Physician Groups Sue To Require Supervision of Nurse Anesthetists
On Tuesday, the California Medical Association and the California Society of Anesthesiologists filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court alleging that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) skirted federal regulations when he sent a letter allowing nurse anesthetists to administer anesthesia without physician supervision, HealthLeaders Media reports.
Federal regulations generally require supervising physicians to be present when nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia. However, Medicare rules exempt hospitals from that requirement if a state's governor sends a letter to CMS.
In the lawsuit, the two medical groups claim that Schwarzenegger bypassed federal rules because he sent the letter to CMS without first consulting with the state's medical board and Board of Registered Nursing.
The suit also asserts that California hospitals do not need the exemption because the state does not have a shortage of anesthetists.
CMA and CSA asked the court to force Schwarzenegger to retract his letter and reinstate the requirement for physician supervision of nurse anesthetists.
Schwarzenegger administration officials assert that the governor acted in compliance with the law (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 2/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.