Anesthesia Industry eAlerts
Sent to subscribers every Monday morning, our eAlerts deliver timely updates on regulatory, legislative and practice management developments of interest to anesthesia professionals.
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February 11, 2019
Thanks to our extensive client base, ABC has gained a unique perspective on the pros and cons of electronic medical records (EMRs) and the challenges anesthesia groups face in implementing them. In fact, the transition from a paper anesthesia record to an electronic record is so significant that ABC has established a special transition team to assist clients in ensuring that the EMR they implement will support anesthesia billing’s specific requirements.
February 4, 2019
In last week’s eAlert, we discussed some of the ways that health information technology (HIT) can be harnessed to improve quality in anesthesia. With proper implementation and vigilance in the face of the added distractions that can come with automation, HIT can help drive improvements in documentation, clinical decision-making, financial performance, clinician satisfaction and much more.
January 28, 2019
Anesthesia providers typically think of anesthesia information management systems (AIMS) and electronic health records (EHR) when they think of health information technology (HIT) in anesthesia, but HIT’s potential uses in the specialty reach much farther. HIT can be harnessed to ensure appropriate documentation, drive smarter clinical decisions, boost provider satisfaction, bolster financial performance, promote medication safety and more.
January 21, 2019
Soaring drug prices and persistent drug shortages during 2015-2017, including those for important anesthesia drugs, led one-fourth of United States hospitals to reduce staff to cope with the financial pressure, according to a study commissioned by the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).
January 14, 2019
Anesthesia providers should be aware of two changes in the ASA 2019 Relative Value Guide® (the book of descriptors for anesthesia services, base unit values and CPT codes) with potential implications for their practices.
January 7, 2019
About 15 percent of ABC’s clients practice in the subspecialty of chronic pain management. While the scope and types of services provided vary among these practices, many report favorable experiences and positive relationships with their facilities.
December 31, 2018
As 2018 draws to a close, we take this opportunity to review and distill some of the key takeaways from selected ABC eAlerts and Communiqué articles for the year. We hope the highlights below (with links for easy reference) offer a useful year-end refresher that helps you consolidate your thinking and learning about the practice management issues facing the specialty.
December 17, 2018
The budget neutrality required by MACRA and the high performance by anesthesia and pain management groups in the Quality Payment Program so far means that providers within the specialty are unlikely to earn significant bonuses by participating in MIPS in 2019. However, compelling reasons to continue reporting remain: 1) insurance carriers continue to require it; 2) hospitals and facilities continue to request it; and 3) practice trend data is a valuable asset for organizational reviews. We encourage providers to review the quality measures awaiting approval by CMS through the MiraMed QCDR in order to begin planning for 2019.
December 10, 2018
Although anesthesiologists do not bill for Evaluation and Management visits frequently, providers should be aware of the situations in which failure to use these codes can lead to lost revenue. We review these situations and other E&M coding issues of interest to anesthesia providers, including optional changes in E&M documentation requirements that will go into effect in 2019.
December 3, 2018
The movement toward increased healthcare price transparency is likely here to stay. Anesthesia groups need to be aware that patients are going to have increasing access to information about the costs of procedures, and that this information could conceivably influence activity levels and patterns at their facilities.
November 26, 2018
Social media can be a powerful tool to help you reach your professional goals, whatever they may be. We provide an overview of a presentation by Marjorie Stiegler, MD, on digital strategy for physicians at ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2018.
November 19, 2018
The national anesthesia conversion factor for the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule final rule increased minimally to $22.27 from $22.19 in 2018. We review highlights of the 2019 rule with relevance for anesthesia providers, including changes to the Quality Payment Program for payment year 2021. Significant changes in documentation requirements for E&M services were finalized for 2019. We are analyzing these changes and will discuss their implications for anesthesia practitioners in a future eAlert.
November 12, 2018
The 2019 OPPS/ASC final rule adds 12 cardiac catheterization procedures and five additional cardiology procedures to the ASC list of covered procedures. As a result, many anesthesia groups will see a change in the mix of procedures at their ASCs starting in 2019 and should begin planning accordingly.
November 5, 2018
The current framework for addressing burnout, including burnout among physicians and other healthcare professionals, tends to be one that attempts to ‘fix’ the individual, but burnout is really a warning sign to the organization that it needs to make improvements in the social and psychological environment. We offer highlights of a presentation by Dr. Christina Maslach at ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2018.
October 29, 2018
The use of telemedicine to streamline care, reduce costs without compromising quality, and enhance patient satisfaction and engagement among a highly technology-connected population of healthcare consumers shows promise in the delivery of perioperative services. We offer highlights of a presentation on telemedicine in anesthesia at ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2018 in San Francisco.
October 22, 2018
Among the offerings at ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2018 was a panel discussion by three anesthesiologists who have made the successful transition to executive leadership roles in healthcare administration, industry and public policy. We highlight selected comments from the panelists and ASA resources for members interested in pursuing various kinds of leadership opportunities.
October 15, 2018
The Texas Department of Insurance recently fined insurer Humana $700,000 for failing to contract with a sufficient number of anesthesiologists to ensure that patients had the ability to receive their anesthesia care from in-network providers. Some patients had received “surprise” medical bills as a result of the insurer’s failure to comply with the state’s network adequacy laws. We provide an overview of network adequacy and its significance for anesthesia groups.
October 8, 2018
The new and revised Joint Commission standards for pain assessment and management for ambulatory care, critical access hospitals and office-based surgeries will go into effect in January 2019. Anesthesia groups should review their departmental policies and procedures and modify them as needed to ensure compliance.
October 1, 2018
Following dramatic growth in the provision of—and reliable reimbursement for—anesthesia services by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist for endoscopic procedures, we are seeing isolated payer policy changes intended to limit utilization. We predict similar changes from other key payers. We advise anesthesia practices that are expanding their endoscopy service to continue, but with close monitoring of productivity and reimbursements. ABC clients interested in a detailed analysis are invited to contact their account executives.
September 24, 2018
Though rare, wrong-site nerve blocks are much more common than wrong-site surgery, according to a large incidence study. Two organizations, the Pennsylvania Society of Anesthesiologists and the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, joined forces to develop a consensus-based, peer-driven protocol that incorporates practices with unique relevance for the perioperative team.
September 17, 2018
Agile improvement methods based on an iterative project management approach first used in the software industry can be applied to a variety of problems in healthcare, including those related to anesthesia care. We review key characteristics of the Agile approach and offer examples from the scientific literature.