June 26, 2020
ASA and Health Care Stakeholders Urge VA Secretary to Preserve Team-Based Anesthesia Care
On June 24, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) joined a group of health care stakeholder organizations in a formal joint communication to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie urging the Secretary to preserve team-based, physician-led anesthesia care for veterans.
In the formal letter, the stakeholder groups urged Secretary Wilkie to amend Directive 1899 as it relates to allowing non-physician healthcare professionals in 32 specialties to operate independently and rescind the Memorandum that encourages all VA medical facilities to allow nurse anesthetists to practice outside of the team-based model during the public health emergency.
ASA believes such a broad expansion is unnecessary and threatens patient safety. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care communities have been working side-by-side in teams caring for patients and saving lives. It is important now more than ever that physician-led health care teams work together, especially for veterans who are a particularly vulnerable patient population.
ASA has been working diligently to preserve the proven physician-led anesthesia care team model and will continue advocating for policies that protect quality anesthesia care and patient safety.
ASA urges its members to contact their lawmakers to oppose the Department of Veterans Affairs decision to dismantle team-based remove physician supervision in the VA. Contact your lawmaker.