Nurses can ad­min­is­ter anes­the­sia, Colo. court rules

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

A Colorado state ap­pel­late court ruled that nurse anes­thetists can ad­min­is­ter anes­the­sia with­out physi­cian su­per­vi­sion in the state’s crit­i­cal-ac­cess and ru­ral hos­pi­tals. The case has pit­ted the state’s doc­tors against the gover­nor, hos­pi­tals and nurses in what has turned into a scope-of-prac­tice fight in 16 states— in­clud­ing Cal­i­for­nia, where the state Supreme Court re­cently ruled in the nurses’ fa­vor. Fed­eral law re­quires physi­cian su­per­vi­sion un­less states sub­mit signed let­ters from the gover­nor to the CMS opt­ing out of this re­quire­ment stat­ing that do­ing so is “in the best in­ter­est of state cit­i­zens and con­sis­tent with state law.” For­mer Colorado Gov. Bill Rit­ter had sub­mit­ted such a let­ter on Sept. 27, 2010. The next day, the Colorado Med­i­cal So­ci­ety re­quested an in­junc­tion or­der­ing the gover­nor to opt back in. Rit­ter’s suc­ces­sor, John Hick­en­looper, filed a mo­tion to dis­miss the so­ci­ety’s suit, which was granted by the dis­trict court on April 8, 2011. The med­i­cal so­ci­ety and the Colorado So­ci­ety of Anes­the­si­ol­o­gists ap­pealed the de­ci­sion and were joined by the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety of Anes­the­si­ol­o­gists and the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion. “This rul­ing reaf­firms the im­por­tance of prop­erly trained non­physi­cian providers be­ing al­lowed to pro­vide crit­i­cal health­care ser­vices in ru­ral parts of Colorado,” Colorado Hospi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent and CEO Steven Sum­mer said in a state­ment. Physi­cian groups were dis­ap­pointed. “Con­trary to the court’s opin­ion, anes­the­sia care is more than just a med­i­ca­tion,” Dr. Kristin Wood­ward, pres­i­dent of the Colorado So­ci­ety of Anes­the­si­ol­o­gists, said in a news re­lease.

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