Governor Jesse Ventura Removes Physician Supervision for Nurse Anesthetists

 Park Ridge, Ill.

For Immediate Release
April 22, 2002   
For more information
Christpher Bettin

Governor Jesse Ventura Removes Physician Supervision for Nurse Anesthetists

Gov. Jesse Ventura has informed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that Minnesota is opting out of the federal physician supervision requirement for nurse anesthetists because it is in the best interest of citizens. The opt out is effective immediately.

Minnesota is the fourth state after Iowa, Nebraska, and Idaho, to opt out from the federal requirement, as permitted in a November 13, 2001 rule published in the Federal Register [66 FR56762-56769]. The rule allows a governor to notify CMS in writing of a state’s desire to opt out (be exempt from) the supervision requirement 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 the state law, and decides that it is in the best interest of the state’s citizens.

In his letter to CMS, Gov. Ventura added that his office consulted with the medical and nursing boards, the attorney general and various other interested parties regarding this matter and concluded that the exemption is consistent with Minnesota state law.

"Opting out of the supervision requirement will truly benefit the citizens of Minnesota," said Lisa Citak, president of the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists. "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. MANA applauds Gov. Ventura for recognizing this and for taking action."

MANA has long been an advocate of patient rights. In February of this year, MANA appealed and won the reversal of a lower court’s decision, and is now able to proceed with a $1 billion Medicare fraud lawsuit. Citak said that MANA’s case will result in long-overdue changes for patients. She said that, until now, anesthesia billing has been an invisible service in hospitals, driven by the billing practices of anesthesiologists rather than what works best for patients and payors. MANA’s lawsuit will throw light on the billing practices for anesthesia services.