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Affected Physicians

Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants (SAC) is a large multi-disciplinary anesthesiology practice based in Charlotte.  All of our physicians are board-certified or board-eligible, some in multiple specialties, and many are fellowship trained. We offer highly specialized anesthesia services including cardiovascular, critical care, neurological, pediatric, trauma, obstetric, orthopedic, transplant and acute/chronic pain, on a 24-hour basis at numerous Atrium Health facilities.

Our practice has invested heavily in the development of clinical quality initiatives that have enabled us to achieve benchmarks for ICU admissions and case complications well-below national averages, resulting in improved patient outcomes AND healthcare cost savings. In fact, we were recently informed of an increase in our 2018 Medicare reimbursement levels due to our exemplary quality and cost effectiveness results.

For 37 years, SAC has served Carolinas Healthcare System – now Atrium Health — by delivering the depth and breadth of services necessary to meet the increasingly sophisticated demands of its flagship Carolinas Medical Center and Atrium Health’s other hospitals. We have been an energetic partner in this ongoing work, which has delivered tremendous benefit to both organizations and the hundreds of thousands of patients both organizations serve. This includes working with Atrium Health to implement enhanced recovery after surgery protocols, resulting in one of SAC’s anesthesiologists being named the first U.S. anesthesiologist to be designated as a “Physician of Excellence” by the ERAS® Society.

Atrium Health recently shared plans to adopt a radically different way of delivering anesthesia services at its hospitals and ancillary facilities, based on a greater reliance on Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs).  Anesthesiologists would supervise CRNAs at significantly higher ratios than under the existing medical direction model.  Atrium Health’s model also includes situations where CRNAs would function alone without anesthesiologist supervision.

While we believe in allowing our CRNA colleagues to perform at the top of their licenses, this proposal sets a dangerous precedent by allowing a corporation, specifically Atrium Health, to set standards for practicing medicine versus clinicians determining what is best for their patients’ care. We believe that these actions could seriously jeopardize patient safety and the ability to deliver optimal outcomes.

The new model may also have other far-reaching and negative implications for medical practitioners including:

  • Reducing the availability of sub-specialized anesthesiologists
  • Making it more difficult to recruit and retain top-notch medical talent to the state
  • Likely increasing legal liability exposure for medical facilities and practitioners such as surgeons and proceduralists
  • Threatening the economic livelihood of area anesthesiologists, since the model calls for a 25% reduction in the number of full-time anesthesiologists

Why Is This Relevant to You?

If you live and work in communities served by Atrium Health, patient safety could be at risk under the new model.

Given Atrium Health’s dominant and aggressive actions related to area physicians, our state’s medical profession has reached a critical juncture where we must confront disingenuous efforts at cost-cutting that could threaten our patients’ safety, not to mention our own livelihoods.

As physicians, we all have a vital interest in upholding the highest standards of medical care. Actions like those taken by Atrium Health cannot come at the expense of patient care and safety in our communities. We must take a stand.

Sign the Petition

Do you oppose the aggressive and questionable business practices of large hospital systems like Atrium Health, which may be jeopardizing the health and well-being of patients, physicians and our communities? If so, act now by signing the petition.

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