First, hospital leadership should realize that when a hospital awards an exclusive anesthesia provider contract, they have given the group an awesome opportunity to earn a great income. It’s all about doing something that they should be professionally passionate about, and that is providing safe and compassionate care for their patients. There is a wise old saying, “Find something that you love to do, and you will never work a day in your life.” For most providers, healthcare is as much about a calling to serve others as it is a vocation.
Provider groups that have been awarded exclusive hospital anesthesia contracts should realize that there are certain expectations and responsibilities that come with their contracts. Contracts are meant to build a mutually beneficial partnership between the hospital and the provider group. There are number of issues that have stressed the partnership between some hospitals and their anesthesia provider groups, such as regulatory and reimbursement pressure from federal, state and voluntary regulatory agencies, and third-party payers. The hospital industry has responded to these issues by adopting the following mantra of the Triple Aim – (i) improving patient care, (ii) improving the patient experience and (iii) reducing cost. The institutional drive to accomplish the Triple Aim has at times driven an economic wedge between historically good partnership relationships between the hospital and their anesthesia provider groups. Repairing and revitalizing the partnership between hospitals and their anesthesia partners takes both sides making concessions and working together to address the issues around quality and cost of patient care.
Premier, through its national anesthesia consulting services and its national network of anesthesia partnerships (hospital contracts), has identified five (5) partnership qualities that hospital C-Suite leadership teams want from their anesthesia provider group. They are the following:
Your anesthesia provider should have a hospital-centric culture of service: Hospitals want their anesthesia partner to consider first how they can best serve their hospital stakeholders – patients, families, surgeons, perioperative staff, etc. – putting quality patient care first.
Anesthesia provider groups should be strategic partners with the hospital: Anesthesia groups must first consider how they can best help the hospital succeed and flourish, then align incentives to ensure that what’s good for the hospital is good for the group. This strategic alignment of shared goals greatly improves the relationship between hospital and vendor.
The anesthesia team should be a positive catalyst for changes that support the hospital’s service agenda: Anesthesia groups need to be constantly exploring new ways to more effectively utilize anesthesia resources and to achieve better clinical and economic performance outcomes for the hospital. Anesthesia groups must become active change agents to support their hospitals.
The providers of the anesthesia team should create the right customer service experience for all hospital stakeholders: patients, families, surgeons and hospital staff. Anesthesia groups must work at intentionally creating the right stakeholder experience outcomes and document successful experiences for their hospitals.
Provider groups should be clinically, operationally and financially transparent. Anesthesia groups need to monitor operational outcomes and performance and hold themselves accountable for their actions by reporting outcomes monthly to hospital executive leaders. Full disclosure should be a non-negotiable requirement.