Watertown (Wis.) Regional Medical Center has shifted its anesthesia structure, replacing anesthesiologists with certified registered nurse anesthetists.
The measure comes after what WRMC leadership called "careful consideration" with the support of physicians, leaders and surgeons, according to Lake Mills Leader. WRMC will continue to have an anesthesiologist on staff who works with the CRNAs.
The news sparked responses from physicians on social media, Medscape Medical News reported.
Some physicians said the controversy is rooted in a "misconception" that physicians are needed to administer anesthesia. Others viewed it as an example of private equity corporations attempting to increase profits by replacing anesthesiologists.
The hospital is an affiliate of Nashville, Tenn.-based Envision Healthcare, a private equity-backed medical staffing company.