March 19, 2020
ASA Continues Work on COVID-19 Response, Monitoring AANA and Health Insurers
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is continuing to work with the Trump Administration, Congress and other stakeholders to support physician anesthesiologists and their practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, ASA is aware of efforts by some organizations to leverage the COVID-19 crisis to their benefit.
The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has announced that its top COVID-19-related priority is a new push to dismantle team-based anesthesia as a part of the federal government’s COVID-19 response. The AANA’s oddly-timed campaign is taking place despite decreasing surgical volumes associated with the federal government’s recommendation that non-essential surgeries be postponed. ASA has been in communication with Administration officials and has acted to ensure that all patients continue to receive the highest-quality health care. ASA will continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of physician anesthesiologists and front-line physicians with a focus on expanded access to personal protective equipment (PPE), economic support for physician anesthesiologists and their practices, and working with the federal government on issues related to ventilators and critical care workforce.
Additionally, ASA is aware of health insurance industry efforts to leverage public health and COVID-19 relief efforts to advance insurer-friendly surprise medical bill legislation in an end-run around the legislative process. ASA has been in contact with key lawmakers and staff on the subject and continues to urge Congress to take action by holding patients harmless from surprise medical bills and providing a fair, balanced dispute resolution process that does not include government rate-setting.
ASA is continuing to closely monitor these and other legislative and regulatory developments.