Did you know . . .

  • Posted By: Garry Brydges - President, DNP, MBA, ACNP-BC, CRNA , FAAN
  • May 10, 2019
Garry Brydges, President“Private employer-sponsored health plans paid hospitals 241 percent of Medicare prices, on average, for the same services at the same hospitals in 2017,” according to a RAND Health Study of prices across 25 states.

While the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission indeed says hospitals’ aggregate Medicare margin in 2017 was negative 9.9 percent, economists and other researchers have argued that the cost of care is not set in stone. An April JAMA study by Stanford University researchers noted that “the high cost of caring for Medicare enrollees relative to reimbursement rates is a direct result of hospitals investing in property, facilities, equipment and services.” (Livingston, 2019) 

This is an area of healthcare economics impacting the overall profession which CRNAs must continue to focus attention on. The RAND Health Study on pricing is one more element CRNAs can use to better position themselves in the growing market of healthcare delivery competition.

BIG News: Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force

In case you missed the blast email on Thursday, May 9, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force: Updates, Gaps, Inconsistencies, and Recommendations Final Report was published on May 9 and the outcome for CRNAs is exceptional. Again, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to Bruce Schoneboom, PhD, CRNA, FAAN who served on the 29-member Task Force and advocated tirelessly for our profession, and to the AANA Federal Government Affairs team for its guidance, expertise, and extraordinary advocacy efforts to ensure that the final report accurately reflects CRNA and anesthesiologist training and roles in pain management. The final report can be viewed here. The sections of the report that are of particular interest to CRNAs were too numerous to highlight in the blast email. However, while the AANA completes its analysis of the entire final report, I encourage you to pay particular attention to section I Introduction (pages 15-19) and section 2.4 Interventional Procedures (pages 37-42) for some of the report’s highlights.  We are pleased that the final report recognizes all providers who deliver pain management services, including CRNAs.

Congratulations to all the new Nurse Anesthetists

It is graduation time, and I want to say congratulations to all our new graduates who will be completing their certification in the coming weeks. Welcome to one of the greatest professions in healthcare delivery! You are the future of the nurse anesthesia profession. The profession will be looking to you to help drive innovation. One of the easiest ways to help innovate is to participate. Participate in your state and national associations, which will help you develop leadership skills and provide the tools to enable our profession to grow. Again, congratulations to you!

President Speaks about Surprise Billing

President Speaks about Surprise Billing

In a May 9 press conference, President Trump announced his administration’s plan to deal with surprise medical bills through contract reforms, such as barring hospital contracts with physicians who aren't in the same insurance networks. Flanked by members of Congress and former patients who shared stories on their experiences with surprise billing, the president addressed several key principles he hopes with guide a bipartisan agreement to deal with this hot issue. The principles include:

• Prohibiting surprise or balance billing in the case of emergency services.
• Requiring up-front billing in non-emergency cases, providing consumers with billing information for all procedures 
• Prohibiting surprise or balance bills for out of network services that a patient did not personally select.

According to Modern Healthcare, “the president's position is a strong, sharp statement to industry. Insurers and hospitals have been fighting for the lightest possible touch when it comes to the issue, clashing with policy analysts over the scope of the policy fix.”

The AANA continues to monitor legislation and regulation regarding surprise billing both in Congress and the administration.