Challenge Facing Anesthesia Management Choices – “We are the They” (Part 1 of 4)

Anesthesia Blog March 2015

Opportunities arise daily where facilities can improve the management of anesthesia care.  The passage of the Affordable Care Act may appear to have resulted in “affordable care” for everyone, but for hospitals, surgery facilities or healthcare practices, it has created more challenges than many believed it would.  The game has changed from clear standards to blurred lines consisting of regulatory issues that make the possibility of being compliant more and more difficult.  When this happens, facilities look towards third party solutions to help make sense of it all.

But for any managed service organization, or MSO as they are more commonly referred to, the art of serving up expertise to help provide a service to these facilities comes with inherent challenges.  And unlike providing anesthesia care to facilities, these concerns are not unique to each location.  Every location seems to have the same four challenges that Anesthesia Management Service Organizations need to refute.

Are we giving away our, “secret sauce?” No.  At SCA, we aim to better the entire anesthesia industry as a whole by sharing our knowledge and expertise with those who can benefit from it the most.  We hope that this four part blog series will do just that.

This first of this four part series is entitled, “We are the They.”  It may sound awkward but keep reading…it will make sense.

Recently, an opportunity presented itself at a local medical facility.  As discussions continued, it became clear that turnover was starting to be an issue for them.  The morale of the team was one that centered around fear of attrition rather than confidence in job security.  This is brings us to the first challenge anesthesia MSO’s face: keeping current staffing.

As with any change, attrition is bound to happen, however, retention of current staff hovers just above 90%, nationally.  The last thing any management company would do in any organization, from a strategic standpoint, is to replace the most valuable resource the facility has: the locations’ talented team members.  Maintaining a strong team is the first action in achieving success.  The current team members at the facility basically become a part of the newly partnered MSO…hence, “We are the they.”

But there is much more that goes into making sure the new partnership is satisfying the needs of the facility.  For example, it is critical that while an MSO traditionally plans to maintain the actual people on staff to perform the daily operations, there has to be a comfort level with the corporate structure of the MSO.

Like any third-party partnership, there are nuances to how the vendor operates and what the corporate goals are that they hope to achieve.  Whether they are publicly traded or privately held, there are investors and owners they must answer to based on their performance. While businesses are tasked to make money, it is imperative to find an MSO who has a proven track record of delivering the highest quality of patient care and anesthesia services.  The expression, “A Jack of all trades and a Master of none,” could never be truer when it comes to anesthesia MSO’s.  Find an MSO that is dedicated and focused on anesthesia, not a multitude of consulting based healthcare initiatives.  This focus and the benefits of it can usually be seen in satisfactory ratings, surveys of patients and their facilities as well as a dedicated investment into their own company.  If they are not investing in themselves, why should a facility or hospital invest in them?

Another checkpoint to see if “you” want to be a part of the “they,” is how the company is managed.  Aside from anesthesia being at the core of their expertise, other areas that should be investigated is how they manage quality and safety concerns, how they handle reporting or measuring their successes as well as checking their references.  Be sure that any anesthesia MSO provides solid references and, most importantly, contacts of facilities that look, feel, act and operated just like your facility.

Any facility looking to partner with an MSO is making a bold statement when they enter into an agreement with a third-party.  They are publicly decreeing that their healthcare facility is vouching for this third-party as an extension of their brand, team and organization.  There couldn’t be a greater showing of support by a facility making this statement.

When deciding amongst experienced MSO options available for a facility, finding a blend of staffing, capabilities, reporting and trust, will ensure the best possible care is the most important benefit that is experienced from the partnership.  Once the partnership is entered into, there is not more “us” and “them.”  “You” are now the “they.”