June 14, 2019
AMA Adopts ASA-Led Policy Opposing Misappropriation of Medical Titles
On June 12, the American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates adopted ASA-authored Resolution 228, which calls on AMA to oppose and work with state medical societies to prevent the misappropriation of medical specialties’ titles. The ASA Delegation to the AMA submitted Resolution 228 in response to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists’ recent efforts to misappropriate the term “anesthesiologist.” The resolution also reaffirms support of the Scope of Practice Partnership’s Truth in Advertising Campaign to ensure patients receive accurate information about who is providing their care.
Last summer, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists acknowledged the use of additional descriptors
for CRNAs including “nurse anesthesiologist.” The Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists immediately warned their members against using the term based on the state’s truth in advertising laws.
In New Hampshire, the Board of Nursing subsequently released a position statement
authorizing use of the optional descriptors “nurse anesthesiologist” and “certified registered nurse anesthesiologist.” The Board did so without any formal rules process or public comment period. Since that time, the New Hampshire Society of Anesthesiologists and ASA have strongly opposed the Board’s action and have requested a rescission of the position statement.
With the “nurse anesthesiologist” descriptor there is a high level of concern that other non-physician providers will initiate similar campaigns to misappropriate medical specialty titles; nurse radiologist, nurse cardiologist, and so forth could be around the corner in a state without strong truth in advertising state level laws. State component societies are strongly encouraged to review their existing laws to determine whether enhancements are necessary to protect patients from non-physician providers using confusing and inappropriate titles/descriptors.
Resolution 228 co-sponsors included: Arizona Medical Association, Illinois State Medical Society, Mississippi State Medical Association, Oklahoma State Medical Association, South Carolina Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, Medical Society of Virginia, Washington State Medical Association and the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.
Congratulations to the physician anesthesiologists in the AMA House of Delegates and supporting physicians throughout the House of Medicine for promoting this patient-centered, public safety resolution!