Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer killer and third most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Early detection dramatically improves the chance of survival. Everyone over the age of 50 (93% of cases develop at and above 50) should have a colonoscopy (screening) every 3 to 5 years. However in the past, cost (co-payment/deductible) prevented people from going for much needed colonoscopies. Today, under the new Affordable Care Act, you and your family members may be eligible for some important preventive services like colonoscopies, mammograms and other cancer screenings at no additional cost to you. If your plan is subject to these new requirements, you would not have to pay a co-payment/co-insurance or deductible for recommended screenings. What is colorectal cancer? Colorectal (large bowel or large intestine) cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the inner lining of the colon or rectum (whose main function is to reabsorb water from the contents of the intestine so that solid waste can be expelled into the toilet). Most colon and rectal cancers originate from benign wart-like growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum called polyps. What is a colonoscopy? Colonoscopy (screening) is a procedure that enables an examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the inside of the colon. It involves using a four foot long, flexible tube (about the thickness of a finger) called a colonoscope with a camera and a source of light at its tip. The tip of the colonoscope is inserted into the anus and then advanced slowly, under visual control, into the rectum and through the colon. Before the screening, intravenous fluids are given and the patient’s heart rhythm, blood pressure and oxygen in the blood are continuously monitored. He/she is usually sedated to reduce pain and induce relaxation. A colonoscopy often produces a feeling of pressure, cramping, and bloating in the abdomen which is normally relieved by medication. Identifying and removing polyps (through colonoscopies) before they become cancerous prevents the development or further spread of colorectal cancer. Who needs a colonoscopy? • Everyone age 50 and older – the average age to develop colorectal cancer is 70 years with 93% of cases occurring in persons 50 years of age or older • Anyone with a family history of colorectal cancer • Anyone with a personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomas at any age, or cancer of the endometrium (uterus) or ovary diagnosed before age 50. These groups should be checked by colonoscopy at regular intervals, usually every 3 to 5 years. Why should you have a colonoscopy if you have no symptoms? Adenomas can grow for years and transform into cancer without producing any symptoms. When symptoms develop it is often too late to cure the cancer as it may have already spread. Regular colonoscopies mean early detection and more successful treatments. Sedation or Monitored Anesthesia Care, which to choose? Sedation is an integral part of your colonoscopy. While there are various sedatives to choose from, propofol usage (used in Monitored Anesthesia Care MAC) has the most satisfying results. It is fast acting and takes effect right away. In addition, it has no long term effects (like nausea) and promotes quicker recovery times. It also works well for people who are on pain medication. An established anesthesia management company like Steel City Anesthesia has extensive experience with colonoscopy procedures. Our licensed anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetists are committed to patient safety and delivering quality care. We assign local CRNAs on a routine basis which helps improve your productivity, patient flow and revenue. Share your thoughts on…
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 22 million men and women in the United States have not had a potentially life-saving screening test for colorectal cancer, and about 7 million women ages 50 to 74 have not had a recent mammogram. In fact, CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden says that, “More than a third of Americans who need to be screened haven’t been screened.” Cancer screening saves lives. You are probably already aware that colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States as well as the leading cause of cancer deaths among nonsmokers. Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the US. Cancer screening with treatment has lowered colorectal and breast cancer mortality. Moreover, statistical modeling indicates that if current trends in health behaviors, screening, and treatment continue, Americans can expect to see a significant decrease in the CRC mortality rate by 2020. The CDC also points out that cancer screenings could save 10,000 Americans each year. Why people don’t get cancer screenings? Insufficient information about preventive screenings and treatment Fear Lack of medical and screening facilities No proper follow-up procedures No health insurance Cancer deaths are lower today than in the past. Although we cannot pinpoint whether this is because of an increase in screenings, improved treatments or both, we can be certain that early detection makes for more effective treatments and consequently lowers mortality rates. In colorectal cancer for instance, symptoms may not manifest for years and by then it might be too late because the cancer has spread. Regular screening after 50 is the