Govenor Kempthorne Removes Physician Supervision for Nurse Anesthetists


For Immediate Release
March 14, 2002
For more information
contact Christopher Bettin

Gov. Kempthorne Removes Physician Supervision for Nurse Anesthetists

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne today informed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that Idaho is opting out of the physician supervision requirement for nurse anesthetists because it "is in the best interests of Idaho’s citizens, rural communities and hospitals." The opt-out is effective immediately.

Idaho follows Iowa and Nebraska in taking advantage of an anesthesia care rule published by CMS in the Federal Register [66 FR 56762-56769] on November 13, 2001. The rule allows a governor to notify CMS in writing of the state’s desire to opt out (be exempt from) the supervision requirement for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) after the governor meets the following prerequisites: consults with the state’s boards of medicine and nursing, determines that opting out of the requirement is consistent with state law, and decides that it is in the best interests of the state’s citizens.


In his letter to CMS, Gov. Kempthorne added that his office consulted with the medical and nursing boards and concluded that the exemption is consistent with Idaho state law.

The majority of Idaho’s hospitals rely solely on CRNAs to provide safe anesthesia care to patients. As always, Idaho’s CRNAs will work closely with surgeons, obstetricians, and other doctors in the delivery of patient care.

"Opting out of the supervision requirement is great news for the citizens of Idaho," said Jolene Walters, CRNA, president of the Idaho Association of Nurse Anesthetists (IANA). "CRNAs have long provided safe anesthesia care to patients of all ages, for all types of procedures, and in every setting in which anesthesia care is delivered. IANA applauds Gov. Kempthorne for recognizing this and for taking this action."

According to an Institute of Medicine report published in October 1999, anesthesia care today is nearly 50 times safer than it was 20 years ago. CRNAs administer 65 percent of the anesthetics given each year in the United States, and are the predominant anesthesia providers in rural and other medically underserved areas. Without these advanced practice nurses many of the facilities serving these areas would be unable to maintain surgical, obstetric and trauma stabilization services.

About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists