Providers choosing employment over group partnerships — 4 Qs + insights from a clinician CEO

Eric W. Callan, CRNA, is CEO of LifeLinc, a company that provides anesthesia management services for practices in 16 states. Mr. Callan told Becker's ASC Review about evolutions and opportunities in the anesthesia space.

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

Question: How has the anesthesia space evolved since you started working in the industry?

Eric Callan: We have seen a shift from providers being partners in groups to becoming employed by larger entities. We are also seeing groups becoming more engaged in the entire perioperative process. In the single-specialty outpatient space, we are still seeing providers willing to work for non-clinician-led entities. With a lot of emphasis on surprise billing in today's market, hopefully we will see this trend swing back to groups that are more focused on the patient than their spreadsheets.

Q: How do you think the industry will evolve in the next five to 10 years?

EC: I think we will see more consolidation of smaller like-minded groups in an effort to decrease overhead costs and implement meaningful change. I think we will [see] more employed providers as well. We are also seeing a push toward a better work-life balance. With this change, we will hopefully see a decrease in provider burnout and an increase in job satisfaction. We will continue to see the use and expansion of regional anesthesia techniques. Anesthesia providers will become more involved in the entire perioperative process.

Q: What are the biggest opportunities for anesthesia groups in 2019?

EC: Using their talents and expertise to expand services outside of the traditional operating room setting. Hospital and ASC administrators are looking for team players that can help reduce costs and help improve the patient experience. Anesthesia groups are the ideal partner to help achieve these goals.

Q: How are major industry trends such as value-based care and opioid reduction affecting day-to-day operations at your practice?

EC: Both are huge drivers for forward-thinking anesthesia practices. Anesthesia providers have the unique opportunity to be able to decrease the overall cost of care while simultaneously decreasing opioid use. The answer: enhanced recovery after surgery and acute pain services. With our acute pain services, we can offer regional anesthesia blocks that all but eliminate the need for intraoperative as well as postoperative opioids. This has the added benefit of allowing patients to return to their normal activities much quicker than traditional general anesthesia techniques.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Angie Stewart at astewart@beckershealthcare.com.

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