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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  • The American Health Care Act: An Overview for Anesthesia Practitioners

    March 20, 2017

    The House proposal to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the landmark and controversial legislation that is a signature of President Barack Obama’s administration, indicates that the nation’s healthcare system could be heading for yet another upheaval.  Tomorrow (March 21, 2017) marks the seventh anniversary of the ACA.  Although there is still a high degree of uncertainty regarding what the final repeal-and-replace legislation will look like, or when it will appear, any changes to the ACA will have important implications for hospitals, health systems and healthcare professionals—anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists included—as well as for patients.

  • 11 Building Blocks of a Safety Culture in Anesthesia—and Beyond

    March 13, 2017

    The fact that 125,000 fewer patients died due to hospital-acquired conditions in 2010-2015, resulting in a cost savings of more than $28 billion, shows healthcare’s capacity for large-scale improvement.  Anesthesia’s long history of safety improvements and innovations includes some significant recent safety gains as well.  The percentage of anesthesia-related adverse events dropped from 11.8 percent to 4.8 percent of procedures between 2010 and 2013, according to the Anesthesia Quality Institute’s (AQI) National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry (NACOR) of more than 3.2 million anesthesia cases.

  • Anesthesiologists: Innovate and Anticipate the ‘Next Play’ to Lead the Specialty’s Move to Value-Based Care

    March 6, 2017

    While many anesthesia practices are struggling to survive, others are thriving as they embrace the new challenges facing the specialty.  The American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Conference on Practice Management offered an excellent forum for the discussion of new ideas in this regard.  Today’s eAlert comes from the presentation by Daniel Cole, MD, immediate past president of the ASA.

  • Negotiating a Hospital Employment Contract: Smart Tips for Anesthesia Providers

    February 27, 2017

    Given the pace of change in healthcare—anesthesia included—and the challenges associated with negotiating an appropriate and reasonable stipend for your practice, the possibility always looms that if your anesthesia group can’t come to an agreement with your institution, of if your hospital system wants to employ all physicians, you will face hospital employment.  The good news is that this doesn’t happen very often with anesthesia.  Nevertheless, it remains a concern.

  • Hospital Drug Diversion Prevention: Strategies for Anesthesiologists, Nurse Anesthetists and Chronic Pain Specialists

    February 20, 2017

    • An endoscopy nurse drops syringes of fentanyl into a secret pocket in her uniform top and substitutes them with syringes containing saline.
    • A radiology technician with hepatitis C diverts unused fentanyl syringes intended for patients and five patients become infected with the virus.  One of the patients eventually dies from the infection.
    • A night custodian rummages through sharps waste containers and consolidates minuscule remaining fentanyl vials for his own use.
  • What Anesthesia Practitioners Should Know About GI Procedures for 2017

    February 13, 2017

    Over the past decade or so, endoscopy has become a significant line of business for most of the country’s anesthesia practices.  Much empirical evidence has supported the role of anesthesia in the endoscopy center.  Outcomes are more consistent, patients are more comfortable and endoscopists can be more productive.

  • Adding Value in the ICU: The Case for Anesthesiologist Leadership

    February 6, 2017

    As healthcare’s transition to value-based care via MACRA and the Quality Payment Program continues unabated, so do efforts by anesthesia practices to solidify their relationships with their hospitals and find new ways to demonstrate value.

  • OIG Report Reveals Two-Midnight Rule Vulnerabilities: An Update for Anesthesia Providers

    January 30, 2017

    A study by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has revealed “vulnerabilities” under the Two-Midnight hospital policy that initially went into effect on October 1, 2013.  In response to the findings, OIG has recommended that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) improve oversight of hospital billing under the policy and take steps to increase protections for beneficiaries.  Anesthesiologists should be aware that their hospitals are likely to see closer scrutiny to determine whether physicians are appropriately characterizing inpatient and outpatient stays.

  • Nitrous Oxide in Obstetric Anesthesia: Yes or No?

    January 23, 2017

    Nitrous oxide for labor analgesia is used widely in some European countries, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, but relatively rarely in the United States.  It was available in the U.S. at one time, but virtually disappeared in the 1970s with the development of neuraxial anesthesia.  This appears to be changing.  The inhalational agent has seen an upswing in interest among women and clinicians in recent years.

  • Medical Marijuana in Anesthesia and Chronic Pain Practice: Where Are We Now?

    January 16, 2017

    Search the professional literature and reputable web sources on the topic of medical marijuana (cannabis) and the consensus seems to be the existence of an over-arching lack of consensus on use of the substance as a treatment modality.

