WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Mike Turner (OH-10), David Scott (GA-13), and Andrew Garbarino (NY-02) reintroduced the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs physicians continue to provide our nation’s veterans with the highest standards of care. Specifically, this bill would prevent the VA from removing expert physician anesthesiologists from the department’s current model of anesthesia care.
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. Currently, the VA’s official policy directs a physician anesthesiologist to lead a team of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) to jointly monitor patients and 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.
“It is of the utmost importance that we provide our nation’s veterans with the highest standards of care,” said Congressman Mike Turner. “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.”
“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.”
“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 Congressman Andrew 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 the full text of the Protect Lifesaving Anesthesia Care for Veterans Act here.