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Utah - AA House Bill 269

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  Quote JCole Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Utah - AA House Bill 269
    Posted: 20 Jun 2009 at 5:06am
July 18, 2009 --
COOPER CITY, Fl., July 18-- The US Support for Anesthesiologist Assistants – AnestaWeb, Inc., whose followers are AA-C’s, today announced their support for House Bill 269. This bill would license experienced anesthesiologist assistants (AAs) to practice in Maryland and would positively alter the anesthesia delivery model currently utilized in the state and focus more on the ACT model of anesthesia care. AAs, who are equally qualified to CRNAs, are certified to practice in 17 states as well as the federal government (Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs) which authorize the use of Anesthesiologist Assistants to practice under the TRICARE insurance program.

"The passage of this legislation would positively change the ACT model and would be extremely beneficial to the quality of care in operating rooms and create less risk for Utah patients," said Christopher Green, President of AnestaWeb, Inc.  “When patients have unanticipated adverse responses to anesthesia and surgery. I would think Utah legislators would want the highest skilled master’s degree practitioners handling their loved one's cases who are required to work along side of a highly educated Anesthesiologist - that’s why we must pass this bill and allow these intelligent, safety conscious Anesthesiologist Assistants to practice in the O.R. immediately.”


“Any resistance to this legislation is alarming because although AAs do not need to have a health care related degree, the rigorous AA course is so tough that only the capable survive,” said Green.  An AA can transition into a doctorate program to become an anesthesiologist much quicker than a CRNA could. That is why CRNA programs like the one rumored at Univ. of Maryland are currently in the process of switching their masters degree CRNA program to a doctorate degree program (their tentative start date is fall 2010). This degree would be called a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP).

Comparatively speaking a CRNA must be a registered nurse (some nurses never having to take TRUE calculus, Biology 1+2, Chemistry 1+2, Organic Chemistry 1+2, Biochemistry, Physics 1+2, but instead Prerequisites that start with NUR which are geared for an easier fast track into the nursing field), have a four-year nursing degree (which focuses little on anesthesia) and have at least one year of critical care nursing experience prior to admission to a graduate-level nurse anesthesia educational program (which unfortunately also does not give a nurse much O.R. experience if any at all).

Over the years, numerous studies have concluded that AA’s and CRNA’s provide equally safe anesthesia care. Nurse anesthetists have been rendering safe anesthesia care for more than a century. Anesthesiologists (MD's) have fine tuned their anesthesia techniques with many more years of education behind them.

Medicare rules specify that AAs must practice under the medical direction of an anesthesiologist (which is considered the safest practice) and CRNA’s do not.  An anesthesiologist may run four concurrent operations while directly supervising their AAs (which is equally true with CRNA’s in large Hospitals). Consequently, the anesthesiologist may not be directly in the room with the AA or CRNA and may be circulating to assist or supervise other surgical suites. When that is the case, patients are left in the care of the well educated and highly trained AA or CRNA with a direct line to their supervising Anesthesiologist.


During these difficult economic times it makes great sense to engage in a new more cost efficient “Anesthesiologist Assistant” program rather than expanding the existing nurse anesthesia programs. Currently the U.S. is experiencing a nursing shortage and by expanding current nurse anesthesia programs, the already deteriorating pool of nurses entering nurse anesthesia programs would unfortunately cause a worsening nursing shortage. Further, the cost of establishing an AA licensing/regulatory body will be minuscule compared to the worsening nursing shortage. Under this legislation the Board of Medicine would need to take on minimal additional costs to regulate Anesthesiologist Assistants.


Since the services of AAs and CRNAs are reimbursed at the same rates, patients would pay the same amount for equally qualified AAs and no longer have to postpone their surgery due to the lack of anesthesia providers!


CRNAs are the sole anesthesia providers in more than two thirds of all rural hospitals. Common sense should tell anyone that practicing anesthesia without an Anesthesiologist (MD) present for emergencies is undoubtedly a very high safety risk factor.

In conclusion, House Bill 269 could decrease the shortage of anesthesia providers in rural areas. Because Anesthesiologist Assistants practice safety under the supervision of an Anesthesiologist, the AA’s will fill most of the larger hospital O.R positions and CRNA’s will most likely move out to more rural areas where they can practice independently. Anesthesiologist Assistants are truly the answer to the anesthesia workforce shortages.


Edited by admin - 18 Jul 2009 at 1:33pm
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