SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The motion filed by the California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA) and the California Medical Association (CMA) to require California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger withdraw his June 10, 2009 letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that exercised the option to exempt the State of California from the requirement that certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) be supervised by a physician has been denied.
The ruling was based on the presiding judge's opinion 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. The judge furthermore opined that with respect to the physician supervision issue, current California State law does not refer to supervision and judicially interjecting a supervision requirement into the law would create ambiguity. The judge went on to state that the Legislature has the ability to impose a supervision requirement into State law should it wish.
CSA notes that the Legislative Counsel, Attorney General opinions, and prior court opinions came to a different conclusion.
The CSA maintains that anesthesia care is best provided in a physician-led practice setting and is currently reviewing alternative strategies to reverse the governor's ill-advised decision.
"For the Governor and Superior Court to decide for the people of California that it is perfectly safe to remove the medical and physician component from anesthesia care is absolutely irresponsible," said Dr. Narendra Trivedi, president of the California Society of Anesthesiologists. "The Governor's plan goes against the belief of most practicing physicians and jeopardizes the quality of care that citizens of California will receive. The California Society of Anesthesiologists asks the Governor to put patients first by working with physicians to find innovative and efficient solutions to our state's health care concerns while maintaining the highest quality standards of health care."
Last February, the CSA and CMA filed suit against California Governor Schwarzenegger in response to the Governor's letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting that the state be allowed to opt out of the requirement that a physician be present to either administer or supervise anesthesia for Medicare patients. Under federal law, the CMS has the authority to approve the Governor's request for a Medicare opt out.
The California Society of Anesthesiologists is a physician organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of the profession of anesthesiology, to fostering excellence through continuing medical education, and to serving as an advocate for anesthesiologists and their patients.
SOURCE California Society of Anesthesiologists