3 ASC experts discuss anesthesia management — 4 takeaways

Failing to have an active management relationship with an anesthesia provider can cost ASCs money  and contribute to patient dissatisfaction. 

Discussing how a professional anesthesia management solution benefits ASC operations  was the subject of a webinar, hosted by Becker's ASC Review and sponsored by CarePlus.

The speakers were: 

  • Dan Kohl, CEO of CarePlus Management
  • Jeff Williams, MD, Gastroenterologist at Athens (GA) Gastroenterology
  • Chris Caldwell, CRNA, Vice President of Clinical Operations for CarePlus

Here are four points from the webinar: 

1. The six pillars of anesthesia management. Employing a professional anesthesia management solution can streamline six key aspects of ASC operations. The solution can help with recruiting, clinical alignment, physician control, operational support, billing services and analytical tools. Mr. Kohl summarized how the pillars affect ASCs, "We focus on what centers struggle with on a daily basis," he said. "There's a cost [when centers] do nothing, and your team needs to jump through hoops to make sure anesthesia is prepared to keep up with a high -volume schedule." Taking a passive relationship to anesthesia management, threatens an ASC's health, can result in patients having their procedures pushed back and can send an ASC into panic mode. 

2. A more efficient approach to anesthesia management. Dr. Williams opened his surgery center in 2010. He wanted to transfer from conscious sedation to using propofol and knew he needed an anesthesia services partner. After meeting with several candidates, he opted for CarePlus. Looking back now, the decision was an easy one. As CarePlus was meeting with Dr. Williams, they brought up the effectiveness of propofol and how it would increase his center's efficiency. He dismissed it in the moment thinking his center couldn't get more efficient. After the transition, he saw how right they were. "We realized propofol allowed us to have less recovery time, better patient compliance and we began to do more cases in a shorter amount of time," Dr. Williams said. 

3. A consistent partner. A large part of the improvement was the effectiveness of CarePlus. Right when the relationship began, Dr. Williams met with the company about staffing. He wanted to use an all-certified registered nurse anesthetist model. CarePlus found three candidates. Dr. Williams hired two and they've been with him since. The company has also taken an active role in his center's COVID-19 response, working to accommodate schedule changes, help develop a preoperative screening assessment and taking the lead on billing. These efforts led to his ASC having what one Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care surveyor said were, "the best documents," she had seen from any center in her 20 years as a surveyor, according to Dr. Williams. Since partnering with the company, Athens Gastroenterology has never had more consistency from its anesthesia services. "I wish all my vendors were as conscious as CarePlus has been over the years," Dr. Williams said. "It says something [that it's] not only from the clinical side, but through the [administrative] parts of medicine as well."  

4. The CarePlus approach. Mr. Caldwell approaches every CarePlus partner to ensure they're supported on an ongoing and consistent basis. From recruiting anesthesia providers  to helping centers when they have an operational issue, he knows the effect a functioning anesthesia department has on a center. "It's all about collaboration," Mr. Caldwell said. "Whether we have a physician model, a CRNA-only model or a mixed [staffing model], it's about communicating with the surgeons we serve and taking a team-based approach. Patients aren't there to see us. Our role is to work with the surgeon to serve these patients. … We find people who understand their role and are flexible." 

View a copy of this webinar here. Learn more about CarePlus here

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