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Congressman David Scott Unveils Bipartisan Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act

Congressman David Scott (GA-13), Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) and Congressman Andrew Garbarino (NY-02) today unveiled the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act, a bipartisan bill to ensure that veteran patients in need of anesthesia would continue to receive the most qualified and experienced care available by Department of Veterans’ Affairs physicians. The legislation would prohibit the removal or replacement of expert physician anesthesiologists at the VA with nurses when administering surgery-related anesthesia.

The introduction of the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act follows a proposal that would eliminate physician anesthesiologists from the team of doctors tasked with administering anesthesia during surgery and replace them with a “nurse-only” model at VA hospitals. The VA’s current policy directs a physician anesthesiologist to lead a team of certified registered nurse anesthetists to jointly monitor patients and together provide safe anesthesia care to veterans. This universally adopted model of care is used when treating civilians at the nation’s top medical facilities, including the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Emory University Hospitals and is also the law in 46 states.  

“Our veterans have earned the best quality of care available and should never be subjected to a lower standard of anesthesia care than the general public,” said Congressman David Scott. “Experts across the country are clear – any effort to remove the most qualified and experienced doctors from providing anesthesia can and will unnecessarily risk the lives of our veterans, especially during lifesaving surgical care. I am pleased to lead the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act to ensure our nation’s heroes and their families continue to receive the full industry-standard of quality care.”

“The men and women who have risked their lives for our country should receive the best health care – this means providing them with physician anesthesiologists,” said Congressman Mike Turner. “It is of moral importance that the VA retain staff who can safely administer anesthesia to veteran’s undergoing surgery. This bill would prevent the VA from removing experts and will enforce better care for our veterans.” 

“Our nation’s Veterans have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Congressman Andrew Garbarino. “They deserve the highest quality of care we can offer them at VA health care facilities. Despite vocal opposition from veterans and their families, VA anesthesiologists, and other stakeholders, this corner-cutting policy remains in place – posing an unnecessary and unacceptable health risk to our veterans. I am proud to co-sponsor the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act to ensure our veterans receive the quality health care they deserve.”

Full text of the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act here.

The bill has been endorsed by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. (MVA).

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