On Wednesday, Senate Bill 1019, a bill expanding the scope of practice for nurse anesthetists introduced by Senator Mike Kowall (R-White Lake), was approved on a 4-1 vote by members of the Senate Michigan Competitiveness Committee. Now headed to the Senate for consideration, Senate Bill 1019 would prescribe the scope of practice for a certified nurse anesthetist when providing certain anesthesia and analgesia services and allow a nurse anesthetist to provide anesthesia and analgesia services as the sole and independent anesthesia provider if he or she were part of a patient-centered care team.
Kenneth Elmassian, DO, a Past President of the Michigan State Medical Society, testified in opposition to the bill:
"Simply and directly, Senate Bill 1019, like Senate Bill 320 seriously threatens patient health and safety; not only ends physician supervision, but ends physician involvement and responsibility for the care of patients undergoing a medical procedure which would include the administration of anesthesia in the operating room, where responsibility and supervision is needed most; will not increase patient access to surgical care; not only will it not reduce costs but is likely to increase costs to patients and taxpayers; and, when asked, goes against the will of 89-percent of Michigan patients surveyed."
Senate Bill 320, referenced in Doctor Elmassian's testimony, is a near duplicate bill which was introduced by Senator Kowall in May 2015. That bill has been stalled in the Senate Health Policy Committee over lack of compromise among parties.
"I believe it is important to state how disappointed members of the physician community -- as patient safety advocates -- are with the process on display here today," said Doctor Elmassian. "We have been working for a year with members on almost identical legislation currently before the Senate Health Policy Committee. We've offered amendments that have gone unanswered, and have demonstrated again and again to members of that committee how dangerous this legislation really is."
This morning, Tom George, MD, also appeared on the Dave Akerly show on WILS radio to discuss this dangerous legislation and the disappointing gamesmanship in the state Senate. It's a must-listen interview and you can hear it here.
TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senator to vote 'NO' on Senate Bill 1019 and put patients first >>
Read the full testimony of Kenneth Elmassian, DO, MSMS Past President >>