A Demographic, Service, and Financial Survey of Anesthesia Training Programs in the United States

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In February 2000, a demographic, service, and finance survey was sent to the directors of anesthesiology training programs in the United States under the auspices of the Society of Academic Anesthesia Chairs/Association of Academic Program Directors. In August of 2000, 2001, and 2002, shorter follow-up surveys were sent to the same program directors requesting the numbers of vacancies in faculty positions and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) positions. The August 2001 survey also inquired if departments had positive or negative financial margins for the fiscal year ending June 2001. The August 2002 survey included the questions of the 2001 survey and additionally asked if the departments had had an increase or decrease in institutional support and the amount of that current support. The survey results revealed that the average program had 36 anesthetizing locations and 36 faculty. Those faculty spent 69% of their time providing clinical service. Approximately one-half of the departments paid for some of their residents, whereas the other 50% paid for none. Eighty-five percent of the departments employed CRNAs who were funded by the hospital in one third of the departments. In 2000, departments received $34,319/yr in support per faculty full-time equivalent (FTE) from their institutions and had a mean revenue of $407,000/yr/faculty FTE. In 2002, the department’s institutional support per FTE increased to $59,680 (a 74% increase since 2000). The departments in academic medical centers paid 20% in overhead expenses, whereas departments in nonacademic medical centers paid 10%. In 2000, 2001, and 2002, the percentage of departments with positive margins was 53%, 53%, and 65%, respectively, whereas the departments with a negative margin decreased from 44% in the year 2000 to 38% in 2001 and 33% in 2002. For the departments with a positive margin, the amount of margin per FTE over this 3-yr period was approximately $50,000, $15,000, and $30,000, respectively. Although the percentage of departments with a negative margin has been decreasing, the negative margin per FTE seems to be increasing from approximately $24,000 to $43,000. The number of departments with open faculty positions has decreased from 91.5% in the year 2000 to 83.5% in 2001 and 78.4% in 2002; in these departments, the number of open faculty positions has also decreased from 3.8 in 2000 to 3.9 in 2001 to 3.4 in 2002. The number of open CRNA positions seems to have been relatively constant with approximately two thirds of the departments requiring an average of approximately four CRNAs each. Overall, academic anesthesiology departments fiscal security seems to have eroded with an increased dependence on institutional support. Departments pay larger overhead rates relative to private practice, and there seems to be a continued, but possibly decreasing, shortage of faculty.

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