Anesthesia Business Consultants

Weekly eAlerts Covering Regulatory Changes, Compliance Reminders &
Other Changes in the Anesthesia Industry

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Anesthesia Industry and Market News: eAlerts

eAlerts are the latest industry information regarding regulatory changes, helpful compliance reminders, or any number of relevant topics in the fast-paced, ever-evolving specialty of anesthesia.

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  • Anesthesia Groups, Take Note: Data Breach Website Helps Providers Research and Report

    August 21, 2017

    It’s every anesthesia practice’s nightmare, but it happened last year to a large anesthesiology and pain management group in Arizona.  A health data breach from unauthorized access by a third party affected nearly 883,000 patients.  The information included patient names, providers’ names, dates of service, places of treatment, names of health insurers, insurance identification numbers, diagnosis and treatment codes, and, in some cases, Social Security numbers, bank account information, tax information, and more.

  • Anesthesiologist Assistants as Physician Extenders: An Option Whose Time Has Come?

    August 14, 2017

    The use of physician extenders has become commonplace in medicine and anesthesia is no exception.  More than 75 percent of all anesthetics are administered by CRNAs.  Do AAs offer a viable alternative?  Our perception is that most anesthesiologists still know relatively little about this profession, which is understandable given the current state of AA involvement across the country.  Only anesthesiologists in Ohio and Georgia have much experience working with AAs.

  • The Future of Payment for Ultrasonic Guidance: Predictions for Anesthesia Providers

    August 7, 2017

    The use of ultrasonic guidance (USG) in the placement of nerve blocks and catheters for postoperative pain management has become a standard of care for most anesthesia practices.  It is also widely used for confirmation of vascular access, especially for the placement of central venous pressure lines (CVPs).

  • EMRs in Anesthesia: Smart Tips for a Smoother Transition

    July 31, 2017

    Peruse the most recent graph showing electronic health record (EHR) adoption rates among hospitals, and you’ll see a curve sloping steadily and optimistically upward.  In 2015, nearly all reported hospitals (96 percent) possessed certified EHR technology, and 84 percent had adopted EHRs with advanced functionality.  In addition, more than 80 percent of non-federal acute care hospitals had adopted all of the functionalities of a basic EHR—a nine-fold increase since 2008, before passage of the HITECH act of 2009, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

  • On Diversion, Depression and Emergency Department Visits: An Update on Opioids for Pain Specialists and Anesthesia Providers

    July 24, 2017

    Opioid prescribing in the United States quadrupled between 1999 and 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. In that time, more than 183,000 people died from overdoses related to prescription opioids.  These numbers alone point to the need for pain specialists, anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists to stay abreast of news and research about opioids that can be used to inform and improve their practices.  The eclectic array of items presented here provides a minute sampling of the current information.  Hopefully, it will be useful and spark further thinking and discussion.

  • CMS Releases MACRA/QPP Year 2 Proposal: Highlights for Anesthesiologists and Nurse Anesthetists

    July 17, 2017

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published a proposed rule for the second year of the Quality Payment Program (QPP), performance year 2018 (payment year 2020).  The agency says it is “continuing to go slow and use stakeholder feedback to find ways to streamline and reduce clinician burden, and make it easier for clinicians to participate and put their patients first.”  Comments on the proposed rule are invited by August 21, 2017.

  • What Are Comparative Billing Reports and Why Should Anesthesia Groups Care About Them?

    July 10, 2017

    They might seem innocuous and inconsequential in your anesthesia practice’s vast sea of paperwork and electronic data, but comparative billing reports (CBRs), administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and prepared by a data mining company called eGlobalTech (eGT), are not something to ignore.  Anesthesia groups need to know what CBRs are and educate billing and other office staff about the importance of referring these reports to group leadership and the appropriate clinicians in a timely fashion.

  • A Medicaid Myth: News for Anesthesia Practitioners

    July 3, 2017

    A recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund debunks the commonly-held belief that Medicaid offers an inferior level of care.  According to the survey, Medicaid enrollees report better care experiences than the uninsured and similar experiences as the privately insured; receive preventive services at higher rates than the uninsured; and have fewer problems paying medical bills and fewer cost-related access problems than the privately insured and uninsured.  Contrary to widespread perception, “Medicaid is giving people what they want and need—affordable health insurance and access to care,” said Sarah Collins, the Commonwealth Fund’s vice president for healthcare coverage.

  • Anesthesia Practitioners: CMS Prepares for New Physician Compare Star-Based Rating System

    June 26, 2017

    In late 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will implement a new benchmark and five-star quality rating system for clinicians and group practices on Physician Compare, the website mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help patients, families and caregivers make more informed choices regarding healthcare services.  The changes will ramp up the level of information readily available to patients and others about clinician and group practice performance on clinical quality measures, and push healthcare providers, including anesthesia providers and pain specialists, into a new phase of accelerated transparency.  Healthcare consumer sites such as Healthgrades and Vitals are likely to incorporate the information into their own portals.

