5 big stories in anesthesia this week — COVID-19 outbreak, bankruptcy & more

Five big stories involving anesthesiologists around the country the week of July 24-31:

1. A COVID-19 outbreak hit Gainesville-based University of Florida Health's anesthesia department earlier this month. Fourteen junior anesthesiology residents, two senior anesthesiology residents, a fellow and an administrative employee tested positive for COVID-19, according to a department leader's July 10 email to staff.

2. Stockbridge, Ga.-based Henry Anesthesia Associates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy July 28. The company provides anesthesia services to Stockbridge-based Piedmont Henry Hospital, South Atlanta Ambulatory Surgical Center and Stockbridge-based Regenerative Orthopaedics Surgery Center, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

3. Anesthesiologists in New Hampshire launched a remote intensive care unit to ensure COVID-19 patients in rural hospitals have access to the same standard of care as those in urban environments, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

4. New Castle, Del.-based Anesthesia Services received a Paycheck Protection Program loan of at least $2 million. Awarded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the PPP loan was meant to help Anesthesia Services — Delaware's largest anesthesia group — save 155 jobs.

5. Irving, Texas-based NorthStar Anesthesiologists was ordered July 27 to temporarily stop recruiting providers from Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor to staff four Beaumont Health hospitals in Michigan, Crain's Detroit Business reported. Southfield, Mich.-based Beaumont hired NorthStar to replace Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor at seven hospitals.

Beaumont provided the following statement to Becker's ASC Review:

"Regardless of any dispute between A4 and NorthStar, Beaumont has and will continue to have highly qualified anesthesiologists to provide care to Beaumont patients seamlessly and without interruption. Beaumont is not a party to these legal maneuvers. The judge acted after hearing only A4's side and before giving NorthStar a chance to respond.

"We fully anticipate that NorthStar will respond and clarify assertions made by A4. The temporary order issued by the judge limits NorthStar's ability to engage with the A4 employed physicians who currently staff Beaumont's Dearborn, Taylor, Trenton and Wayne hospitals."

When asked for comment, a NorthStar representative said the following:

"Through this lawsuit, A4 is seeking to prevent doctors from providing much-needed anesthesia care to the Detroit community. Not only is A4 trying to prevent the doctors from becoming employed by NorthStar, but also prevent them from working at the Beaumont hospitals where they have provided much needed patient care during our current healthcare crisis. NorthStar is confident that our position will prevail."

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