News

For Immediate Release

September 8, 2016

Michiganders Urge House to Reject Bill to Strip Physician Supervision from Anesthesia Care

EPIC-MRA Poll Shows Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Legislation as Physicians Fight Back against Effort to Take Doctors Out of Operating Rooms

LANSING—Physicians and health care leaders with the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists today urged members of the state House to reject Senate Bill 1019, legislation to end the state’s longstanding requirement that physicians supervise anesthesia care.  According to a poll released in August by pollsters at EPIC-MRA, Michigan patients overwhelmingly oppose the legislation. 

“Lawmakers should listen to patients, and put their health and safety first by rejecting Senate Bill 1019,” said John LaGorio, MD, President of the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists.  “Anesthesia care is a dangerous procedure that essentially places patients in a medically induced coma. 

“It’s no wonder voters demand physicians participate when they or a loved one is undergoing anesthesia.  It’s even less surprising that voters are broadly rejecting efforts in Lansing to overturn Michigan’s longstanding, common sense requirement that a licensed medical doctor supervise every anesthetic in the operating room.”

The state Senate today advanced the legislation that would remove physician supervision from doctors’ offices and operating rooms across the state, eliminating the participation of physicians from every anesthetic.  Under the bill, nurse anesthetists would be solely responsible for the entire plan and administration of anesthesia care, including responding to serious problems which may arise during a procedure or when a patient is awakening from the drug induced coma of anesthesia.

Michigan residents understand how important physician anesthesiologists are for patients’ health and safety.   According to the July 30-August 4, 2016 poll by EPIC - MRA:

  • By a 69-20 margin, residents oppose legislation in Lansing to remove physician supervision in anesthesia care, with 47 percent strongly oppose the bills.
  • 79 percent of respondents prefer a physician directly administer or supervise the administration of anesthesia careOnly 7 percent prefer it be administered by a nurse anesthetist acting without supervision.

46 states and the District of Columbia, by statute or regulation, require nurse anesthetists to work in a team-based relationship with a physician, whether through physician supervision, collaboration, direction, consultation, agreement, or other arrangement for the safe delivery of anesthesia care.

Physicians have well over a decade of education and specialized training to evaluate patients before they receive anesthesia or undergo treatments for chronic pain while nurse anesthetists have as little as 2 years of postgraduate training in giving anesthetics.

According to a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, anesthesiologists prevent nearly 7 avoidable deaths for every 1,000 patients who encounter a complication.  The study concluded that removing physician supervision from operating rooms threatens patients and could literally cost lives.

Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists is the statewide organization of anesthesiologists for the representation, education, and advancement of physicians providing ethical anesthesia care. MSA serves patients, the public, lawmakers, physicians and other professionals by defining and advancing the standard of anesthesia care and supporting the practice of anesthesiology.

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