To strengthen alignment among multiple surgical disciplines, the American Society of ExtraCorporeal Technology (AmSECT) and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) teamed up to present a terrific joint learning opportunity, holding AmSECT’s 55th International Conference in conjunction with the Centennial Meeting of the AATS in Boston. The integrated program was designed to improve care by bringing surgeons, perfusionists, and other experts together to foster effective communication and coordination in the operating room. The combined meeting was a great example of collaboration that advances quality through evidence-based learning and improvement. We are proud to have been part of this special event.
Perfusion is an integral part of your hospital’s cardiovascular care program, but the overhead costs and administrative burden of maintaining and managing a team of reliable perfusionists with advanced skills can pose challenges for program administrators. It can be easy, however, to overlook both the indirect costs and benefits of clinical services. So, whether your perfusion is handled in-house or outsourced, we’ve developed a new guide, The Real Spend of Your Perfusion Program: Twelve Tips to Discover the True Value, to help you evaluate your program and any changes that you might be considering.
We hear a lot these days about STEM education—an interdisciplinary, applied approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The rise of women in STEM careers is notable, too. So, as Women’s History Month draws to a close, we decided to look to the future being built right now by some of the women at SpecialtyCare who pursued careers in science and are responsible for our clinical education and training programs today. Each has had a unique journey that includes education, choices, gumption, and surprises. They actively honed their interests and cultivated their talents to reach their current roles, and they continue to apply their strengths toward additional growth for themselves and others—men and women alike.
When we decided to create the Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarships program in honor of Jim Brown and Gary Brukardt—men who helped advance the practice of perfusion—we felt it was important to find and support students with the potential to drive improvement in healthcare like Jim and Gary did throughout their careers. Today, we are proud to announce that Cassandra Wuest and Kyle Zelesnick are the recipients of our 2017 perfusion education scholarships, and they are even more talented and impressive than we had hoped.
From a healthcare perspective, the only thing we can be certain of in 2017 is that there will be uncertainty. For healthcare administrators, there is uncertainty around how to manage changes in provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI), and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Restructuring Medicare and Medicaid could have a significant impact on planning, implementation, and payments for providers. But, regardless of the new format, healthcare providers like SpecialtyCare will always have an obligation—both to their patients and their customers—to improve value by providing high-quality care while containing costs.
SpecialtyCare is determined to drive awareness of perfusion as both a vital medical service and a smart career choice. As part of this effort, we are proud to officially launch the Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarship Program. Every year, SpecialtyCare will award perfusion education tuition to two students enrolled in CAAHEP-accredited programs. Jim Brown and Gary Brukardt—men with close ties to SpecialtyCare who helped evolve the practice of perfusion over the last three decades—exemplified integrity, leadership, and dedication to patient care. Our goal is to support students who share these qualities and demonstrate outstanding potential as cardiovascular perfusionists.
One of the most significant trends facing our industry today is the severe shortage of perfusionists. A current sample of 10% of active perfusionists found that nearly 50% are over 50 years old, and in 2015 there were almost 30% fewer new graduates entering the field than professionals leaving the field. This rate of decline cannot be sustained for long before the deficit poses serious risks to the 350,000 patients who need heart surgeries and perfusion services each year.