Successful first year solidifies group’s belief that future-minded, collaborative members are key to success without corporate management or big-bank backing in the rapidly changing health care market .
Allied Anesthesia announced today that its first year as a consolidated medical group was a success. The group formed in Jan. last year by way of a merger with Fullerton Anesthesia Associates and Upland Anesthesia Medical Group, which effectively consolidated anesthesia services for three of the five Southern California St. Joseph Health System ministry hospitals—St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, St. Jude’s in Fullerton and St. Mary’s Hospital in Apple Valley. The merger also consolidated services to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), Hoag Orthopedic Institute, San Antonio Regional Hospital and numerous ambulatory surgery centers in Southern California.
The consolidation actualized a main goal of Allied Anesthesia’s most intensive strategic planning review to date. The independent group initiated the review process in 2013 to remain competitive in a market moving rapidly toward population health management, value-based payment models and the perioperative surgical home.
Allied Anesthesia Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer George Kanaly, PhD, said, “We recognized that to have peer standing with the various hospitals, health systems, and major insurance companies all merging and consolidating in their own right, we’d have to become a more substantive group by expanding in both size and physician affiliates but also geographically.”
Kanaly said that, according to observable trends, the group’s assessment of the market has proven accurate, and Allied attributes last year’s success to the forward-thinking approach they’ve taken to planning.
“In 2013 we conducted a very comprehensive assessment of the many changes occurring in health care in general and the anesthesia specialty, specifically,” Kanaly said. “Through this process, we realized that to stay out of the reactive mode, we’d need to operate as flexible futurists, constantly working to assess and refine the action plan that best suits the rapidly changing health care services environment.”
Kanaly also said the group identified and addressed a “fear mongering” he claims has grown pervasive in the industry in recent years. “Just like the consolidation in the multi-specialty arena in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, anesthesiologists are being told that, in order to succeed, they need to sell their practices to the large management companies that have emerged to consolidate the specialty.” He believes the investment banking community and large anesthesia management companies created this fear and have used it to successfully convince many anesthesia practice physician-owners they are not capable of surviving independently in the evolving health care marketplace.
Anesthesiologist and President/CEO of Allied Anesthesia Dr. Kaveh Matin said the group’s physicians do not subscribe to that line of thinking. “We believe that physicians practicing in the specialty absolutely know what’s best. And we believe we possess the necessary business acumen to create a service model that is responsive to the emerging requirements of population health management,” he said.
Last year’s merger, Matin said, was evidence of that business acumen. “The plan was that this merger would uniquely position the group for continued growth and operations with greatly enhanced capacity for service to our patients, surgeons, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Over the past year, I’m pleased to say we’ve been seeing that plan come to fruition in a significant way.”
Immediately following the merger, one of the health systems Allied Anesthesia works with asked the group to assume a leadership role in creating sustainable regional clinical and other initiatives to enhance patient care and identify the best clinical practices. “We’d already been engaged in this activity, because it was one of the core reasons for the merger in the first place,” Kanaly said. “Having our skill in this area recognized and relied upon by hospital executives is an extremely valuable outcome of our merger. It enhances the overall fund of clinical information and knowledge and creates a platform for dialogue and coordination among physicians and surgeons, which ultimately results in enhanced patient care, better coordination of resources and reduced costs of care.”
To mark its first year, Allied Anesthesia recently designed a new website. Kanaly also reported that, last year, the group solidified its existing health insurance plan contracts, gained several additional contracts and earned status as the anesthesiology group with the greatest number of pediatric board certified anesthesiologists in the nation.
“We’ve successfully completed our first year of operations during which the three formerly independent groups came together and began to integrate under jointly created agreements, policies and procedures, clinical care standards and best practices,” Kanaly said. “We’re now working to create a new organizational culture together.”
About Allied Anesthesia: With over 100 highly qualified physician anesthesiologists on staff, Allied Anesthesia provides adult and pediatric anesthesia services to St. Joseph Hospital of Orange, CHOC Children’s Hospital, St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland, St. Mary’s Hospital in Apple Valley and many other Southern California health care facilities. In 2014, Allied Anesthesia joined with Fullerton Anesthesia Associates and Upland Anesthesia Medical Group to consolidate best practices in more than six hospitals and more than a dozen ambulatory surgery centers. The expanded medical practice is dedicated to offering the highest comprehensive quality of care and the most cost-effective procedures in all facilities they serve. All Allied physician anesthesiologists are board certified in Anesthesiology and they staff and manage the most efficient operating rooms in Southern California. Allied is a member of the California Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Anesthesia Quality Institute.