Outsourcing Anesthesia Services – What’s Legal and What’s Not

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.