Ain't this the truth?!

A certified registered nurse anesthetist acting as the sole anesthesia provider is the most cost-effective model of anesthesia delivery, according to a new study conducted by Virginia-based The Lewin Group and published in the May/June 2010 issue of the Journal of Nursing Economics.

The study considered different anesthesia delivery models, including CRNAs acting solo, physician anesthesiologists acting solo, and various models in which an anesthesiologist directs or supervises one to six CRNAs. The results showed that CRNAs acting as the sole anesthesia provider cost 25% less than the second lowest cost model. The model in which one anesthesiologist supervises one CRNA was shown to be the least cost-efficient model.

The study’s authors conducted simulation modeling and claims analysis using the Ingenix national claims database of integrated medical and financial data from commercial payers for 2008, which included 52,636 anesthesia deliveries, and the 2006 National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery, which contained 52,223 visits.

An accompanying review of nine studies that compared the quality of anesthesia service by provider type or delivery model showed there are no measurable differences in quality of care between CRNAs and anesthesiologists or by delivery model.