2018 was a whirlwind at Allied Anesthesia and we’ve already hit the ground running in 2019. Our highlights for the year include:
- Adding five surgery centers to our partners (we now provide anesthesia services at a total of 32 different locations)
- Treating a record number of cases: about 111,000
- Bringing on highly skilled new team members
- Providing top-notch care to our patients across southern California (as always)
2018 also came with its challenges, in particular Assembly Bill 72. The bill, which the California legislature passed in September 2016, was designed to eliminate patients’ “surprise medical bills” for out-of-network care. For example, if a patient goes to an in-network facility for care but receives treatment from an out-of-network doctor, they could be billed later for that doctor’s fees.
Of course, we fully support the thinking behind this legislation. As a medical group that partners with many hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, one of our highest priorities is ensuring that patients are not billed separately for our anesthesia services. We feel strongly that patients should not shoulder the burden for out-of-network services they receive as part of covered treatment.
Unfortunately, the implementation of this bill hasn’t been this straightforward—in fact, it’s been deeply flawed. It doesn’t just eliminate surprise bills for patients (which is undoubtedly a good thing)—it gives large insurance companies with lots of resources even more leeway to take advantage of small, specialty practices like Allied Anesthesia.
By allowing insurance companies to severely limit how much reimbursement they provide to specialized, out-of-network doctors, it’s no wonder that insurance companies fully supported AB 72—while our peers in the medical industry strongly opposed it.
One of our primary goals for 2019 is to work with the authors of AB 72 to make them aware of the unintended consequences of this legislation. Ultimately, we want to help them find a solution that protects patients from unexpected costs and enables us to continue bringing in exceptionally talented physicians to provide the highest quality care to our patients.
That’s just one of the many things we plan to accomplish in 2019:
- Establish new partnerships. We currently work with many renowned hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, including Hoag, CHOC Children’s, St. Jude’s, St. Joseph’s, and more. We’re look forward to collaborating with all of our existing partners and some new ones in the new year.
- Continue to add to our team. We’re looking forward to another successful recruitment season where we can bring on 6-10 more talented doctors
- Expand our role. We’re looking forward to expanding our role in the perioperative process as we use multimodal therapies to decrease cancellations and improve efficiency in the operating room.
- Decrease opioid use. Opioids are extremely useful in treating severe pain, but they come with many complications. We’ll be limiting our use of opioids through intraoperative nerve blocks and administering other types of medications that affect pain pathways.
- Continue to provide exceptional care to our adult and pediatric patients. It will come as no surprise to our patients that this is always our top priority.