About Us

Southern Arizona Anesthesia Services (SAA) is a group practice of highly trained physicians and CRNAs, and support staff, providing services in Southern Arizona since 1985. SAA represents excellence in anesthesia care, providing a full range of high-quality, board certified, physician and CRNA anesthesia services at private hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in the Tucson area.

In addition to our physicians and CRNAs, SAA’s subsidiary, Administrative Specialists of Arizona (ASA), employs a team of full-time employees to take care of scheduling, billing, collections, bookkeeping, accounting, and physician licensure and staff applications.  ASA’s business and operational services allow SAA physicians and CRNAs to concentrate fully on clinical matters and provide the highest quality of medical care without worrying about nonclinical issues.

SAA Hallmarks

Surgery Team

Quality

Providing the highest levels of exceptional care, with a stellar track record.

community

Community

Strengthening our community through involvement local organizations.

Emergency Room

Coverage

Providing dedicated and reliable coverage every hour and every day of the year.

Leader in the Medical Community

Leadership

Fostering excellence through leadership in the medical community.

Innovation

Innovation

Contributing to the advancement of science and clinical knowledge of anesthesiology.

Physician Leadership

David M. Joseph, MD

David M. Joseph, MD

Chairman and CEO

Bio
Mark Bazzell, MD

Mark Bazzell, MD

President

Bio
Screven Farmer, MD

Screven Farmer, MD

Bio
 Michael Walston MD

Michael Walston MD

Bio

Office  Leadership

Lola Gray

Lola Gray

Office Manager

Bio
Sydney Scott

Sydney Scott

Finance and Operations Manager

Bio
Cheryl Vinyard

Cheryl Vinyard

Coding Coordinator

Bio
Becky Townsend

Becky Townsend

Credentialing and Recruiting Manager

Bio

Where We Practice

St Joseph’s Hospital
Arizona Digestive Institute
Camp Lowell Surgery Center
Tucson Surgery Center
Catalina Surgery Center
Tucson Endoscopy Center
Speedway Surgical Specialists
Rincon Surgery Center
Precision Surgery Center

Our History

In 1985, a small group of visionary physicians met and started discussions on the ‘ideal anesthesia group’ and how it would be better able to respond to challenges of a changing market. SAA was incorporated as a Professional Corporation on April 29, 1985.  The message and model of the founders’ vision resonated strongly in the anesthesia community, and within five years SAA had grown to become one of the largest anesthesiology groups in the country. Throughout the years, SAA has never lost sight of its founding principles.  Quality, fairness, flexibility, effective and efficient business practices, and strong physician leadership have been guiding principles that have allowed SAA to thrive and prosper. 

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Anesthesia services in Tucson prior to the 1980’s was somewhat representative of the ‘wild west’; dozens of independent practitioners competed with each other for lucrative cases, with surgeons having to search for an anesthesiologist willing to provide care to a patient with less lucrative insurance.  Loose associations and small groups formed frequently and dissolved just as frequently.  The groups that did form were generally very hierarchical, with no track to partnership or ill-defined terms and closed books.  Both call coverage and daytime coverage were spotty and varied with the vagaries of the groups that existed ‘at the moment’.

In early 1985 a small group of visionary physicians met and started discussions on the ‘ideal anesthesia group’ and how it would be better able to respond to challenges of a changing market.

With the invaluable experience gathered by these numerous physicians over many years in various practice modalities, the members of the newly forming group envisioned and drafted a model of how an ideal anesthesia group should be organized.  They based their model on principles of democracy and fairness, with an equal vote for each partner, ‘insurance blindness’ (caring for any patient without regard to insurance), professional management, transparency, and a commitment to the highest standards of safety and quality.

SAA was incorporated as a Professional Corporation on April 29, 1985.  The message and model of the founders’ vision resonated strongly in the anesthesia community, and within two years the group had tripled in size.  Within five years SAA had grown to become one of the largest anesthesiology groups in the country.  With a firm commitment to fairness to its employees and flexibility in the healthcare marketplace, SAA began to develop a national reputation. Organizational constructs pioneered by SAA have been copied throughout the country.

Throughout the years, SAA has never lost sight of its founding principles.  Quality, fairness, flexibility, effective and efficient business practices, and strong physician leadership have been guiding principles that have allowed SAA to thrive and prosper.  These same principles have also attracted the ‘best and brightest’ anesthesiologists and CRNAs, and SAA has had remarkable success recruiting new physicians and CRNAs from the top training programs in the country, as well as attracting experienced clinicians from leadership positions in other major groups or academic centers.

