The COVID-19 pandemic has had rippling effects throughout every aspect of healthcare as we know it. Never before has it been so essential to manage available resources, optimize supply chains, and contain costs to stay afloat. The anesthesia department can be one of the most costly parts of any perioperative department, and therefore healthcare facility — especially when it suffers from bloat. Because anesthesia is the lowest reimbursed service in healthcare, anesthesia contracts tend to have the most tangible effects when it comes to how much revenue a facility generates.
Here we’ll review common anesthesia department deficiencies and how an anesthesia management service can help contain costs.
Causes of Anesthesia Department Inflation
Anesthesia departments are prone to bloat. Here are just a few of the most common causes:
- Over-staffing: Since the pandemic began, healthcare facilities of all sizes have been trying to strike a delicate balance: having enough qualified talent without succumbing to burnout or turnover contagion. However, despite anesthesia provider shortages, we have still observed over-staffing to be one of the most common inefficiencies within OR departments.
- Above-market compensation: One of the most significant ways organizations can attract top talent is to offer competitive wages. With the healthcare talent pool continuing to shrink, and even more significantly when it comes to specialists such as anesthesiologists, it’s understandable that facilities want to outbid their competition to attract and retain talent. Nonetheless, for some organizations, this has proven to be unsustainable in the long run and winds up significantly inflating costs down the road.
- Billing challenges: The anesthesia department is often the lowest reimbursed service for most healthcare facilities, which greatly affects their bottom line. Billing for anesthesia is particularly complex and is, therefore, more prone to error — whether due to faulty coding, human error, or any number of possibilities. It is unfortunately common to see denied claims or delayed payments.
How Anesthesia Management Services Help the Bottom Line
Anesthesia management services, such Sullivan Healthcare Consulting (SHC), have provided expert analysis and significant, sustainable cost containment strategies during a time in which every cent counts and facilities are looking for savings wherever they can.
As a 3rd-party, honest broker bridging the gap among all parties, SHC is able to help with contract negotiations, manage the RFP process, optimize your employment and staffing models, ensure transparent billing, and more. Our extensive experience and comprehensive suite of anesthesia consulting services allows us to customize our approach and deliverables to your facility’s needs to cut costs without sacrificing integrity.
The First Steps to Anesthesia Cost Containment
- Identify how many locations are running
- Hours of utilization and capacity
- Level of service to ask for in an RFP
- Determine if you are double subsiding the same people
- Identify how many anesthesia groups you’re using
- Understand payor mix
Through a comprehensive anesthesiology department assessment, our consultants identify organizational pain points within subsidy and current or proposed contracts, compare practice data to current MGMA survey data, and analyze:
- Support staff expense structure
- Call team composition
- Quality of data available
- Department organization
- Anesthesia staffing model
Sullivan Is Here to Cut Costs in Your Anesthesia Department
Having worked in thousands of ORs across the U.S. for many years, SHC has seen it all. Our seasoned expert team has helped organizations like yours find innovative cost containment strategies in the anesthesia department without sacrificing operational integrity. The process is simple: assess and benchmark all perioperative services and their interdependencies, clearly identify what isn’t working, build consensus for a best-practice-based solution, and help all stakeholders work together to correct it.
Sullivan’s recommendations are always realistic, achievable, and sustainable over the long haul.
Learn more today or get started on an anesthesiology department assessment by getting in touch!