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.