Unsupervised anesthesia care offered by anesthetist threatens the patient’s safetyLately, no matter how you tried switching the TV channels, it was hard to escape Dr. Conrad Murray’s trial or fail to bear about propofol, which is an easily usable anesthesia drug. Probably, you didn’t hear that Americans simply dodged a great threat to anesthesia care and majority don’t even realized what this means to them.

Is anesthetic nurse supervision really necessary?

Recently, the national Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued new rules regarding conditions necessary for one to participate in Medicaid and Medicare for providers of health care and hospitals. Even after the great pressure, CMS simply left in place a rule requiring supervision of nurse anesthetists by physicians. We really have a reason to be thankful about this and remain on guard just in case someone tries bending this rule again to their favor.

Until mid December, comments are welcomed for the new rules and lobbyists are continuously arguing that any kind of anesthetic can be given easily by any nurse anesthetic without need for supervision. Actually, this is really a bad idea and it is essential that CMS stands firm to the end against it.

The background of the situation

President Obama’s administration this year announced a set of plans aimed at reforming regulations in the health care that in its view were unnecessary. Precisely, they argued that using physician’s assistants and practice nurse practitioners instead of the highly paid physicians could go a long way in providing hospitals with big savings. As per the new rules issued, CMS has proposed reasonably that there is need to have the barriers removed to works of the physician extenders, like not requiring them to get a physician and have every order co- signed.

But in case the lobbying efforts succeeded, middle level providers and nurse anesthetics are going to be allowed to lawfully practice without having to be supervised. These plans aims at making the services of anesthesia even more profitable for insurers and hospitals, but lobbyists tend to miss out on education of both the nurses and physicians. They are determined in eliminating cost effective care team model for anesthesia where anesthesiologists and anesthetist’s assistances can only work under direct supervision. The middle level providers are of great importance to the health care system. If a patient visits the office of a primary care doctor, chances are high that they will see a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner who can treat effectively routine ailments, write prescriptions and manage chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure under the authority of a doctor.

Where surgery is needed, the physician’s assistant could help the surgeon at the operation room and nurse anesthetists could look after patients under the supervision of anesthesiologist. As such, they don’t replace doctors but work as a part of the entire team.