only way to find out sooner and increases a patient’s chances of getting better. Lack of health coverage or medical insurance or low income is one of the main reasons why people don’t get cancer screenings. The new Affordable Care Act makes many of these important preventive screenings more accessible. Recommended mammograms, colonoscopies and other cancer screenings will now be fully covered by medical insurance. Which means there is no deductible or co-payment involved (check your coverage with your insurance provider). This is a huge move by the government for Americans to take better care of their health and avoid illness or get timely intervention. Many patients are also afraid of the pain and discomfort associated with cancer screenings. This either prevents them from being screened or coming for follow ups. People will be less skeptical if they are informed about using anesthesia to reduce/eliminate pain. Patients are usually sedated to make colonoscopies more tolerable, and it is not uncommon to administer sedation for a breast MRI especially if the patient has claustrophobia. Having a breast biopsy (removal of breast tissue for cancer screening) also involves the use of anesthetics. Examiners have a variety of sedative options to ease patient discomfort during cancer screenings but propofol usage or Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) delivers the best results. It takes effect right away and has little or no side effects, promoting faster recovery. This is extremely important as more positive patient outcomes encourage people to come back for follow-ups. Besides, the presence of a certified anesthesiologist or CRNA monitoring patient’s well-being throughout the procedure is comforting for the person undergoing the procedure and ensures quality care from the medical service provider. Steel City Anesthesia offers licensed CRNAs for cancer screenings. We have extensive experience with colonoscopies. Since we assign local anesthesia providers on a regular basis, our staff becomes familiar with your working style, increasing patient flow significantly. Steel City…
Don’t let physicians or insurance companies make treatment decisions for you With the rising costs of medical services, insurance companies are reducing coverage and/or impinging on patients’ rights to make important healthcare choices. This is especially true with regard to anesthesia services. Whether you are a physician or anesthetist, patient safety is non-negotiable and cost should never be the deciding factor when it comes to sedation. Patients should be informed of their options (if there are any) and the consequences of each one. It’s up to them to decide what they want. Unfortunately, patients’ best interests are not the prime focus of some medical service providers or insurance companies. Therefore, patients must be made aware of discrepancies and deviations from procedure so that they can protect themselves and avoid unnecessary risks. One of the many issues surrounds propofol usage. Certified anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists are trained in propofol usage. This enables them to eliminate unnecessary risks and deal with problems effectively ensuring the patient’s well-being and quick recovery. If your physician, surgeon or office-based doctor is not licensed to administer propofol, he or she should not do so. It’s not only dangerous but also unlawful. Remember what happened to Michael Jackson? Physicians and insurance companies should not make treatment decisions, deviate from approved procedures, and/or make sedation choices for a patient. Several instances have come to light where doctors (not licensed anesthetists) are administering propofol anesthesia to their patients. This is extremely dangerous as in cases where patients are told it’s okay to have a light meal before the procedure (which requires anesthesia). This is certainly not okay! Some doctors or dentists don’t even provide for oxygen when the patient is under sedation. This is could be fatal as sedation reduces a patient’s ability to breathe. Moreover the physician or surgeon should really be focusing on his/her area of expertise to offer the best care rather than venture into an area in which he/she is not qualified. That is putting the patient’s life at risk. Also some insurance companies are discouraging propofol usage (or full sedation) unless the patient is in ‘the high risk category’. Insurance companies are not medically qualified to determine the type of sedation, who needs it, or who should provide anesthesia services. It has been proven that Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) is the quickest and safest form of sedation that also encourages faster recovery. Remember, anesthesiologists and CRNAs have specialized in anesthesia and are the best ones to administer sedation, monitor the patient throughout the process, and deal with any complications that may arise. After all, you wouldn’t ask a gastroenterologist to deliver a baby or a gynecologist to perform an endoscopy. Then why compromise on an anesthesia provider?! Michael Jackson’s untimely death is a classic example of unethical medical practices. His physician was not licensed or trained in propofol usage. Clearly, all patients are more comfortable when anesthesia professionals manage their sedation. And patient well-being and safety should be every doctor’s top priority. What do you think? Share your thoughts with us.
