June 01, 2020

No Harm Found when Nurse Anesthetists Work without Supervision by Physicians


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In 2001 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) allowed states to opt out of the requirement for reimbursement that a surgeon or anesthesiologist oversee the provision of anesthesia by certified registered nurse anesthetists. By 2005, fourteen states had exercised this option. An analysis of Medicare data for 1999–2005 finds no evidence that opting out of the oversight requirement resulted in increased inpatient deaths or complications. Based on our findings, we recommend that CMS allow certified registered nurse anesthetists in every state to work without the supervision of a surgeon or anesthesiologist.


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