  • 2017 Coding Changes That Could Affect Your Anesthesia or Chronic Pain Practice

    January 9, 2017

    As part of our continuing efforts to keep you informed of developments that could have an impact on your practice, we present the following summary of coding and reimbursement changes for 2017, along with related documentation reminders.

  • News Anesthesia Practices Can Use in 2017: On Language Services, HIPAA, Recycling and the FTC

    January 3, 2017

    We start the new year with warm wishes and a compilation of updates and practical information gathered from some of our most reliable sources.

  • Healthcare Highlights of 2016—and Predictions for the New Year

    December 27, 2016

    Looking back on 2016, one need only look as far back as November to find the year’s most significant regulatory development.  Donald J. Trump’s election as president and his vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 have triggered a mountain of speculation about the fate of the historic and controversial legislation, a hallmark of President Barack Obama’s administration.

  • ABC's Affiliate Company, Plexus Technology Group and La Casa del Médico Announce International Distributor Partnership for Mexico, Central and South America

    December 15, 2016 – The Anesthesia Business Consultants (ABC) affiliate company, a fully KLAS-rated and trusted anesthesia information management systems (AIMS) partner, Plexus Technology Group, LLC (Plexus TG), announces an international partnership with Horacio Icaza y Cía, S.A. (La Casa del Médico), a leading healthcare distributor based in the Republic of Panamá. Through this partnership, La Casa del Médico will market and implement Plexus TG’s world-class anesthesia documentation and medication management solutions, Anesthesia Touch™ and Pharmacy Touch™, throughout Mexico and Central and South America, bringing greater efficiencies to the OR anesthesia process.

  • Use Lean Six Sigma to Enhance ‘Flow,’ Add Value to Anesthesia Care

    December 12, 2016

    Hospitals and healthcare practices have used the Lean and Six Sigma process improvement methodologies separately and in blended form to tackle processes and problems of many kinds. Originally developed in manufacturing (by Toyota and Motorola, respectively), these systematic approaches to continuous quality improvement have been applied to ferret out waste in anesthesia supply chains, reduce turnaround times for pathology reports, streamline preoperative clearance of patients, increase cafeteria customer satisfaction and much more.

  • Mapping Your MACRA MIPS Strategy for 2017: An Overview for Anesthesia Providers

    December 5, 2016

    The Quality Payment Program (QPP) mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) begins on January 1, 2017.  If you are an eligible clinician (EC) and plan to participate, your performance in this value-based incentive program in 2017 will directly influence your Medicare Part B payments in 2019.  The purpose of the QPP is to incentivize clinicians to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of the care they deliver.  ECs can participate in one of two tracks: 1) the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), or 2) Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs).  In this first year, the vast majority of ECs, including most ABC clients, will participate in MIPS.

  • Anesthesiologists Lead Battle Against Postoperative Delirium

    November 28, 2016

    If your anesthesia practice provides care for older patients, chances are you also encounter POD and delayed cognitive recovery on a fairly regular basis.  The American Geriatrics Society’s (AGS) Best Practice Statement on Postoperative Delirium, published in the February 2015 issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, cites POD as the most common surgical complication in older adults.

  • A Timely, Transparent Response to Unexpected Harmful Events

    November 21, 2016

    “We realize mistakes happen, and we can forgive that,” says patient advocate Carol Hemmelgarn, whose nine-year-old daughter died of medical error and a hospital-acquired infection (HAI) in a teaching hospital.  “But you harm us again by not being honest and transparent with us . . . we should be healing and learning together how to prevent this from happening to someone else.”

  • Lessons from ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2016 on the Perioperative Surgical Home

    November 14, 2016

    As healthcare transitions from a volume-based to a value-based reimbursement paradigm with the implementation of the Quality Payment Program, bundled payments and other alternative models, how will anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, surgeons and other members of the care team find their place in the new world order?  The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and other medical organizations point increasingly to the model already familiar to many of you, the perioperative surgical home (PSH).

  • Emergency Manuals for Anesthesia Providers

    November 7, 2016

    In the heat of a perioperative crisis, the most diligent and highly trained anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist can miss a crucial step.  Even with years of experience monitoring patients and managing emergencies, anesthesia providers are not above making critical errors in stressful situations.  Key details can be overlooked as memory and employable knowledge shrink under pressure.

  • Value-Based Healthcare: Insights from ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2016

    October 31, 2016

    One of the more thought-provoking highlights of ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2016, held last week in Chicago, was the opening session keynote speech by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School.  Dr. Porter shared his vision for value-based healthcare and its implications for anesthesiologists and anesthesia providers.  Following are selected, slightly edited excerpts from Dr. Porter’s presentation.