Don’t be party to unethical practices! Anesthesia services should always be administered and monitored by a certified anesthesiologist or CRNA. It’s the law. Failure to comply compromises patient health and safety, and doctors are liable. More importantly, no medical center or office-based physician should ever put a patient’s well-being at risk by not following ethical/approved procedures. Remember the Hippocratic Oath! However, there are some in the medical profession who don’t always make patient safety their top priority. And they are using the new anesthesia care model (anesthesia outsourcing) to exploit anesthesia providers and further their own ends, rather than provide more positive patient outcomes. It is important for anesthetists/CRNAs as well as patients to be aware of these malpractices that could have serious consequences on patient safety and healthcare integrity. There have been instances in which anesthesia service providers have been propositioned by healthcare facilities to offer kickbacks in return for that facility’s business. In one particular instance, an anesthesia service was asked for ‘something in return’ on a per case basis for being accepted as the anesthesia provider. Apparently the medical center and its physicians were billing under the anesthesia billing codes for the nursing sedation – with no anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist present and did not want to give up this charge. Also, they managed to find anesthetists who were willing to go along with their scheme. It is scary to know that they seem to be able to get away with this unethical practice! Under anesthesia services, the cost of propofol usage and anesthetist’s services are paid for by the patient or his/her insurance company. No surgical center or office-based physician has the right to ask anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists to give back something in return or be paid only a percentage of what is due to them. Be aware of these veiled kickbacks. The authorities overseeing medical care as well as the government have put systems in place to ensure best practices and reduce any risk to patient health. Being party to such schemes is tantamount to abuse of the healthcare profession and is considered a criminal activity. All anesthesia providers are certified either by the AANA or ASA and are well aware of the rules. Together we can work with relevant government agencies to preserve the integrity of the medical profession. Steel City Anesthesia is committed to best practices and patient safety. Share your thoughts or experiences on anesthesia partnerships.
Faced with rising healthcare costs and an increasing number of patient procedures, medical centers are concerned about scaling up their anesthesia department to address these needs. They ask themselves: How much will it cost us to hire additional anesthesia staff? Who will handle the anesthesia billing? What is our liability associated with doing it all in-house? Hiring an outside anesthesia services provider answers all of these questions If you are an office-based surgeon, ambulatory surgery center or hospital, you will be relieved to know that when outsourced, you don’t pay for anesthesia services! Since it is a service requested by the patient the cost is borne by him/her, the insurance company or the HMO. Anesthesia providers like Steel City Anesthesia are no cost to you. In fact, they can actually help you boost your revenue! The specific anesthesia care model you adopt (CRNA, physician anesthesiologist or an anesthesiologist supervising one or more CRNAs), will determine how much the patient pays. A recent study published in the May/June 2010 issue of the Journal of Nursing Economics revealed that using a solo CRNA for anesthesia delivery is the most cost-effective. Companies that provide anesthesia services have been using this model for years for exactly this reason. By hiring them, you will quickly gain all of the benefits without any of the administrative hassles. Who is liable? Don’t stress about liability either! Outsourced CRNAs and anesthetists are independent licensed medical professionals who are accountable for their practice. Did you know that anesthesia delivery is no longer the liability (and does not require supervision) of the medical center? It’s the anesthesia provider who is liable. If you’re concerned about reputation, working with an established anesthesia management company eliminates these concerns. Ensure that your outsourced anesthesia service only hires accredited and dedicated CRNAs/anesthetists. What about billing? Anesthesia billing can be confusing, but anesthesia accounting specialists navigate the complexities and make sure the paperwork is in order. You needn’t be concerned about paying the anesthesia providers either. That is the patient’s and their insurance company’s responsibility. Not only that, you have an additional medical person on your team for free! Do you have questions about anesthesia liability, payments and billing? Ask us on this blog.
