Holding Facility Tours in the Time of COVID
Host your members of Congress virtually
BY STEVE SELDE | JULY 2020
Traditionally, ASCs host facility tours in the month of August and invite their federal representatives for in-person tours. The coronavirus pandemic, however, has changed that approach to facility tours and the way ASCs celebrate National ASC Month. ASCs can now conduct virtual facility tours with Zoom, Microsoft Teams or any other video conferencing platform to showcase their facility and tell the story of the pandemic’s impact on their center and patients.
Importance of Telling your ASC’s Story
Make your ASC’s experiences during the pandemic the center point of the conversation during the virtual tour. Use the following talking points: decreased service volume during the pandemic; pent-up demand and increased volume as communities have re-opened; issues acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessary supplies; and new protocols and processes your center has put in place to limit the spread. These are all subjects unique to your ASC. In addition, ASCA staff have prepared a worksheet and other materials to help its members put down some of the key facts and figures to help guide this conversation.
Other healthcare providers also faced obstacles in caring for their patients, and your federal representatives have heard many of their stories and issues. It is important that they hear about your center’s experience and learn about the critical role your ASCs plays in providing surgical and preventive services. Additionally, a virtual tour provides a natural opportunity for your center to develop a relationship with your federal representative. This is equally important to sharing your story, as the continued uncertainty of the pandemic’s effects might necessitate additional federal action.
The pandemic has set up many hurdles that make in-person tours impractical, if not impossible. ASCA staff developed a tool kit to assist ASCs host virtual tours. In addition to being safer, virtual tours require fewer staff members than in-person tours and, therefore, are less disruptive to daily operations. There are three main components to holding a virtual tour:
Tour footage: ASCs do not need professionals to film video footage of their walkthrough of the facility. A staff member can film on their smart phone in surprisingly high quality. Additionally, little is needed in the way of editing, as a simple video with no audio or voice over would suffice. For those interested in editing, video editing tools are often free and readily available as smartphone applications.
Presentation: A slide deck can structure an ASC’s video conference with its federal representative or its staff. ASCA staff have prepared a template of slides and would be glad to assist member ASCs tailor those slides to make them relevant to their center.
Video conferencing: Zoom provides a free and easy to use video conferencing platform to try and maintain the in-person nature of a tour. Microsoft Teams provides another free option. Beyond those two, your center or its affiliates might have a subscription to another video conferencing provider. ASCA staff can assist in finding a conferencing solution if you run into issues.
Ask ASCA for Help
From contacting a federal office to set up a tour to following up with staff after the tour, ASCA staff are here to help its members every step of the way. The preparation for the tour can be broken up into many pieces, allowing ASCs to tackle it on their schedule. Complete this form to get the Virtual Tour Toolkit. Additionally, ASCA will host a webinar later this month to walk through the materials and answer your questions.
Please write Steve Selde with additional questions.