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Five Questions Every Hospital Administrator Should Ask When Trying to Decide on a New Anesthesia Group

Robbie Conway, Vice President of Business Development

29 September 2016

It’s not every day, every year, or even every few years that a hospital administrator has to think about looking for a new anesthesia group for his or her facility.  Many facilities will use the same anesthesia group for a very long time until there is a triggering event that causes them to look at other options.  It could be anything from the current group being acquired by a larger company, a change in administration at the facility, the current anesthesia group leaders retiring, etc.  Whatever the case may be, there are five critical questions an administrator should ask before deciding on a new group.

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Question 1

What is the anesthesia group’s core purpose?

A:  It has been well documented that the longest lasting business relationships are the ones sharing similar purposes.  Spend time getting to know an anesthesia group and ask yourself if the anesthesia group and your facility share the same vision and core values.  The culture of the two entities must blend well together to enjoy a healthy, long-lasting relationship.  If the anesthesia group’s core purpose is only to provide anesthesia services, then something is missing.  Select a group whose vision is closely aligned with your own facility’s, and one that places high value on quality and patient safety.

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Question 2

How does the group evaluate their clinical staff?

A:  Quality and patient safety records are important considerations in choosing a new anesthesia management group.  Each group may choose to evaluate their clinical staff in different ways.  Whether the group pays an outside source to perform the evaluations or they do them within their own practice, the important indicator to look for is if the staff is being constantly evaluated for giving quality anesthesia care.  The criteria should be measurable and help explain the group’s definition of quality.

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Question 3

How does the group plan to deal with future cuts to reimbursement?

A:  Amidst the talk about rising healthcare costs, we rarely hear how physician reimbursements are continually rising.  Medical providers have long been the target of healthcare cuts and will continue to be in the future.  The anesthesia group you choose should have a viable, long-term plan to be able to deal with these future cuts.   A top-notch group will be able to outline a plan in preparation of these changes.  This is when having an anesthesia group run by business professionals, as well as clinical providers, is crucial.  Many anesthesia groups do not understand the business side of running a company, and thus set themselves up for failure.  They are so busy in the operating room that they are unable to concentrate on the business of anesthesia, resulting in unnecessary losses for the facility and the group.

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Question 4

How technologically advanced is the anesthesia group?

A:  The group’s method of scheduling, billing, and revenue management will speak volumes about how adept the group is with current technology.  Has the group transitioned away from paper and integrated electronic reporting?  Electronic reporting saves time, creates efficiencies, and is an easier way of reporting data more accurately.  Some groups are already using an EMR, and these are the progressive groups that are ahead of the technology curve that will be eventually mandated by the government.  You want an anesthesia group that is already using technology to benefit the facility and their own practice.

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Question 5

What sets the group apart from other anesthesia groups?

A:  People typically make purchases or decisions based on three criteria: price, product and service.  Ironically, money seldom plays the primary role in this decision, and it shouldn’t play a primary role in choosing between anesthesia groups.  Consider the first question: “What is the group’s core purpose?”  The facility and anesthesia group must share the same vision and core purpose to achieve success.  Not all facilities and groups share the same purpose, and therefore, do not have a good working relationship. This results in the administrator looking once again for a new anesthesia group that is a better fit for the facility.

Whatever the reason may be that you find yourself in this position as an administrator, ask yourself these questions that will help guide you in making the right your decision for your facility, staff, and patients.  DPI has a proven track record of implementing and maintaining successful anesthesia departments, and we also offer consultative services for administrators. Let us know if there is anything we can do to assist you in your decision making process.

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