How CRNAs can thrive in ASCs at half the salary of anesthesiologists — 4 Qs with Sleepy Anesthesia Associates CEO

Juan Quintana, CRNA, DNP, is the CEO of Winnsboro, Texas-based Sleepy Anesthesia Associates, which provides anesthesia services to several hospitals and ASCs.

He is also co-owner of ABC Consultants and a past president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Mr. Quintana shared his insights on outpatient anesthesia services with Becker's ASC Review:

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.

Question: For certified registered nurse anesthetists, what are some advantages of practicing in an ASC or outpatient setting?

Dr. Juan Quintana: Many ASCs permit CRNAs to function at the top of their educational level while also offering leadership and management positions. A CRNA's role in hospitals often entails non-traditional hours of work, so ASCs provide great opportunities for those seeking normalized hours and a balanced lifestyle.

Q: How can CRNAs practicing in the outpatient space cultivate their leadership skills?

JQ: There are many ways a CRNA can cultivate leaderships skills in an outpatient space. A few examples include:

  • Take on transformational roles as coordinators and establish schedules that optimize the surgical day.
  • Assist in organizing processes that seem to hinder successful flow of the perioperative period.
  • Participate in and lead committees to help promote ASC growth.

Q: It's common for CRNAs to practice without supervision at Veterans Health Administration facilities, according to a recent study. How do you think this finding could apply to the outpatient space?

JQ: Multiple studies show the safe, high-quality and cost-effective services that CRNAs provide. ASCs can enhance services such as regional anesthesia, enhanced recovery after surgery and opioid-sparing techniques to improve the patient experience in the same way they are utilized in many VA facilities.

Many locations across the U.S. are starting to experience some difficulty retaining providers. It's well known CRNAs prefer practices where they are permitted to function to the top of their educational level. Just as can be said for VA facilities, ASCs eliminating barriers for CRNA services will find CRNAS drawn to their facilities for employment.

If an ASC facility is looking to hire anesthesia providers, they should consider that CRNA salaries are approximately half or less than those of anesthesiologists, but with the same level of anesthesia safety, expertise and other important factors.

Q: What key trends do you think will emerge for outpatient anesthesia providers in 2019?

JQ: The three key trends that will emerge for outpatient anesthesia providers in 2019 include:

  • ASCs will continue to lean toward increased utilization of CRNAs as their go-to providers of anesthesia services.
  • Outpatient services will continue to increase in number and complexity.
  • Anesthesia providers seeking employment in ASCs will need to use their education and skills to implement ERAS protocols, optimize their regional block skills and promote opioid sparing-techniques in their anesthesia services.

More articles on anesthesia:
CalvertHealth clinicians join North American Partners in Anesthesia — 3 insights
A timeline of CRH Medical's $27.5M anesthesia acquisitions in 2018
The trends to know about pain management in ASCs: 4 Qs with Dr. Eric Grahling

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