Nuances of Staffing and Managing an Ambulatory Surgery Center Anesthesia Department

by | Aug 27, 2021

Nuances of Staffing and Managing an Ambulatory Surgery Center Anesthesia Department

For ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), choosing an anesthesia management company is an extremely important decision. Experience matters when it comes to managing an ASC anesthesia department, as this type of environment poses unique challenges. Now more than ever, ASCs are performing increasingly complex procedures on sicker patients. Anesthesia providers must be attuned to the ASC setting and specialize in ambulatory anesthesia. There are several nuances of staffing and managing an ASC anesthesia department of which every ASC administrator should be mindful.

Preparation for Staffing Shortages

ASCs are not exempt from the anesthesia provider shortage plaguing the nation. Every hospital and surgical facility deal with pain points stemming from this issue, but ASCs must be particularly careful when it comes to planning for paid time off or call-ins. The best anesthesia departments at ASCs are those that are staffed efficiently with providers who are dedicated and understand the importance of showing up to work when scheduled. With the right providers, it is possible to only staff enough providers to run the allotted operating rooms each day. Having a surplus of providers or relying on locum tenens to keep operating rooms open can become a serious budget drain.

Maintaining Supplies and Drugs

While supply maintenance and drug acquisition are handled by different departments at hospitals, ASCs rely on their anesthesia departments to keep anesthesia supplies and drugs stocked. Anesthesia professionals who are experienced in managing ASC anesthesia departments can majorly help with cost containment in this realm. Since anesthesia drugs and supplies are essential for conducting surgeries, this is an extremely important responsibility of your anesthesia department.

Revenue Cycle Management, Billing Issues and Subsidies

Revenue cycle management is increasingly important for ASCs where margins are steadily narrowing. Choosing an anesthesia billing solution that efficiently captures outstanding payments and regularly negotiates with payors is paramount to a thriving revenue cycle. Another significant difference between ASCs and hospitals is that ASCs with heavily insured payor mixes generally do not require an anesthesia subsidy. Given that no subsidy is required, it is a no-brainer for ASC administrators to outsource anesthesia services to an experienced anesthesia management company who can keep their department running smoothly.

The Anesthesia Team’s Impact on Culture

Surgeons are always more comfortable taking their patients to ASCs that are home to an outstanding staff of anesthesia providers. When anesthesia providers are extremely skilled, courteous and team-oriented, they can make the ASC a place where employees genuinely want to work. High morale leads to an increase in efficiencies and fosters an environment where patients feel comfortable and safe. A low turnover rate among anesthesia staff at ASCs is incredibly important and contributes significantly to surgeon satisfaction and overall efficiency.

Additional Challenges Faced by Rural ASCs

Rural ASCs are more prone to staffing challenges than those located in desirable, metropolitan areas. It takes a special type of anesthesia provider to work at a rural ASC and a highly reputable and experienced anesthesia management company to successfully find and recruit them. Since many anesthesia providers find their schedule at an ASC to be better for their work/life balance than a hospital schedule with call, they are often willing to endure a lengthy commute. Engaging an anesthesia management company with a strong recruiting record is the key to keeping a rural ASC fully staffed.

Transitioning Your ASC to DPI Anesthesia

If your ASC is paying an anesthesia subsidy, experiencing anesthesia staffing challenges or dealing with other anesthesia-related problems, it is time to consider a change in anesthesia management companies. DPI Anesthesia has been working together with ASCs for decades to help them become more proficient and profitable. We understand the complexities that are unique to ASCs and tend to remain with our clients for the long-haul. Our anesthesia providers specializing in ambulatory anesthesia are the cream of the crop, and we know what qualities to look for in new recruits to ASC environments. Transitioning your anesthesia department to DPI Anesthesia is easy.

Call DPI Anesthesia at 800.454.9902 for more information on how we can help your ASC create value from its anesthesia department.