Anesthesia Win-Win: Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas

When surgeons know they can rely on strong OR coverage, they are confident when they schedule patients’ surgeries. At Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, surgeons have renewed confidence, now that Premier Anesthesia has revamped the anesthesia practice.

Previously, administrators and physicians continually struggled with the anesthesiology group. The hospital’s Executive Vice President and Administrator Mark Bever says the difference now is night and day: “With our previous anesthesia provider group, the first reaction I experienced any time anesthesia was mentioned was anxiety, dread, and always extremely, extremely cautious.” Bever says the perception expressed by surgeons and hospital staff regarding the focus of the previous anesthesia group was “to get as much as one could for oneself, while doing the very least possible, and go home as early as possible.” That’s, of course, no way to run an OR. “With Premier it’s the exact opposite. They understand who the customers are and take great care to serve the customers qualitatively, professionally and conveniently,” Bever says.

Physicians have reconnected with the hospital, citing a new ease in scheduling cases when they need them done. The hospital staff also finds it easier to work with the new anesthesia group, which reduces anxiety. Sheryl Davis, the Director of Surgical Services, says, “Both the hospital and Premier are working together and headed in the right direction to grow and support surgical services and the anesthesia needs of the patients.” The new staffing model allows more cases to be performed later in the day at a lower cost. The clinicians — physicians and CRNAs — say it is less taxing to get the cases done daily.

Bever says, “the budget suggests a significant improvement financially, alongside a noticeable qualitative improvement related to patient flow and timeliness of care. That’s a double win from my perspective.”

As part of the improvement, Bever cites a focus on expansion of services and ease of performing cases, as well as fewer complaints from surgeons and staff about anesthesia not being able to get cases done.

“Today anesthesia brings a very positive reaction, a feeling of collegiality and reassurance that overall the right thing is being done for the right reason because the focus is where it is supposed to be,” Bever says. “Premier actually brings ideas to me, making suggestions about how to improve the service for everyone. Quite a change from my days of struggle just to get the basics considered, much less done. I am very hopeful for the future. “

Davis agrees: “Working with Premier has been a very positive experience. The onsite Medical Director is responsive and collegial always keeping the patient’s welfare at the forefront of all that he does.”

Mutual trust and respect, along with Premier’s expertise — including more physician extenders who can work under the medical direction of a supervising physician — have resulted in smoother operations and cost savings. And many surgeons have expressed greater confidence in the facility’s ability to do their cases, no longer mentioning anesthesia as a “limiting factor.”

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