Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Anesthesia - Supplement to Outpatient Surgery Magazine - July 2016

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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6 S U P P L E M E N T T O O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E J U LY 2 0 1 6 T he Department of Veterans Affairs thinks it has the answer to cut- ting wait times for vet- erans who need surgery and other medical care: Let nurse anesthetists work without a doctor's supervision. The coun- try's largest healthcare system wants to give CRNAs the authority to administer anesthesia and pre- scribe medications, among other things, on their own. The VA's recent proposal picked at the scab of a decades-old turf war waged by the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. The bat- tle is playing out on a national and very public stage, but the debate centers on a familiar argument that has been discussed for years in surgery centers and com- munity hospitals: How much is patient safety worth? The bottom line It shouldn't come as a shock that both organizations are touting the clinical expertise of their members. The ASA makes the argument that CRNA-only anes- thesia is unsafe, and produced a position paper to back its claim (osmag.net/JBTc7t). Of course, the AANA has similar research to cite, and makes the argument that CRNAs are perfectly capable of providing safe anes- thesia, that they do so in areas in which doctors are not available and that such services are vital to the functioning of underserved areas. Studies funded on both sides of this particular argument have not conclusively convinced anyone Who Should Administer Anesthesia? The turf war between MDs and CRNAs heats up. On Point Shirie Leng, MD • BEHIND THE MASK Physician anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists both lay claim to safe patient care. Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN

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