California physicians are appealing the latest court decision that upheld the right for nurse anesthetists to administer anesthesia without physician supervision, an issue that has pitted nurses and doctors against each other in a nationwide turf battle.
Medicare allows state governors to opt out of a federal policy that requires physician supervision of nurse anesthetists when delivering anesthesia to Medicare patients. This provision is intended to address staffing shortages where anesthesiologists may not be readily available. California and 16 other states currently operate under the opt-out provision.
Opponents of the provision claim that the state's current scope of practice for nurse anesthetists does not allow for unsupervised practice.
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Source: HealthLeaders Media