An urban medical center in the Midwest was experiencing turmoil in its Anesthesia department. The organization was employing too many anesthesiologists, and as a result, individual productivity among this group of physicians was low. In addition, strained relationships between anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) were making it difficult for the medical center to recruit needed additional CRNAs. Amid this problematic environment, the medical center was struggling to incorporate anesthesiologists and CRNAs as an entity distinct from the medical center, in order to provide appropriate compensation for CRNAs.

CRAFTING A SOLUTION

Compass Clinical Consulting provided an interim Director of Anesthesia to help ease tensions and lead the department while a corporation of CRNAs and Anesthesiologists was formed. The interim Director served as a liaison between nurses and doctors, improving physician/nurse relations and helping both groups to understand the medical center’s efforts. In addition, the interim Director assessed the operations of the medical center’s remote surgery centers to identify opportunities for increased productivity.

SEEING THE RESULTS

As a result of the interim Director’s assessments, a number of surgery centers were eliminated, as were 5 physician positions. By streamlining the Anesthesia department and decreasing remote locations, the medical center was able to increase anesthesiologist productivity and save money. Furthermore, improved physician/nurse relations led to better treatment of CRNAs and a greater sense of teamwork within the department. Consequently the medical center experienced a much greater level of success in recruiting CRNAs. This allowed the organization to hire fewer physicians, saving money while still providing high-quality care. The organization’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources commented on the work of this interim Director and her Compass colleagues. 

“As a Fortune 100 ‘Best Company to Work For,’ our requirements are quite high. We believe in exceptional leadership, cost management, clinical quality, associate relations, [and] physician relations. Every interim who has worked with us from Compass has contributed to our outcomes … They have really adopted our mission; they’ve adopted our values; they’ve adopted our goals. It’s been a tremendous partnership.”

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