Anesthesiologist: Small town care has big benefits
Special to The Union
For Dr. Tom Luisetti, living and working in a small town has always been the goal. “I knew early on that I wanted to practice medicine at a smaller, community hospital,” Dr. Luisetti explains. “Doctors and staff have to be very engaged in a smaller hospital and everyone really knows each other. In my experience, that translates to more compassionate care. And that’s what I want to provide.”
And for the past 13 years, that’s exactly what Dr. Luisetti has done – provide compassionate care as an anesthesiologist at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. “You find exceptionally well-trained doctors and nurses at SNMH,” Dr. Luisetti says. “Honestly, for the vast majority of cases, there is no need to seek care at a bigger facility.”
That great care extends to the anesthesia services provided by Dr. Luisetti and his three partners. Dr. Luisetti serves as Medical Director for SNMH’s Anesthesia Services and is also the hospital’s Vice Chief of Staff.
At SNMH, anesthesia services are available 24/7.
“We cover anesthesia services for the hospital’s main OR, the Emergency Department, and OB – or Family Birth Center,” Dr. Luisetti explains. “We are able to offer patients the same services and provide the same experience that they would find at a larger hospital.”
Dr. Luisetti says that, in recent years, his team has followed the national trend of being a “surgical home.” The American Society of Anesthesiologists created this model of care and describes it as being a “patient-centered, physician-led, team-based model of care coordination.”
“As anesthesiologists, we are becoming more involved in the patient’s care,” explains Dr. Luisetti. “We are part of the pre-op assessment prior to surgery, we are obviously involved during the procedure, and then we follow up during the post-op phase as well. It ensures the patient receives the best care possible.”
Another recent change that is helping Dr. Luisetti and his team to continue to focus on patients is the partnership between SNMH’s anesthesia team and Vituity – a physician owned and led partnership.
“Our partnership affiliation with Vituity enables us as physicians to focus on patient care,” Dr. Luisetti explains. “Vituity provides comprehensive practice management, including robust data analytics, billing support, and payer contracting. They are also exceptionally skilled at physician recruitment, a key need for us. There is a real physician shortage and we must attract more anesthesiologists in order to ensure that we can continue to meet the community need.”
For patients, Dr. Luisetti says the transition with Vituity has been seamless, with the same anesthesiologists continuing to provide care at SNMH.
When asked what patients can do to ensure that they have the most positive anesthesia experience possible, Dr. Luisetti says that process actually starts well before someone finds themselves in the operating room.
“The most important thing a patient can do is to have a good relationship with their primary care physician. Have an interest in your health, see your doctor regularly, and address any medical issues when they come up. That makes the job of the anesthesiologist much easier.”
Dr. Luisetti also emphasizes the importance of honesty – both with your primary care doctor and with your anesthesiologist prior to your procedure.
“Be honest about your medical history and any medications you are taking. And don’t hesitate to share any concerns you may have. Often, your anesthesiologist can help to address those concerns, making for a much smoother procedure and recovery.”
Just one more example of the personalized, compassionate care that can be found at a local, community hospital like SNMH.
Dr. Luisetti says he feels fortunate to be a part of that type of care and hopes that others will help to spread the word.
“The care available here, in our community, rivals that at larger hospitals. And I say that as someone who has needed surgery and has chosen to have it done here, at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital! I could have gone elsewhere but I was confident I would get great care here.”
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