In our previous blog posts we’ve mentioned how a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) improves the quality of healthcare services offered. Let’s discuss why having a CRNA is more of a necessity than an option if you want to increase patient safety, positive outcomes and revenue. What is a CRNA? A CRNA is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has acquired graduate-level education in anesthesia overseen by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist’s (AANA) Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). What this really means is that… Anesthesia providers are considered specialists and CRNAs are qualified to do the job. You know that it is illegal to have anesthesia administered by anyone who is not certified. CRNAs are independent licensed professionals who follow best practices and maintain high standards. They are accountable should anything go wrong. The liability is theirs… not yours. Their education is overseen by the AANA which provides all the necessary training to build a sound and safe practice. Having a CRNA means increased patient safety. A recent study on the “Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Anesthesia Providers,” published in the May/June 2010 issue of the Journal of Nursing Economics examined different anesthesia delivery models. The study included CRNAs, physician anesthesiologists acting solo, and a single anesthesiologist supervising one to six CRNAs. The findings were conclusive. AANA President James Walker said, “The data confirms that CRNAs deliver anesthesia safely and cost-effectively. With growing demands on the healthcare system nationwide, we must do all we can to make sure the nation’s healthcare professionals are used as effectively and efficiently as possible.” This reiterates what we’ve been saying, that CRNAs drive cost-efficiency and increase safety, improving your bottom line significantly. An established anesthesia management company like Steel City Anesthesia enhances productivity and patient flow by assigning local CRNAs on a routine basis. Your physicians get to know the person they are working with and our CRNAs understand your processes. Developing a complementary working style speeds up procedures and patient recovery. Plus we are very particular about who we hire. Our CRNAs are dedicated to delivering quality care to enhance your reputation and your practice. Do you have CRNAs on your medical team? Share your experience with us.
Can you think of a medical treatment that involves absolutely no pain and/or discomfort? Hard to think of any, right? Even a simple teeth cleaning by a dentist/hygienist can be uncomfortable if the patient is sensitive or needs advanced care. Pain management is an integral part of most patient procedures. Anesthesia outsourcing has improved patient comfort and safety across all streams of medical care. As a an office-based physician, ASC, or hospital, think of how many of your patients have hesitated or not come back for a follow up procedure because of the pain involved. This is probably a significant number. Anesthesia consultants can change that. They help build your reputation as a quality healthcare provider and boost your revenue. Satisfaction surveys reveal that outsourced anesthesia services facilitate enhanced healthcare services. They are able to provide clinically safe anesthesia for your growing number of patient procedures without compromising on patient comfort and care. Whether you’re looking for office-based anesthesia services or outpatient anesthesia, an established anesthesia management company is able to offer licensed CRNAs/anesthetists who are experienced in a wide range of procedures including Gynecology Dentistry Endoscopy Colonoscopy Urology Gastroenterology Positive patient outcomes with outsourced anesthesia care Anesthesia outsourcing ensures more positive patient outcomes irrespective of how complicated the procedure maybe. It is a proven fact that Monitored Anesthesia Care (MAC) is a more reliable and safe option than any other method of sedation. Qualified anesthetists monitor the patient’s condition during the entire procedure he/she is undergoing. This eliminates the need for an additional RN and ensures top quality medical care. These CRNAs and anesthesiologists are also trained to deal with complications which minimize unnecessary risks. In addition, MAC has lesser or no side effects. This is a significant advantage if you’re looking to reduce recovery times and increase service capabilities without driving up costs at your medical center. Pain-free procedures, increased patient safety and comfort, and shorter stays encourage people to seek follow up treatments. Are you already working with anesthesia consultants? Tell us the benefits of anesthesia partnerships that you’re enjoying.
