ASA Responds to Los Angeles Times Article on Shortage of Trained Physicians

Dear Editor,

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) read with great interest Michael J. Mishak’s February 9 article, “State lacks doctors to meet demand of national healthcare law.” The article brought critical attention to a growing concern in the medical field; a shortage of trained medical professionals to provide the best patient care.

We wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Phinney’s belief that “physician assistants and other mid-level professionals are best deployed in doctor-led teams.” As physicians dedicated to patient safety, anesthesiologists lead other mid-level providers on Anesthesia Care Teams to provide the highest quality of perioperative care. 

The two- to three-years training of mid-level medical professionals cannot compare to the at least eight years post-graduate education of physicians. This additional education and training provides physicians with the skills to fully diagnose, manage and respond to medical complications.

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