  • Attitudes About Aging and End-of-Life Care: What Anesthesia Providers Should Know

    June 19, 2017

    U.S. Census Bureau projections indicate that Americans 65 and older will make up 24 percent of the U.S. population by 2060.  A majority of adults in the U.S. say that the government is “not too prepared” or “not at all prepared” to deal with the aging population, according to a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in partnership with The Economist.  This study covered views and experiences related to aging and end-of-life medical care in the U.S., Italy, Japan and Brazil, among a nationally representative sample of adults ages 18 and older.

  • AI and Machine Learning in Healthcare and Anesthesia: Where Are We Going?

    June 12, 2017

    The growth of big data, advances in software and hardware, and the development of cloud-based business models are fueling an explosion in the use of machine learning (artificial intelligence), particularly in healthcare. All clinicians, including anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists, are likely to find themselves incorporating ML tools and capabilities into their practices in the not-toodistant future. We offer an overview of ML’s current and future applications in healthcare and medicine, including its strengths and limitations, as well as strategies for avoiding pitfalls.

  • An AHCA (H.R. 1628) Update for Anesthesia Groups

    June 5, 2017

    The latest version of the House bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, passed in early May, would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion and result in 23 million additional uninsured Americans by 2026 compared with current law, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation. We highlight key findings from the report and provisions of the revised bill, including the MacArthur and Upton Amendments related to patients with pre-existing conditions, and review responses from organized medicine and groups both for and against the proposal.

  • Anesthesia Business Consultants Approved as a QCDR for 2017

    June 1, 2017

    ABC is pleased to announce that for the second year in a row it has been approved to be a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) for the 2017 reporting year via its company-developed MiraMed QCDR.

  • Cybersecurity News and Best Practices for Anesthesia Groups

    May 30, 2017

    Do the names WannaCrypt or WannaCry mean anything to you? They well might, by now. In a global cyberattack that began on May 12, 2017, this aggressive form of ransomware infected more than 300,000 Windows PCs in 150 countries across Europe, Latin America and Asia.

  • Negotiating Exclusive Hospital Arrangements: Strategies for Anesthesia Groups from AIAPM (Part 2)

    May 22, 2017

    The current highly competitive atmosphere in anesthesia means that practices must be able to build and nurture solid relationships with their hospitals in order to win and keep exclusive contracts.

  • Negotiating Exclusive Hospital Arrangements: Strategies for Anesthesia Groups from AIAPM (Part 1)

    May 15, 2017

    In an anesthesia market rife with consolidation, mergers and acquisitions, the threat of shrinking payments due to new and complex payment programs, and general uncertainty on the regulatory and legislative fronts, the need for anesthesia groups to be solidly aligned with their hospitals is, at present, exceptionally strong.

  • Leverage Technology to Improve Your Anesthesia or Pain Practice: Nine Takeaways from AIAPM

    May 8, 2017

    The Advanced Institute for Anesthesia Practice Management (AIAPM), held the weekend before last in Las Vegas, offered anesthesiologists and CRNAs a wealth of practical advice on surviving and thriving in a complex and uncertain healthcare environment.

  • QR Versus QCDR for MIPS: Answers for Anesthesiologists and CRNAs That You Must Know for a Successful Practice

    May 1, 2017

    If, like most anesthesiologists and CRNAs, you are participating in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) arm of the Quality Payment Program (QPP), you are probably aware of the various methods available for submitting data.  Two of the most important of these for anesthesiologists and CRNAs are the Qualified Registries (QRs) and the Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs) developed by third-party vendors that require approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

  • Anesthesia Practitioners: Don’t Put Off Succession Planning

    April 24, 2017

    Considering the rigorous demands, complexity and pace of modern anesthesia practice, it’s not surprising that many anesthesia groups chronically delay thinking about succession planning.  Your group’s plate is already full dealing with everything in the here and now, from cybersecurity threats to MACRA compliance.  Succession planning doesn’t demand your attention at the moment, so why think about it when countless other, more pressing issues compete for your time?

  • Physician Burnout: An Update for Anesthesia Practitioners

    April 17, 2017

    The unwholesome cocktail of cynicism, exhaustion and feelings of inefficacy and apathy that has become universally known as burnout afflicts at least half of physicians.  And it is definitely an affliction, with far-reaching implications, not only for the distressed individuals, but also for the quality of care, patient safety, healthcare costs, physician turnover and patient satisfaction. Organizations tend to under-discuss it, but it’s not an issue that hospitals, health systems or individuals can disregard. A March 28, 2017 article on the Health Affairs blog by 10 health system CEOs calls burnout a national public health crisis and “a matter of absolute urgency.”

  • Acute Pain Management in Anesthesia: A Case Study

    April 10, 2017

    The specialty of anesthesia is in a constant state of evolution as practitioners seek new modalities to safely manage patients through the discomfort and trauma of surgery.  As providers experiment with new procedures, such as nerve blocks for postoperative pain management, ultimately, each new modality is evaluated on three levels:  technical expertise, clinical efficacy and financial viability.  The use of interscalene blocks for the management of postoperative pain associated with painful shoulder procedures provides us with a useful case study, highlighting the various prerequisites for a successful rollout of a new modality.