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Congressmen Scott, Turner, and Garbarino Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans

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

The reintroduction of the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act follows a recent proposal from the VA to eliminate physician anesthesiologists from the team of doctors tasked with administering anesthesia during surgery and replace them with a “nurse-only” model. 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 once again introduce 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.”

“It is of the utmost importance that we provide our nation’s veterans with the highest standards of care. Our legislation, the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act, would prevent the VA from removing physician anesthesiologists from their current healthcare protocols. Retaining medical professionals who can safely administer anesthetic services is vital to maintaining the highest quality of health care for our veterans,” said Congressman Mike Turner.

“Over the course of the past two years, the VA has played fast and loose with requirements for physician involvement in the administering of anesthesia at VA facilities, creating uncertainty and undue risk for the health and safety of our nation’s heroes. Any policy to provide substandard care to our veterans is simply unacceptable,” said Rep. Garbarino. “I’m proud to cosponsor this bill to ensure experienced physicians are always the primary providers of anesthesia care for our veterans.”

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

Read more about the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act HERE.

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