Anaesthetic Billing

Should you join a traditional group or stay independent as a private anaesthetist?

Author: Ben Dudley

Date: April 20, 2023

Anaesthetic billing - Zento - Outsourcing medical billing and practice management services

After a lot of hard work establishing your private practice, it’s now starting to pay off. You’ve got regular lists with a range of surgeons you like working with and a healthy, growing revenue to match.

At this stage in your business development, you might be wondering whether to join a traditional group or stay independent as a private anaesthetist.
To help you decide, here’s an overview of the pros and cons of traditional anaesthetist groups, plus a comparison of the alternatives on offer.

Benefits anaesthetists groups

The upsides of traditional anaesthetist groups

There are a number of potential benefits of joining a traditional anaesthetist group, such as the ability to share costs and services, expertise, and opportunities. Let’s take a closer look at each potential benefit.

Shared costs and services

Typically, group members have access to shared practice management services, such as billing and secretarial support.

Larger groups may offer holiday and conference leave cover so that the current work you have acquired will be taken care of while you are away.

In addition, some groups include patient consulting rooms as part of their membership offering.

Shared expertise

Anaesthetists may benefit from shared expertise within groups, both in clinical and business terms. In some groups, members share knowledge through mentoring, learning activities, and social events.

Members can also share expertise in the form of their subspecialties. Rather than everyone covering all specialties, members with relevant subspecialty expertise can be assigned to certain lists.

Shared opportunities

Joining a traditional group may appeal to people seeking new work or additional work. Some groups offer to make introductions to surgeons or provide contacts and support for anaesthetists trying to acquire new lists.
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Disadvantages anaesthetists groups

The downsides of traditional anaesthetist groups

Traditional groups may sound good on paper, but in practice, they may not always be as beneficial. Anaesthetists who work in traditional groups can lose both autonomy and income. They may also have to deal with dysfunctional group dynamics.

Loss of autonomy and control

If you prefer total control over your work, such as the hours you work or the surgeons you work with, joining a traditional group may not meet your needs.

You can also lose business decision-making autonomy in a traditional group. Most groups are governed by a managing committee or board. A vote or consensus may be required depending on the situation.

However, if you don’t belong to the management committee, group decision-making can exclude you from making critical business decisions. For example, you won’t have the final say on whether to hire new staff or upgrade your practice management software.

Financial disincentives

Depending on their fee structure, traditional groups can present a number of financial disincentives to joining. For instance, if you are just starting out in private practice, traditional group fees may be excessive given the size of your practice.

Additionally, traditional group fees do not always reflect the level of support provided to members. For instance, you might have to pay a fixed rental fee for dedicated consulting rooms even if you don’t need them or use them infrequently. Or, as a relatively junior anaesthetist in a traditional group, you may not experience the same level of service as someone who’s been there longer.

Dysfunctional group dynamics

Most organisations, including traditional groups, are influenced by politics and power dynamics. Management committee members have to balance their own practice interests with the interests of the group. As a result, friction, power plays, and corrosive politics can develop.
Practice management services for anaesthetists

The alternatives to traditional anaesthetist groups

Traditional anaesthetist groups are not the only option for business growth and practice management. There are a variety of alternatives available that involve fewer fees and more freedom. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of each option.

DIY solo private practice

Handling your own practice management has the significant advantage of being low-cost. The downside, of course, is that you’ll have to spend more time on billing, patient communication, reporting, tax compliance paperwork and finding suitable consulting rooms to borrow from other doctors.

When you are just starting out, it’s not easy to learn the intricacies of the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS), health fund policies and hospital accreditation requirements.

What’s more, as a DIY solo private practice anaesthetist, you are responsible for sourcing your own lists and arranging cover for when you go on holidays, need to care for a sick relative, or get sick yourself.

Outsourcing elements of practice management

Some anaesthetists outsource certain aspects of practice management to reduce their administrative workload while keeping costs low. Typical outsourced elements include:

  • anaesthetic billing
  • information technology solutions
  • bookkeeping
  • reception services for patient correspondence
  • calendar management

Similar to the downsides of the DIY approach, outsourcing only parts of your practice management means you’ll still need to:

  • spend a considerable amount of time on administration
  • source your own lists
  • arrange to have your practice covered while you’re on leave.

Fully outsourced practice management

While training as an anaesthetist, very little is taught about private practice and how to run your own practice. It’s why outsourcing your practice management to an expert provider such as Zento Group makes running your own practice easy.

Unlike the DIY approach, you save yourself the hassle, time, and potentially costly mistakes.

An expert practice management provider can offer you:

  • dedicated consulting rooms that are free of charge on a flexible, as-needed basis
  • a dedicated physical reception to provide a point of contact for patients, surgeons and their secretaries
  • access to quality lists to help build your practice and professional contacts
  • support to cover your lists when you are unable to do so yourself
  • the ability to quickly scale up or down the level of practice management support to meet your exact needs
  • the latest technology and software to streamline billing and reporting
  • competitive fees without any set-up costs or lock-in periods to worry about
  • the opportunity to attend regular social events with surgeons and other anaesthetists.

Ultimately, working with an expert practice management provider gives you all the benefits of a traditional group without the downsides. You won’t have to deal with the politics and power plays of traditional groups, but can still build your professional network of surgeons and other anaesthetists.

Anaesthetic billing and practice management with Zento

Grow your practice, your way with Zento Group

Enjoy the freedom of deciding what’s best for your practice without sacrificing growth, income or your valuable personal time in the process. Designed specifically for anaesthetists, our advanced practice management services take the pain out of private practice.

Get in touch to learn more about how we can support you to grow your practice, your way.

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