New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would give certified registered nurse anesthetists the ability to provide anesthesia without a physician present, according to a Jan. 25 report from the American Medical Association.
The legislation would also give advanced practice nurses the ability to prescribe medication.
However some medical groups, including the American Medical Association, are strongly discouraging lawmakers from passing such bills.
In a letter to New Jersey legislative leaders, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara, MD, said that the organization opposes Senate Bill 1522 and Assembly Bill 2286 for four core reasons.
- CRNAs do not have the same level of training and education as physicians.
- Increasing scope of practice can lead to higher costs and a lower quality of care.
- Scope expansions do not increase access to care in rural areas.
- Physician supervision is important for the health and safety of patients.
"The AMA has and will continue to stand up for patients who have said time and again they want and expect physicians leading their healthcare team," Dr. Madara wrote to the legislators. "In a recent survey of U.S. voters, 95 percent say it is important for a physician to be involved in their diagnosis and treatment decisions and 63 percent oppose allowing nurse anesthetists to perform anesthesia without physician oversight."