CHICAGO – Today, Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp signed into law Senate Bill 197, a vital patient safety measure that prevents the use of medical and medical specialty titles, including “anesthesiologist,” by health care practitioners who are not physicians. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and Georgia Society of Anesthesiologists (GSA) applaud this action, which protects patients in Georgia from misleading titles, such as “nurse anesthesiologist,” that misrepresent the professional’s true education, licensure, certification, and expertise and potentially confuse patients.
“ASA congratulates Gov. Kemp for prioritizing patient safety by ensuring transparency and accuracy in health care titles,” said Michael W. Champeau, M.D., FAAP, FASA, president of ASA. “This new law makes it clearer for patients to make informed decisions because they know the qualifications of the professional providing their care. Every patient deserves to be certain of exactly who is performing and responsible for their care during a procedure or surgery.”
The law, which will become effective on July 1, 2023, was authored by Georgia Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, a certified anesthesiologist assistant. It prohibits deceptive or misleading terms or false representations of the practitioner’s profession, skills, training, expertise, degree, board certification, licensure or medical field.
Under the new law, health care practitioner advertisements (any communication, including printed, electronic, or verbal) must include the practitioner’s name and disclose only the type of license under which the practitioner is authorized to provide services. The law also protects patients from the misleading use of the title “doctor” in a clinical setting by nonphysicians, as it requires advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants who hold doctorate degrees and identify themselves as “doctors” to clearly state that they are not a medical doctor or physician.
“Truth and transparency in informing patients about the level of training earned by the practitioner equips patients to make better personal health care choices,” said Keith Johnson, M.D., president of the Georgia Society of Anesthesiologists (GSA). GSA represents more than 1,400 physicians, anesthesiologist assistants, and students in advocacy and education in the state.
About the American Society of Anesthesiologists
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 56,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/madeforthismoment. Like ASA on Facebook and follow ASALifeline on Twitter.