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Cybersecurity News and Best Practices for Anesthesia Groups

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.Of special note for hospitals and healthcare professionals—anesthesiologists and nurse...
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Preparing for the Financial After-Life

Depending on how much fun you're having in the OR each day, at some point, you may decide to "discontinue full time professional engagement." Please note that I did not use the "R" word or the "W" word. With so many negative connotations, including declining physical and mental abilities and boredom, retirement, in the traditional sense of the word...
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Negotiating Exclusive Hospital Arrangements: Strategies for Anesthesia Groups from AIAPM (Part 2)

SUMMARY The current healthcare environment requires anesthesia groups to demonstrate the value they bring to their institutions. Practices interested in keeping exclusive arrangements with their facilities should stay abreast of how they are perceived by patients, surgeons and administration; take steps to address any problems; deal quickly and eff...
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Anesthesiologists in the ICU: Economics and Other Considerations

Very few private anesthesia practices provide services in their hospitals' intensive care units (ICUs). The lack of enthusiasm for staffing the ICU relates directly to a perception that ICU coverage is not as profitable as operating room (OR) coverage. The entire Anesthesia Business Consultants client database only yields a few examples of private ...
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Negotiating Exclusive Hospital Arrangements: Strategies for Anesthesia Groups from AIAPM (Part 1)

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. In a session at the rec...
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Effective Governance: Who Decides What?

Will Latham, MBA President, Latham Consulting Group, Inc., Chattanooga, TN Over the years, you may have heard the old saying that "Nothing happens until someone sells something." With regard to anesthesia groups, we have found that "Nothing (good) happens until the group has effective governance."Without effective governance: The group lacks the ab...
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Leverage Technology to Improve Your Anesthesia or Pain Practice: Nine Takeaways from AIAPM

SUMMARY Strategic business planning, including identifying your anesthesia group's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; analyzing the impact of external political, economic and other forces, and developing a mission and vision statement is essential for leveraging and making intelligent decisions regarding technology in the current env...
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Why Your Compliance Efforts May Be Worthless

It's a riddle almost as inscrutable as that of the Sphinx: How can a physician or pharmacist or facility owner be convicted of a federal crime for violating a state law? The answer is, unfortunately, quite simple, quite questionable and quite dangerous. It turns what many think about federal healthcare law compliance on its head.It signals that man...
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QR Versus QCDR for MIPS: Answers for Anesthesiologists and CRNAs That You Must Know for a Successful Practice

SUMMARY ABC recommends that participating anesthesiologists and CRNAs use a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) as opposed to a Qualified Registry (QR) to submit data to the Quality Payment Program’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).  In our view, a QCDR is the reporting method most likely to ensure long-term success in MIP...
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Building Professional Resilience: Strategies For Anesthesia Practitioners

It is becoming all too common for physicians to report feeling overwhelmed by the demands of their jobs, and, at times, even emotionally, psychologically and physically depleted. In fact, occupational burnout, a syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and lack of personal accomplishment,¹ is hitting near-epidemic rates acr...
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Anesthesia Practitioners: Don’t Put Off Succession Planning

SUMMARY Because most anesthesiologists practice in large groups, succession planning revolves primarily around considering the impact a retirement will have on the group. Experts advise advance planning and thinking in terms of having a "next generation" of clinicians in place to avoid gaps. Only 23 percent of physicians 55 and older are involved i...
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Predictions for Healthcare in a Trump Era

Healthcare has been the talking point for generations, but its presence has been even more pronounced since President Obama's election in 2008. Such discussions have revolved around passing comprehensive healthcare reform, passing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare"), repealing the ACA and replacing it with the American Health Care Act of ...
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Physician Burnout: An Update for Anesthesia Practitioners

SUMMARY Burnout affects more than half of physicians and, according to a new survey, more than half of anesthesiologists. In a recent article, a group of prominent health system CEOs calls on healthcare leaders to take an active part in addressing what is now considered a serious public health problem that impacts patient safety, healthcare costs a...
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Switzerland and the Anesthesia Group Structure

Quick! Who's the president of Switzerland?Anesthesia group leaders seeking to create a larger structure out of existing groups, from an alliance among local groups, to business models for exclusive contracting, to the creation of a true regional or national player, encounter a plethora of problems from the merely difficult (e.g., due diligence) to ...
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Acute Pain Management in Anesthesia: A Case Study

SUMMARY The interscalene block is not a new technique, but its acceptance as a routine anesthetic modality for shoulder surgery has evolved slowly. A review of the ABC client base indicates additional potential for the use of this block with ultrasonic guidance. Anesthesia practices should review their data to assess that the reasons for not doing ...
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Electronic Medical Records in Anesthesia: Who Will Benefit and How?

The concept of automating the anesthesia record has intrigued academicians for decades. Some of the early versions of software packages for computer-based record keeping were quite complete and impressive despite the technology's limitations during the 1980s and 1990s. A number of companies made significant investments in the various software optio...
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Your 2017 MACRA MIPS Composite Score: A Guide for Anesthesia Practitioners

SUMMARY Most anesthesia practitioners participating in the Quality Payment Program in 2017 will participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). This eAlert offers a guide for eligible clinicians on how the MIPS composite score will be calculated, including an explanation of the scoring system's four thresholds, a description of the ...
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Hope Is Not a Strategy: A Primer for Anesthesia Groups on Strategic Planning

One of the most important responsibilities of any anesthesia group's governance is to develop a strategic plan for the group. For some groups this is the role of the Board. In other groups, all shareholders participate in this process.Unfortunately, it appears that for many groups, "hope" is their strategy.We are continually surprised to find group...
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E-Prescribing and Other Opioid-Related News for Pain and Anesthesia Practitioners

SUMMARY Despite some small signs of progress, the opioid epidemic remains a serious reality in the United States, with recent survey data showing that one in three patients who have taken prescription opioids for at least two months report addiction or psychological dependence. An article by Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, in the April 2017 issue of Annals ...
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Anesthesia Mergers and Acquisitions and Post-Termination Obligations: Have You Terminated Your Future?

I pushed the wiring instructions across the table.A few minutes later, I confirmed that close to $10 million was in the account of my client, the sole shareholder.Then we all went to lunch.Ah, the shiny object, the more or less instant gratification. The sale of your anesthesia group and the fresh $1 million in your pocket.But what comes next? And ...
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