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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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  • 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.

  • An Update for Anesthesia Providers on Surprise Billing

    October 24, 2016

    In a 2015 Consumer Reports survey (see our May 31, 2016 eAlert), nearly a third of Americans had received a medical bill in the previous two years in which their health plan paid less than expected.  Among those, nearly one in four had received a surprise bill from an out-of-network physician, such as an anesthesiologist or radiologist, for care delivered at an in-network facility.  Only 28 percent of those who received a surprise bill were satisfied with how the problem was resolved, and 57 percent ultimately paid the bill out of their own pockets.

  • Anesthesia Business Consultants’ Fall 2016 Issue of The Communiqué—Current News for the Anesthesia Specialty—Available Now

    October 18, 2016 – Anesthesia Business Consultants (ABC), a leading provider in billing and practice management for the anesthesia and pain management specialty, is pleased to announce that the Fall 2016 issue of its quarterly newsletter, The Communiqué, is now available.

  • How Much Do Anesthesiologists Know About the Costs of Care?

    October 10, 2016

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ 2018 target date for having 50 percent of all Medicare fee-for-service payments made through a value-based model is not far away.  The transition to value requires hospitals, physicians and post-acute care providers to unite in delivering a high quality and cost-effective patient experience.  Indeed, providers must do so or suffer penalties.  As an anesthesiologist, how well do you understand the costs of the care that you deliver?  According to the speakers at a recent Hospitals and Health Networks webinar, “The New Conversation on Cost,” it’s time for clinicians to learn and become actively involved.

  • Does Obesity Stigma Affect Anesthesia Care?

    October 3, 2016

    Anesthesiologists know the health risks of obesity and the added complexity of providing anesthesia care for significantly overweight patients.  Everything from the preoperative assessment to anesthesia induction and maintenance and management of a difficult airway to perioperative pain management requires special planning and consideration.

  • When ‘Production’ Undermines Anesthesia Safety: Food for Thought on Physician Employment

    September 26, 2016

    An anesthesiologist filed a $9 million whistleblower retaliation and wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer in July alleging he had been fired for voicing concerns about hospital policies and procedures that required anesthesiologists to cut corners on patient safety.  We have no opinion on the merits of the lawsuit, nor any information supporting or refuting the plaintiff’s allegations, but physicians and hospitals might consider the issues raised by this scenario.

  • MACRA Flexibility for Anesthesia Providers: Set Your Own Pace in 2017

    September 19, 2016

    The clinician community—anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists included—breathed at least a partial sigh of relief last week.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that clinicians would not suffer financial penalties in 2019 based on their performance in 2017 under the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) that implements the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

  • News Anesthesia Practices Can Use: Costs of Care, Opioid Abuse, Green Practices and More

    September 12, 2016

    This week’s eAlert offers a compendium of news items and practical advice for anesthesia providers and practice managers, gleaned from a variety of sources.  We hope you find these items interesting and useful in your anesthesia practices.

  • Pharmacogenomics in Anesthesia Care: Is It Time for Your Practice?

    September 6, 2016

    The premise is elegant in its simplicity: The more information you have about a surgical patient’s biology, the greater your ability to tailor anesthesia medication appropriately for that patient and lower their risk of an adverse drug reaction (ADR), longer hospital stay or hospital readmission, and the better and more cost-effective the overall quality and safety of your anesthesia care.