North Carolina hospital to end nearly 40-year partnership with anesthesia group — 7 insights

Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health is preparing to end its 37-year partnership with Charlotte-based Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Here's what you should know.

1. Atrium is planning to partner with Charlotte-based Scope Anesthesia of North Carolina, after contract talks with Mednax — Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants' parent company dissolved.

2. SAC has taken out full-page ads in the Observer touting the quality of its physicians and how the company has served the community for 37 years.

3. The anesthesia group and hospital are accusing each other of using misinformation to distort the potential ramifications of the contract termination.

4. SAC argued the contract termination will reduce staffing levels at the hospital because SAC physicians work at Atrium facilities across the state, thereby potentially affecting patient care.

Atrium refuted SAC's claims saying the hospital has the resources to ensure surgical services will not be interrupted during the transition period.

5. Atrium issued a memo saying SAC was unwilling to fully incorporate a model that would reduce patient cost into its care proposal. Atrium claims it developed a separate plan which reduced patient co-pays and lowered out-of-pocket expenses, without sacrificing care quality.

6. If the contract is terminated, SAC physicians will no longer be able to work at Atrium facilities, even if they leave SAC and find other employment.

7. Josh Miller, MD, a SAC anesthesiologist, said contract talks are ongoing.

The hospital issued a statement on the issue, "We have been working on plans to increase the affordability of our patients’ co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses related to Mednax services, and have communicated our decision to not renew our contract with them. Mednax has requested meetings with Atrium Health, which has allowed us to further share our position. Regardless of the status of our relationship with Mednax, we are confident Atrium Health will continue to be able to provide the world-class surgical services and care that our patients and communities count on each day. It is our sincere desire that Mednax will allow physicians currently practicing at Atrium Health facilities to continue to do so."

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