Court Upholds State’s Exemption From Nurse Anesthetist Rule
A California Superior Court judge has rejected a petition from two medical groups that claimed that allowing advanced practice nurses to administer anesthesia without physician supervision would jeopardize patient safety, HealthLeaders Media reports.
Federal regulations require physicians to supervise nurse anesthetists during the treatment of Medicare beneficiaries (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 10/14). However, states can opt out of the requirement if their governor sends a letter to CMS (California Healthline, 2/3).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has joined 15 other states in seeking an exemption from the provision.
In February, the California Medical Association and the California Society of Anesthesiologists filed a lawsuit against Schwarzenegger for opting out of the physician supervision mandate.
The groups argued that the governor bypassed Medicare rules that require him to consult with state boards of nursing and medicine before seeking an exemption from the provision (HealthLeaders Media, 10/14).
According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists -- which supported Schwarzenegger's action -- the court ruled that the governor acted in accordance with state law when he opted out of the physician supervision requirement (AANA release, 10/12).
CSA -- which petitioned against the governor's action -- stated on its website that the ruling "was based on the presiding judge's conclusion that given the absence of a state statute that specifically stipulates physician supervision of nurse anesthetists who administer anesthesia, federal regulations allow the governor discretion to conclude that opting out of the Medicare supervision requirement is consistent with state law."
CSA and CMA are reviewing the ruling and considering a possible appeal, according to CSA (HealthLeaders Media, 10/14).ÂThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.