster and recovery plan, consider the following:


Employees and Staff

Physical Assets, Equipment and Supplies

Insurance Coverage


After a disaster, having certain essential records, files, and other materials at hand can help you return to practice quickly.

The above are just some of the things that as managers we need to think about when setting up a Disaster Plan for our practice.  Of course you need to take into consideration your area location and you need to prepare long before "the season" approaches but a basic plan needs to be in place for those disasters that can occur at any time to any practice.

Marge McQuade, CMSCS, CMM is a certified medical manager and a certified multi-specialty coder with over 30 years experience in the medical field as an office manager and coder. She is an active member of PAHCS and AAOC and is on the Advisory Board for several HCPro publications. Contact her at