On December 6, the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians joined other physician organizations in opposing an attempt by certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNAs) to expand their scope of practice by adding an amendment to a chiropractors’ bill in lame duck session.
The letter signed by the OAFP expressed deep concern for introduction of an amendment that expands the scope of practice for CRNAs. The CRNA scope issue (House Bill (HB) 548) is currently pending in the House Health and Aging Committee and does not have the votes to pass; thus the reason for the move to amend it into another bill being heard by another committee. Physician organizations have testified in opposition to HB 548, which would allow CRNAs to prescribe medication for a surgical patient during the pre- and post-operative period, and oppose any attempt to amend HB 548 into another bill.
The debate about this issue has been going on for months and the majority of elected officials agree that this legislation has the potential to jeopardize patient care and is not necessary. Physician organizations know issues such as this come up unexpectedly in lame duck, but we urge lawmakers to let the legislative process work itself out and not bypass the process by through amendment.
The role that CRNAs play, as part of the surgical team, in providing anesthesia care is invaluable and important. This bill, however, would result in a dangerous expansion of scope of practice and has the potential to jeopardize the care patients receive.
The move to amend HB 548 into another bill was ultimately unsuccessful.