Physician Anesthesiologists Week is Jan. 26 to Feb. 1. This week recognizes the vital role of anesthesia and is exemplified by these accomplished physicians. These doctors ensure the safe administration of anesthesia and work as strong advocates for the future of patient care.
Dr. Padmanabhan: Developing Women Leaders
Asha Padmanabhan, M.D., anesthesiologist and Site Director at Bethesda Hospital West in Boynton Beach, Fla., trained in locations across the world and felt compelled by the life-changing role that comes with being an anesthesiologist. As the assistant treasurer of the Florida Society of Anesthesia and a member of four committees within the American Society of Anesthesia (ASA), Dr. Padmanabhan advocates for both physician and patient care at the state and national levels.
Dr. Padmanabhan is driven by the importance of advocacy and the need for physician representatives at the legislative level. For the last few years, she has dedicated her focus to empowering female physicians to work towards leadership positions. “If you look at the statistics, women in medicine make up a low percentage of leadership positions even though the ratio is fairly equal when we enter the field.”
At the state and local level, Dr. Padmanabhan’s efforts have been successful and especially influential to the ASA’s Women in Anesthesia movement. Her sponsorship program has offered young physicians a mentor who guides them to become future leaders. “The numbers will take some time to change, but the movement has started,” Dr. Padmanabhan said.
At her first Envision Physician Services conference six years ago, Dr. Padmanabhan was greeted with support from Andrew Greenfield, M.D., President of Anesthesia Services for Envision Physician Services, and other physician leaders. “We are committed to the best practice for anesthesia as well as those with unique demographics who need our voice the most,” Dr. Greenfield said. Toward that effort, Dr. Padmanabhan was successful in solidifying the role of anesthesiologists in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, and Dr. Greenfield commented that “her nationwide impact on our specialty and work deserves great recognition.”
Dr. Blicblum: Pre-Operative Assessments for Safer Care
As a patient advocate, Steve Blicblum, M.D., anesthesiologist at Tampa Bay Endoscopy Center, has improved the process of pre-operative assessments in his facility to ensure the safest anesthesia care. “After 11 years of working on this process, I believe we have improved the communication of many practices who now submit patient history and physicals days before the procedure,” Dr. Blicblum said. “With different needs requiring different forms for care, this gives us time to decide if each patient’s situation is best treated in an ambulatory surgery center or hospital setting.”
Dr. Blicblum is involved with peer-review, quality management, safe injection practices and most recently, malignant hypothermia education for the center’s staff. Also recognizing a need for improved cardiac risk assessments and better airway management, Dr. Blicblum created a pre-operative assessment form that prompts the patient and/or doctor to fill out a detailed history prior to the procedure. “If we get the answers from past physicians and providers ahead of time, we can best prepare and ensure the safest procedure possible,” Dr. Blicblum said.
Dr. Blicblum appreciates AMSURG’s tools and resources along with his center administrator’s ongoing support. “I have over 35 years of experience in dealing with the concerns and nerves of patients who are preparing for a procedure or receiving life-changing results,” Dr. Blicblum said. “As we are trained to ease these pains, the patient satisfaction surveys and best practice tutorials are really helpful in keeping our care refreshed and up-to-date.”
Angela Durham, MBA, Vice President of Anesthesia for AMSURG, agrees. “We are proud of our centers for continuing to make a great impact on patients’ lives,” Durham said. “Our first priority is always providing safe, high-quality patient care.”
Dr. Poage: 2019 President-Elect for the California Society of Anesthesiologists
Jeffrey Poage, M.D., serves as Medical Director for Pediatric Surgical Services at John Muir Health and is a pediatric anesthesiologist for Medical Anesthesiology Consultants (MAC) in Walnut Creek, Calif. As head of Legislative and Practice Affairs for the California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA), he has helped lobby on dozens of bills at the state and federal levels.
“It is important for all physicians to embrace advocacy for their profession and support their state medical society as well as their professional subspecialty society. We have people walking the halls every day to make sure physicians are well-represented in Washington, D.C., and in their home states.”
Dr. Poage was recently voted president-elect of the CSA and is set to take office next June. "The healthcare issues facing us today are intimidating and complex, and we have to play offense as well as defense,” Dr. Poage said. “Everything we do stems from our mission to promote patient safety and high-quality care."
Dr. Poage has devoted significant efforts to the ongoing issue of surprise medical billing and serves on the ASA Ad Hoc Committee on Out-of-Network Payment. Impressed with Envision’s commitment to advocacy and physician engagement, Dr. Poage participates in a monthly call on government affairs and stated that “the Envision advocacy team is often ahead of the curve on many critical issues.”
Over the last several years, Dr. Poage helped promote legislation following the death of a six-year-old boy who died in an office without the presence of an anesthesiologist, and he testified in Sacramento as a subject matter expert on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Our efforts led to updated guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry which were published last year,” Dr. Poage said. “My hope is every child who requires dental care under anesthesia receives the same standard of care we provide our patients every day in our hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.” Motivated by his experience, Dr. Poage applied for a dental anesthesia permit and now provides anesthesia care to pediatric dental centers on weekends.