Statement on the Medical Necessity of Anesthesiology Services
Developed By: Committee on Practice Management
Committee of Oversight: Economics
Last Amended: October 18, 2023 (original approval: October 16, 2013)
Anesthesiology is a discipline within the practice of medicine that involves the safeguarding and medical management of patients who are rendered unconscious and/or insensible to pain and emotional distress during surgical, obstetrical, and other medical procedures.
Whether anesthesiology services are medically necessary for a particular patient during a specific procedure requires expert medical judgment that must consider multiple factors including, but not limited to, patient preference, the patient’s underlying medical co-morbidities, the type of procedure, the potential interventions that may be needed to maintain hemodynamic and pulmonary stability, and the requirements of the physician performing the surgery/procedure. In addition, the medical necessity for anesthesiology services is independent of the amounts or types of medications that are given during the service.
This decision of necessity for anesthesiology services applies to all medical procedures, including screening or therapeutic procedures. For some patients, the availability of anesthesia services to alleviate pain and/or anxiety due to the procedure may be the determining factor to proceed.
It is unacceptable for a person to experience emotional or psychological duress or untreated pain amenable to safe intervention while under a physician’s care. ASA does not support determinations of medical necessity for anesthesiology services made independently by organizations or health insurance plans.