Owning and operating an independent physician group has never been easy, but in the last decade or so, the complexity of the challenges has grown considerably. Between increasing government regulations, declining reimbursement, and stringent quality initiatives, maintaining a thriving practice is no small feat.
The answer for my group, Sacramento Anesthesia Medical Group (SAMG), and many others is to affiliate with a large integrated acute care organization
to navigate those changes. In today’s post, I’ll describe my anesthesia group’s decision to join Vituity this past August in order to position us for the future.
Five Decades of Success
SAMG has a long history in the community of Sacramento, Calif. We began in 1953, when a small group of individual doctors formed a partnership. We incorporated in the 1980s. Today, we have 20–25 anesthesiologists and seven certified registered nurse anesthetists.
Our practice is highly regarded for its cardiac anesthesia expertise. We primarily work at Dignity Health’s Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, which is nationally recognized for the quality of its heart and vascular services. We provide anesthesia services for everything from traditional coronary artery bypass grafts, aortic valve and mitral valve replacement, and electrophysiology procedures, to more cutting-edge techniques such as TAVR, or transcatheter aortic valve replacement, which replaces the aortic valve without having to perform open heart surgery.
SAMG also provides outpatient anesthesia services and perioperative care for Mercy General Hospital, as well as two ambulatory surgery centers.
As anesthesia professionals, my colleagues and I pride ourselves on our commitment to quality and collaboration. Both the quality of our people and the services we provide are high priorities for us. We also take a collaborative approach to all of the departments we work with at Mercy General because we know that a comprehensive team approach to care results in the best outcomes.
Over the pasts few years, we were concerned that external forces were making it increasingly difficult
to remain independent. As a successful single-specialty practice, we understood the market was changing and wanted to ensure we remained relevant and poised to succeed. That’s when we began to look for a collaborative partner with multispecialty expertise.
Looking to the Future
When we began talking seriously with Vituity about affiliation, it quickly became clear that the things that are important to SAMG are important to them as well.
Joining Vituity was an important decision made easier by an immediate sense of culture fit. As partners in a national organization, we have a fantastic opportunity to tap into a large knowledge base where we can apply solutions to better meet the needs of our patients. When we need a solution to improve efficiencies within the care continuum, we now have a family of Partners on our side.
Our decision was also made easier because we were familiar with Vituity long before we were looking to join the Partnership. Vituity have managed and staffed Mercy General’s emergency department for several years and also staff many other hospitals across the Dignity Health system. We’re excited to collaborate with our Vituity emergency medicine partners to advance innovation in anesthesia and care integration at Mercy General.
Access to practice management services, such as billing and compliance support and data collection and analysis, will free us up to spend less time on paperwork and more time doing what we do best: caring for patients.
The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship
While still in its infancy, I believe that our collaboration will lead to bigger and better things for both Vituity and Dignity Health. Vituity is preparing to roll out a regional cardiac program in the South San Francisco Bay Area. With SAMG’s established cardiac anesthesia program, we hope to serve as a resource in the development of this program.
And of course, we hope the partnership will maintain a positive practice environment for us, where we can enjoy practicing medicine and continue doing what’s best for our patients and our hospital.Originally published Oct. 10, 2017.