I always attribute my journey in the healthcare industry to a desire to follow in my father's footsteps. In 1998, I founded Medi-Corp to provide tailored revenue cycle management (RCM) solutions for the anesthesia and pain management industry.
Today, Medi-Corp's commitment to excellence lives on in nimble solutions, and I'm looking forward to attending the 2023 Becker's Annual Spine, Ortho, and Pain Driven ASC Conference in Chicago this year to represent the anesthesia division of our unified RCM brand.
While the conference serves as a hub of inspiration, learning, and collaboration, what truly excites me is the remarkable potential within the anesthesia service line for ASCs. Anesthesia has become a trending topic in the outpatient industry, primarily due to the migration of high-acuity cases.
Amid the pandemic, we witnessed a shift of high-acuity procedures, such as total joints, from in-patient to outpatient settings. Many questioned if this change was a temporary response to COVID-19. However, new research indicates this migration is permanent, and we can expect to see an even greater number of cases migrate to ASCs in the years ahead.
While the financial benefits of performing these procedures in ASCs are undeniable, it is paramount for anesthesia providers and ASC stakeholders to develop comprehensive capabilities as a professional perioperative solution. High-acuity procedures mean higher-risk patients. While under anesthesia, these patients can require intensive monitoring of vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels.
Since anesthesia providers play a primary role in ensuring patient safety and mitigating surgical complications, they’re a valuable resource for ASCs in patient selection, even for minimally invasive procedures.
During the patient selection and pre-procedure assessment process, anesthesia providers can implement innovative approaches such as risk stratification, shared decision-making, predictive analytics, and remote monitoring through wearable devices. These strategies enhance patient safety and optimize ASC outcomes.
With regards to administering anesthesia, ASCs should also consider partnering with their anesthesia providers to adopt anesthesia safety and emergency preparedness standards. This includes safety checklists, crisis management protocols, anesthesia monitoring equipment, automated anesthesia record keeping, electronic medication administration records (eMAR), and emergency drug kits for cardiac arrest, airway emergencies, and anaphylaxis.
By implementing these measures, ASCs can ensure that patients receive the highest level of care while complying with regulatory guidelines.
Once the patient exits the operating room, the complex coding and billing process begins. Anesthesia coding requires meticulous attention to detail. Proficiency in the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) coding systems is essential to ensure accurate, complete, and defensible code selection.
For instance, anesthesia services are billed based on time increments. The start and end times of anesthesia services must be documented as well as any interruptions or breaks.
Optimized perioperative pain management is an area that necessitates comprehensive documentation. Cutting-edge techniques and practices include multimodal approaches, regional anesthesia advancements, and alternatives to traditional opioid-based pain control. If regional anesthesia techniques were employed, additional documentation is necessary including nerve block, epidural, or spinal – as well as the injection site, and any associated catheter placement.
Anesthesia providers also document any medications, including opioids or non-opioid analgesics, administered for pain control. Any supplies or equipment used specifically for optimized pain management, and medical necessities need to be documented as well, including an explanation of the patient's condition, the anticipated benefits, and alternative treatments considered.
ASCs should continuously be aware of compliance within anesthesia regulations while maintaining accuracy within the anesthesia revenue cycle. Whether your ASC partners with a regional anesthesia group or as an ancillary service, it’s important to keep these best practices in mind.
At nimble solutions, we specialize in the surgical revenue cycle for ASCs, surgery centers, surgical hospitals, and anesthesia groups. We can provide compliance guidance and RCM solutions tailored to the unique needs of anesthesia providers and ASCs. Learn more at booth 187 during the Becker's Annual Spine, Ortho, and Pain Driven ASC Conference or nimblercm.com.