April 04, 2019
Arkansas lawmakers maintain physician supervision in anesthesia care
This week, the Arkansas Legislature officially rejected legislation that would have removed physician supervision of nurse anesthetists. Senate Bill 184 would have authorized nurse anesthetists to practice “in coordination with” a physician, instead of under their supervision, although coordination was not defined. The Arkansas Society of Anesthesiologists (ArSA), the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Arkansas Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, and the Arkansas Medical Society, among others, all strongly opposed this bill.
ArSA physicians across the state voiced their strong opposition to this bill through numerous emails, calls, texts and in-person meetings with lawmakers and governor’s staff.
Although the bill made it through the Senate, the House Public Health Committee had to consider the bill twice before securing enough votes for it to advance. On Tuesday, April 2, the Arkansas House of Representatives considered SB 184, but ultimately, it failed to obtain the required votes to move forward to the governor’s desk. On Wednesday, April 3, the House again considered the bill where it failed again. With the House’s second rejection, the bill will no longer be considered for this legislative session.
Due to the combined efforts of ArSA, ASA, and concerned Arkansas citizens and patients, state lawmakers heard the numerous concerns regarding this legislation and acted accordingly. ASA commends Arkansas lawmakers for putting patient safety first and voting against this bill.