Saturday, May 6, 2017

Everything You've Always Wanted To Know About Anesthesiologists

Becker's ASC Review has compiled 22 facts about anesthesiologists. Okay so it's not quite everything but 22 is still a pretty good summary. While most of the information relate to income, I find #19 quite alarming, "Over the last three years, 49 percent of hospitals sought to change their current anesthesia provider, and 25 percent did change their anesthesia providers." Twenty five percent? Wow that's a really high number of turnovers in the anesthesia department.

The three main reasons cited were: the hospital subsidy levels (the hospitals wanted cheaper anesthesia service), adequate service level (hospitals wanted the anesthesiologists to take more calls than what the doctors were willing to give), and issues with group leadership (the hospital CEO and the anesthesia chief were not in sympatico).

So at any given time half the hospitals in the country are shopping around for a different (cheaper) anesthesia group to staff their operating rooms. That shows how tenuous the career of an anesthesiologist can be. Unless there is a very strong relationship between the hospital and the anesthesia chiefs, like they attend each other's children's bar mitzvahs, the hospital will always try to cut costs wherever they can. And anesthesiologists are considered one of the leeches that drain the hospital's profits, like radiology and pathology.

Probably the best way from being one of the statistics of laid off anesthesiologists is to join a very large anesthesia group or even national anesthesia service provider. The power of large numbers makes it more difficult for a hospital to replace their anesthesiologists with a cheaper group. Or join an academic or government hospital where the anesthesiologists are employees of the facility. The money is less but the job security is better. In these perilous political times for physicians that maybe the most important factor of all.

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