In today’s environment, the impact of healthcare reform is being felt across the healthcare industry, as physicians and ASCs struggle to provide services in an environment of soaring costs, decreasing reimbursement and intensive and costly regulatory scrutiny. ASCs and their physician owners are increasingly looking to profit from additional revenue streams that are ancillary to their surgical services. As anesthesia services are a natural extension of virtually all surgical services, ASCs and their physician owners should consider a variety of different models involving the provision of anesthesia services as a means to increase revenue and profitability.
While partnering with an anesthesia company might be something your ASC has not thought of as a favorable option, the fact is, anesthesia can sometimes be one of the hardest elements to maintain in a facility. As Scott Christiansen, CCO for Healthcare Partners LLC states, “Everyone has to be become more efficient because reimbursement rates are dropping; anesthesia is being zeroed in on being terribly inefficient. Managers have told us they have tried three or four situations over the past years and they can’t seem to get it right."
While all parties of a joint venture want to make sure it’s financially beneficial on all sides, we must remember how OR efficiency as a whole, creates a ripple effect into other areas of service. Inefficiencies can lead to a revenue stream that is not working to its full potential. Having a management team that’s main interest is keeping a solid anesthesia group can help lessen the staffing headaches. As one of the only national anesthesia management companies that focus solely on ASCs, Anesthesia Staffing Consultants has one of the largest networks of anesthesia providers in the Midwest. The average surgery center staffs their anesthesia with a local group, which often times is all physicians. This can be very expensive and hard to maintain. “Other ASCs may partner with a anesthesia management company that doesn’t have a model that focuses on ASCs. This often means that company staffs the department on peak volume, which usually only happens about two times a week," Christiansen states. “They staff centers at low to mid volume and them utilize their network of providers to cover for peak. You get all the benefits of an anesthesia management company, but you don’t pay for peak volume."