Anesthesia Services: Weaker is better
To succeed an anesthesia service must have the right chemistry. This is true for any organization, but anesthesia groups have done things wrong for so long that "group think" is a major problem.
Anesthesia professionals in a group will discuss the same issues over and over again until they all start to think alike or have taken fixed positions that seem immutable. There is very little or no diversity of ideas. We have put processes into place that make change difficult or impossible.
The best example is the need for contractual relationships between facilities, anesthesia groups, and anesthesia professionals. We have memorialized group think into legal documents and developed organizations that require active management to remain merely functional. The inertia in the typical anesthesia group, often evidenced by its operating agreement, can make change difficult, if not impossible. These groups become sitting ducks for anesthesia management companies ("AMCs") and physician practice management companies ("PPMCs") in the current environment.
Management service organizations (MSOs) offer a better solution. By fostering "weak" relationships of MSOs with locally owned anesthesia groups, several things are accomplished:
- Anesthesia groups remain locally owned and operated,
- The MSO's managements skills are available to its members,
- By lowering member groups' overhead using economies of scale, the MSO improves financial performance of each group,
- There is a diversity of ideas and new ideas exchanged between the MSO's management, groups, and groups members,
- Groups exposed to new ideas from similar organizations are more likely to make changes to improve operational or financial performance, and
- MSO affiliated locally owned anesthesia groups are better stewards of anesthesia services than distant for-profit companies
A properly formatted MSO should be able to out perform AMCs and PPMCs every time.
It is all about chemistry. From your freshman chemistry remember that the "weak" hydrogen bonds give water molecules its unique characteristics and are much more important than the "strong" covalent bond between hydrogen and oxygen. The bonds between an MSO and its member organizations may seem "weak" to some, but they are much more likely to provide results that facilities, groups, and group members find important.
Take Home Points:
- A properly formatted MSO should be able to out perform AMCs and PPMCs every time.
- By lowering member groups' overhead using economies of scale, the MSO improves the financial performance of each group.
- The bonds between an MSO and its member groups may seem "weak" to some, but these weak bonds are much more likely to provide results that facilities, groups, and group members find important.