The tremendous benefits of anesthesia outsourcing have led to an increased demand for anesthesia consultants. Many anesthesiologists/CRNAs are now looking to establish mutually beneficial anesthesia partnerships with hospitals, ASCs and office-based practices. And there are a number of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia anesthesia providers to choose from. However, if you’re considering switching to this new and successful anesthesia care model, make sure you have an established anesthesia management company to help you make a smooth and safe transition. How to choose an anesthesia provider? Make sure CRNAs/anesthetists are licensed and certified: Don’t compromise on patient safety. The anesthesia management company that you choose must show you proof of their qualifications. Look for smooth service delivery process: Successful anesthesia outsourcing follows a smooth process. Introducing office-based anesthesia services or adding to outpatient anesthesia services in a hospital/ASC is problem-free when you’re dealing with an experienced anesthesia management company. From assistance with setup and credentialing to offering reliable anesthesia providers and navigating complex anesthesia billing procedures, make sure everything will be taken care of. Examine the anesthesia management company’s track record: As with any other service, reputation and customer satisfaction are big indicators of what to expect. Ask around the medical community for names of anesthesia providers with a proven track record for consistency and top quality, clinically safe anesthesia services. Ask if they provide personalized service: Some anesthesia providers like Steel City Anesthesia LLC match their CRNAs/anesthetists to your procedural preferences and working style. Personalized service from anesthetists with local ties increases efficiency, drives more positive patient outcomes and ensures your satisfaction. Check if they accommodate special requests: Flexibility and willingness to accommodate special requests makes for valuable anesthesia partnerships. Having an anesthesia provider who shares your goals for increasing service capacity and quality is a great asset. Have additional requirements you’re searching for? Tell us what you’re looking for in an anesthesia provider. We’d love to hear from you on our blog!
Taking your medical care up a notch In our previous posts on the benefits of anesthesia outsourcing we’ve talked at length about how this new anesthesia care model generates more revenue. Here, we’d like to draw your attention to yet another one of its great advantages – improved patient care. Anesthesia consulting promotes efficiency, patient comfort and safety which greatly enhance the quality of healthcare your center can provide. Anesthesia consultants are valuable partners in top quality patient care More positive patient outcomes resulting from pain free procedures and increased patient comfort have a significant impact on the reputation of your ASC, hospital and/or office based practice. After all, if you were going under for a procedure, you’d be more favorably inclined towards a medical center that’s known for excellent patient care. An established anesthesia management company stresses on quality healthcare and clinically safe anesthesia. It also provides licensed CRNAs/anesthestists who minimize risks both pre and post-op. Having them as part of your medical team ensures smooth procedures and fewer complications which means faster recovery and greater patient satisfaction. That too at no extra cost! You will agree it’s a simple, cost-efficient way to build a stellar reputation for your medical practice. Anesthesia partnerships promote repeat procedures and referrals It’s no secret that a significant number of follow-up procedures are determined by the patient’s previous experience. The same goes for referrals. Think about it, how many of us are likely to go back or recommend a relative or friend if we’ve suffered pain and discomfort (or a complication) during a previous treatment? Anesthesia outsourcing increases your chances of providing a more pleasant experience for your patients. Whether it’s a colonoscopy, endoscopy or pediatric dentistry a pain-free procedure guarantees increased patient comfort and builds patient trust. It’s a benefit you can’t ignore. Tell us how an anesthesia partnership has helped your medical center.
Considering a switch to outsourced anesthesia but not sure how it will work for you? Partnering with an experienced anesthesia management company will help you avoid problems during the transition process. While you may be tempted to go with an independent anesthesia consultant, you’ve got to make sure that your anesthesia services company is licensed and qualified in order to reduce your liabilities and patient risks. A trusted anesthesia management company makes the shift to an anesthesia care model smooth and stress-free. They provide valuable assistance with obtaining important accreditations from the State Department of Health as well as approval from insurance providers, if needed They navigate the complex world of anesthesia billing… you don’t They take care of credentialing requirements for their CRNAs/anesthetists which ensures quality service They will match anesthesia providers to your physician’s working style and procedural preferences. They will also try to assign the same CRNA/anesthetist (often located in your community) whenever possible. They will work to improve patient flow, care and comfort which translates into more procedures and increased revenue They burden all of the liability and a reliable anesthesia management company has more than adequate coverage An anesthesia management company is an excellent resource for improving patient flow and delivering positive patient outcomes that you can take advantage of at no extra cost to you. Would you make the move to anesthesia outsourcing if you had reliable anesthesia consultants to work with? Tell us what you think.
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