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ASA Responds to Wall Street Journal Article on Scope of Practice

Dear Editor,

Battles Erupt Over Filling Doctors’ Shoes” (Health & Wellness, Feb. 3) reports on the increasing scope of practice issues between physician assistants and other health care professionals and physicians. While the article focuses on “turf battles” and “skirmishes” that are erupting and highlights the need for patient care in rural areas, issues related to patient safety are of the upmost importance to physicians.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) stands with the American Medical Association’s (AMA) recommendation to use mid-level medical staff with the guidance and direction of properly trained physicians to best serve patients. As physician anesthesiologists, we lead Anesthesia Care Teams comprised of non-physician care providers, such as anesthesiologist assistants and nurse anesthetists, to make critical medical decisions on behalf of patients.

Access to care is important, but it needs to be quality care that ensures the safety of patients. As decisions related to scope of practice are made at both federal and state levels, patient safety, above all else, needs to be a priority.

Sincerely,

John M. Zerwas, M.D.
President
American Society of Anesthesiologists