Monday, May 2, 2016

Why Do Hospitals Change Anesthesia Groups?

From Enhance Healthcare Consulting
In a survey of hospital administrators conducted by Enhance Healthcare Consulting, 49% of all hospitals have sought to change their anesthesia providers over the last three years. Eventually one quarter of them did just that. To me that sounds like an astonishing large number of hospitals who are not satisfied with their anesthesia services.

What are the reasons hospitals want to change anesthesia groups? Forty percent wanted to change their subsidy level to the anesthesiologists. In other words they wanted cheaper anesthesia. Thirty-four percent said the anesthesia group was not providing adequate coverage. That is usually the case when an anesthesia group is unable or unwilling to provide services that the hospital and its staff requested. The survey also found that 26% of the respondents claim they are changing anesthesia providers because of problems with the anesthesia leadership. This is why political acumen is so important for any anesthesia group hoping to have a long term future with their hospital. If the group's chair does not get along with the hospital, then no matter how well the group performs, the door is already open for them to get kicked out.

So what happened after the hospitals hired new anesthesia groups? Surprisingly, the new hires didn't always provide any cost savings. Twenty-eight percent reported an increase in subsidies for anesthesia services while only 32% resulted in savings. This is probably the result of the hospital kicking out the old anesthesia group not to save money but because of inadequate services or poor relationships with the anesthesia leadership.

The takeaway message here? A shockingly large number of hospitals are always on the lookout to replace their anesthesia providers. This means many anesthesiologists only have a very tenuous hold on steady employment. Therefore it behooves anesthesiologists to play nice with the hospital staff and not act like some spoiled prima donnas when asked to pick up another case at the end of the day or cover a weekend call. The hospital administration is constantly on the lookout for reasons to change anesthesia groups if it will help their bottom line.

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