It was a Mardi Gras of a time in New Orleans at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ annual conference, Anesthesiology 2022. It was so nice to see all the smiling faces and hear more about the challenges anesthesiologists are faced with today. We’ve highlighted the most talked about topics below from Anesthesiology 2022:
The shortage: It seemed that everyone was there to recruit; hospitals, private anesthesiology practices and staffing firms. There were several news alerts this past year with certain hospitals having to close ORs citing an anesthesiology staffing shortage. This issue is complex and there are many factors driving the shortage. The Anesthesiology News highlighted some of these challenges in the October 31, 2022; issue: Looming Anesthesiologist Shortage Fuels High Market Demand Looming Anesthesiologist Shortage Fuels High Market Demand – Anesthesiology News.
We spoke with several residents at the conference that were beginning their job search and below are a few things they are considering in their decision-making process:
- Compensation and signing bonus
- Schedule flexibility
- Partnership track
- Vacation time
- Culture of the group/department
The No Surprises Act: This is a topic Fusion Anesthesia Solutions addressed a few times this year; you can read those blogs here Blog – Anesthesia Billing Services | Fusion Anesthesia Solutions.
We spoke with private anesthesia practice groups that were unsuccessful in their attempts to negotiate with payers and become “in network” service providers to avoid the convoluted Independent Dispute Resolution process. Payers have no incentive to contract with these providers and hold all the cards when it comes to determining the Qualified Payment Amount. The ASA is one of three medical associations that filed an Amicus Brief in support of a second lawsuit filed by the Texas Medical Association challenging the Act (Medical groups support No Surprises Act lawsuit | Healthcare Finance News). We will continue to monitor the affects of the NSA on anesthesiology and publish in future posts, as warranted.
The Cuts: There were discussions surrounding the potential for a decrease in the Medicare anesthesia conversation factor and Quality Payment Program changes and how those changes would affect their practice. On November 1, 2023, CMS released its Calendar Year (2023) Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule, and as expected, anesthesia revenue will take a hit (again). CMS has finalized significant cuts to the anesthesia and RBRVS conversion factors (CF) for CY 2023. The 2023 finalized anesthesia CF is $20.6097, representing a decrease of 4.42% from the 2022 anesthesia CF of $21.5623. The 2023 finalized RBRVS CF is $33.0607, representing a decrease of 4.47% from the 2022 RBRVS CF of $34.6062. Read the ASA’s full press release here CMS Provides Little Relief for Anesthesia Groups in Release of 2023 Payment Rules | American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) (asahq.org).
By: Jeanette Mini, Vice President at Fusion Anesthesia Solutions
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