California Physicians Challenge Opt-Out of Physician Supervision Requirement

Last year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger requested exemption from the federal supervision requirement of nurse anesthetists. After unsuccessfully seeking a rescission of the opt-out, on June 3, 2010, the California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA) and California Medical Association (CMA) filed a lawsuit against the governor.

Medicare required a physician to supervise a nurse anesthetist until 2001, when CMS amended the supervision requirement to authorize a governor to “opt-out” of such requirement if the following conditions are met: (1) a governor must consult with the medical and nursing boards regarding issues related to access and quality of anesthesia services in the state; (2) the opt-out must be consistent with state law; and (3) the governor must conclude that an opt-out is in the best interest of the state citizens.

CSA and CMA contend that the governor failed to meet these requirements prior to opting out, by failing to consult the Medical Board of California regarding the administration of anesthesia by nurse anesthetists and by violating California law.

For more information, please contact Jessica L. Gustafson, Esq. or Abby Pendleton, Esq. at (248) 996-8510, or visit the HLP website.

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