Pricey Harrison

Friday, July 29, 2005

Nurses/Assisstants Supervised Who Provide Anesthesia To Patients

After weeks of debate, a bill dealing with the role of nurse anesthetists finally made it out of a House health committee and has been referred to the House Finance Committee. Doctor's groups contend that the legislation simply "confirms and reiterates" the state mandate that physicians supervise certified registered nurse anesthetists, or CRNAs. Supporters of the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Jim Harrell, D-Surry, say that codifying is needed to help deter more legal challenges from nurses who disagree. The N.C. Board of Nursing sees it differently. The group says an 11-year-old consent order between it and the N.C. Medical Board enables CRNAs to perform anesthesia services "in collaboration with a physician." The agreement prohibits CRNAs from prescribing a medical treatment or diagnosis "except under the supervision of a licensed physician." Both sides disagree on whether administering an anesthesia falls under the category requiring the supervision of a physician. A lawsuit over the issue is pending. Many of you have been in touch with me on this subject and I would really appreciate your feedback on the revised proposal.


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