Research Contributions

journals

Contributing the advancement of science and clinical knowledge.

Current and former SAA physicians have have significantly advanced anesthesiology through groundbreaking research on anesthesia mechanisms and techniques. Their numerous publications in esteemed medical journals and contributions to medical textbooks underscore their commitment to scientific progress. Additionally, they actively participate in national and international conferences, while also imparting knowledge at esteemed educational institutions.

Research Contributions

Contributing the advancement of science and clinical knowledge.

Current and former SAA physicians have have significantly advanced anesthesiology through groundbreaking research on anesthesia mechanisms and techniques. Their numerous publications in esteemed medical journals and contributions to medical textbooks underscore their commitment to scientific progress. Additionally, they actively participate in national and international conferences, while also imparting knowledge at esteemed educational institutions.

Patient Safety & Satisfaction

Safety and comfort are our number one priority.

SAA prioritizes patient safety with a meticulous approach to quality assurance. Our stringent hiring process selects top graduates, ensuring the highest standard of care. We require Advanced Cardiac Life Support and board certification, reflecting our commitment to excellence. Thorough internal reviews contribute to our exceptional malpractice loss ratio, six times better than the national average. We also emphasize addressing patients’ emotional needs, resulting in outstanding satisfaction ratings, while minimizing minor side effects for a superior anesthesia experience.

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Patient safety is the foremost concern of every member of SAA.  SAA’s approach to quality assurance is multi-pronged. Firstly, by being highly selective and only hiring top graduates of superb programs, we start with the highest quality anesthesiologists and CRNAs available.  Our physicians have trained at most of the top programs in the country.

Our commitment to excellence in anesthesia is further demonstrated by our requirements for Advanced Cardiac Life Support and board certification.  Our internal QA Committee conducts chart reviews and identifies trends requiring education or discussion, and members are also quite active in the QA process at each of our facilities.

SAA’s ongoing QA efforts are reflected in a malpractice loss ratio that is among the best in the country; SAA’s claims experience is six times better than national norms.

In addition to a truly superior safety record, SAA physicians and CRNAs also take great pride in caring for our patients’ emotional needs and recognizing that empathy and kindness are very important for patients undergoing the stress of surgery or childbirth.  Patient satisfaction surveys give our clinicians ‘straight A’s’, with over 97% of patients rating the care they received as ‘excellent’, and over 98% reporting that they were treated with courtesy and respect.   In addition to preventing serious complications, SAA physicians and CRNAs also devote a great deal of attention to minimizing relatively minor side effects of anesthesia, and as a result, the rates at which SAA patients have post-operative nausea & vomiting, sore throats or headaches are a small fraction of the national average.

Community Service

Strengthening our community through involvement local organizations.

SAA members actively engage in diverse community organizations and national service roles. Many SAA physicians have served in various military capacities, including overseas deployments. Additionally, members play significant roles in professional societies and local governance bodies, contributing to societal well-being. SAA spouses also hold key leadership positions in community organizations, reflecting a commitment to service beyond their medical duties.

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Members of SAA are quite active in numerous community organizations, including the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, Soccer leagues, Little League, Bobby Sox, Junior League, school boards, Philharmonic orchestras, singing groups, and religious groups.  SAA physicians have also served in Teach for America and the Peace Corps.

Many SAA Physicians have served our nation at institutions such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the US Naval Hospital at San Diego, and numerous overseas posts including Iraq, as well as serving in the Arizona National Guard, and the Army, Navy and Air Force Reserves.

Members of SAA are also very active in the Pima County Medical Society, Arizona Society of Anesthesiologists (two past presidents, several board members), the Arizona Medical Association (three past presidents, several board members), American College of Physician Executives, the National Association of Corporate Directors, and the Board of Trustees of local hospitals.

SAA physicians have recently served as Chief-of-Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Northwest Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital, and the Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute. SAA physicians also have served as the Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at many local hospitals, including St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, The Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute, Northwest Medical Center, and Foothills Surgery Center.

Members of SAA are also active in a diverse range of non-medical political organizations, and SAA spouses hold numerous key leadership positions in the Pima County Medical Society Auxiliary.

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