June 15, 2018
Anesthesiologists not a Top Shortage; VA OIG Report Out Today
On Friday, June 15, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report detailing the occupational staffing shortages at its facilities, including among anesthesia providers. The review, which was conducted in January 2018, was distributed to 141 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities and included several categories of anesthesiology services, including anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists. In the top 31 specialties listed in the report, anesthesiologists are listed near the bottom at #26. Currently on usajobs.gov, there are fewer than 20 jobs for anesthesiologists throughout VA, which represents less than 2 percent of their employed physician anesthesiologists.
In the Final Rule, VA did not indicate there was a shortage of anesthesiologists and this continues to be true today. Veterans continue to get the care they deserve with access to high-quality, safe, physician-led anesthesia care. American Society of Anesthesiologists’ leadership and staff is continuing to review the 224-page report.
ASA remains committed to working closely with VA officials to ensure all Veterans have access to safe, high-quality health care. In January 2017, ASA applauded VA for releasing a Final Rule excluding nurse anesthetists, ensuring Veterans receive access to safe, high-quality physician-led anesthesia care. This decision came after more than 100,000 comments were submitted in support of preserving physician-led anesthesia care within VA, supported by VA leadership, Veterans’ organizations, more than 140 Members of Congress, and other Veteran health stakeholders, including the VA Chiefs of Anesthesiology and the Association of VA Anesthesiologists.
Since the ruling, ASA has closely monitored staffing levels at VA facilities and has worked collaboratively with VA to address any temporary and unexpected staff departures to ensure Veterans receive timely care.
This report is conducted as part of Congressionally mandated law that requires the OIG to annually determine the five clinical and five nonclinical VA occupations that have the largest staffing shortages at each medical facility.
Read the VA’s Report here: https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-18-01693-196.pdf