Many dental procedures involving surgery (tooth extractions, gum surgery, pediatric dentistry, etc.) used to be performed in the hospital or other type of ambulatory surgery center (ASC), under general anesthesia. Around 1989, many insurance companies stopped paying for these procedures to be done in the hospital setting and dentists were left to find other alternatives.
Special Anesthesia Services is committed to maintaining and increasing their staff at levels which will allow for dental office anesthesia services to continue indefinitely.
Oral surgeons receive some training in anesthesia in their residency and many of them choose to perform their own anesthesia while also doing the surgery. One of the original oral surgeons in Wichita, Dr. James Quinley, was uncomfortable with this arrangement. He felt all his attention should be focused on the surgery and the anesthesia should be left to another professional. He asked Ron Keller if it would be possible to come to his office and help with cases that couldn’t be done under local anesthesia. Keller assembled the appropriate monitors, equipment, and supplies at Dr. Quinley’s office and thus was born Special Anesthesia Services.
Before long the word spread and other dentists began contacting Keller to help with their patients. Keller was still working full-time with a hospital-based anesthesia group and as the demand for office services increased, much of his vacation time was used to provide these. For a decade, Special Anesthesia Services continued to provide dental office anesthesia in this fashion.
In the mid 1990s, office-based anesthesia was a newly emerging sub-specialty in anesthesia. Many medical procedures were being done in the office, which had previously been confined to the hospital or ASC. Insurance companies, as well as Medicare, were offering physicians greater reimbursements on procedures done in the office as opposed to the hospital. Keller decided to see if there was a way to make a living from full-time office anesthesia and, in July of 1996, he launched the first office-based anesthesia practice in Kansas.
A large percentage of the office-based cases done during the early years was medical surgeries, mainly dermatological, plastic, and ear, nose, and throat. The dental cases steadily increased in numbers, however, and soon became the primary focus of the practice. Since 2005, SAS provides anesthesia services to dental offices exclusively.
In the early years, Keller did all the paperwork himself in addition to performing the anesthetics. In September of 2000, Kim Gates brought her expertise in office administration to the team, as SAS opened their first office in her basement. The office has moved locations three times as the business continued to grow. We have been at our current location at 727 N. Baltimore since December 2010.
Heather McCreight joined the SAS office team in January 2007. As a former elementary school teacher, she brought her unique organizational skills to the SAS office.
As demand for sedation services grew, it became obvious that Keller wouldn’t be able to do this alone. Contracting with a group of CRNAs from McPherson, KS, SAS was able to expand services even further. In April of 2008 one of these CRNAs, Ryan Morgan, decided to join SAS full-time.
Thus began a new era. Within a year, Morgan had become a partner in the group. In April of 2009, SAS added a third CRNA, Sean Hoskinson, to the mix. This brought their strength up to three full-time equivalents. This represented a substantial improvement in availability of services, and resulted in a decreased waiting time for many dentists and patients.
Hoskinson left in November of 2011, but SAS was joined by another CRNA, Abbey Travis. Travis had previously worked with SAS as a contracting CRNA, as part of the McPherson group. She signed on as a partner with SAS in January of 2012, bringing her experience and expertise with her to the practice. In March of 2014, the practice expanded again with the addition of another CRNA, Jeremy Salsbury.
Sabrina Bailey, RN, joined the office crew in 2015, as a patient and provider office coordinator. Salsbury went on to become a partner, and Meighan Parnell, CRNA joined the group in 2016. Julia Joy has also joined the SAS team, and rounds out the office staff.
Special Anesthesia Services is committed to maintaining and increasing their staff at levels which will allow for dental office anesthesia services to continue indefinitely. Many practitioners, patients, and families have come to rely on these services, and SAS intends to be in a position to provide them as long as there is a need.