How the anesthesia provider shortage is hurting ASCs

The anesthesia provider shortage is forcing some ASCs to pay extra stipends to secure coverage, according to Laura Galeazzi, administrator of Lancaster, Calif.-based Antelope Valley Surgical Institute. 

Ms. Galeazzi joined Becker's to talk about her biggest day-to-day obstacles and what's drawing patients to ASCs. 

Editor's note: These answers were edited lightly for clarity and brevity. 

Question: What are your biggest day-to-day obstacles and how are you solving them?

Laura Galeazzi: Our biggest obstacle is anesthesia coverage. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare providers — e.g. anesthesia providers and registered nurses — have opted to have more control of their schedules and income and have moved to practicing as locum providers. Some surgery centers are having to pay a stipend above anesthesia billing in order to secure coverage. This practice of paying stipends to secure medical staff could have detrimental effects over a prolonged period on some surgery centers.  

Q: What's drawing patients to ASCs?

LG: I believe, for the most part, patients trust their physicians and the decisions their physicians make on where their surgery should take place, whether it be in a hospital or as an outpatient at an ASC. With that being said, patients are more knowledgeable now since the COVID-19 pandemic, and many patients believe ASCs are safer when it comes down to being exposed to the virus and prefer ASCs over a hospital setting.

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