CSA understands that California anesthesiology groups need practice management resources now more than ever, and help is on the way.
At the CSA Board of Directors meeting on March 10-11 in San Francisco, the Board voted unanimously to create a new standing Committee on Practice Management, to be headed by Keith Chamberlin, MD, MBA.
Attendees at the 2017 ASA Practice Management meeting in January were lucky enough to hear Dr. Chamberlin speak on the topic of sharing practice data with patients and the public as a new way of measuring – and publicizing – the value of your work as a physician anesthesiologist. He has written an article on the same topic which you’ll see in our upcoming CSA annual report, Vital Times 2016. Dr. Chamberlin is an expert on alternative payment models, accountable care organizations (ACOs), and MACRA.
Now Dr. Chamberlin has accepted the challenge of heading our expanded efforts to provide educational and online resources on practice management for CSA members, and to support the advocacy and regulatory work needed to safeguard California anesthesia practices.
“Practice management isn’t sexy and political,” Dr. Chamberlin says. “However, it is the lifeblood of anesthesia practices – how to stay successful in an adversarial political environment.”
Also at the Board meeting, the Committee on Leadership Development and Nominations (CoLDaN) announced nominees for offices in the upcoming 2017-18 year. Sam Wald, MD, MBA, was nominated as the CSA’s next President-elect. As Dr. Wald will be vacating his post as Chair of the Educational Programs Division, the Committee nominated Ronald Pearl, MD, PhD, to fill that position. Dr. Pearl is currently Professor and Chairman of Stanford’s Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine. Congratulations to Drs. Wald and Pearl!
The CSA’s other officers were nominated to continue in their current positions for another term with these exceptions:
The Committee nominated ten CSA members for new terms to represent CSA at the ASA House of Delegates: Drs. Lee-lynn Chen, Adrian Gelb, Philip Levin, Edward Mariano, Rima Matevosian, Jeff Poage, Shalini Shah, Karen Sibert, Peter Sybert, and Mark Zakowski. A slate of alternate delegates was also named.
Elections for all open positions will be held at the CSA House of Delegates in June. Any CSA member in good standing may self-nominate for any open office; please contact the CSA office for further information. Information about candidates for any contested office will be posted online as soon as it is available, along with statements from the candidates.
Our legislative initiatives
Jeff Poage MD, chair of the CSA Legislative and Practice Affairs Division (LPAD), and chief lobbyist Bryce Docherty outlined CSA’s legislative initiatives, current and future. During this legislative season, we will be closely watching and helping to support AB 224 (Thurmond), which is intended to improve the safety of pediatric dental anesthesia.
CSA leaders have testified several times before the Dental Board of California, and most recently testified before the Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development about the dangerous practice of performing a dental procedure and supervising anesthesia at the same time (the “single operator-anesthetist” model).
We are continuing to monitor the implementation of AB 72, which passed last year with the goal of decreasing surprise “out-of-network” bills for patients. However, as anticipated, the passage of AB 72 has removed incentives for insurers to negotiate fair contracts with anesthesiology groups. We are monitoring this situation closely, working with the California Department of Insurance, and stand ready to assist anesthesiology groups who receive unfair treatment in contract negotiations.
Though we had hoped to sponsor a new bill this year to allow licensure of Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants (CAAs) in California, we reluctantly reached the decision to postpone the bill until next year. At that time, our work on AB 224 should be completed, and we will have the full resources of our volunteer leaders and our lobbying team to devote to the CAA effort.
Our healthy bottom line
CSA’s Treasurer, Judi Turner, MD, PhD, presented the budget for the upcoming year, subject to approval by the House of Delegates in June. She recommended changing the financial reporting year to the calendar year rather than the current July-to-June fiscal year. This change was approved by the Board, as it will make record-keeping much easier by aligning the financial reporting year with the membership renewal cycle.
Careful stewardship has enabled CSA to enjoy a positive revenue balance. However, donations to our political action committee, GASPAC, have fallen since the advent of unified billing with ASA. We have started an intensive fund-raising campaign for GASPAC, as funds are critical to the implementation of our legislative agenda this year and every year. The Board approved the transfer of approximately $49,000 to GASPAC as an immediate measure to sustain our advocacy efforts. Other avenues to increase GASPAC funds are being evaluated.