The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is urging the New Hampshire Supreme Court to uphold the New Hampshire Medical Board's decision that health care professionals using the term "anesthesiologist" must be licensed physicians and meet all the requirements to practice medicine in the state, according to an amicus curiae brief filed on behalf of ASA and the AMA.

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"Every patient deserves to be certain about who is performing their anesthesia care during a procedure or surgery," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, FACHE, FASA. "It is vital that all health care providers use only the titles that align with their license, education and training. Using anesthesiologist in combination with a nursing title only confuses patients. It is commonly understood, and many professional health care organizations agree—anesthesiology is the practice of medicine."

In the brief, ASA and AMA note that nurses are not anesthesiologists, in the same way that they are not physicians. The brief goes on to note, if the inaccurate title is allowed to be used in New Hampshire, essentially the court is approving how it was adopted, which could open the floodgates for manipulation of many more medical titles, making it nearly impossible to determine the nature of a health care provider's license, education and training based on their title. The brief further noted that allowing this inaccurate use of title will place New Hampshire outside of the established mainstream in the country. 

Read more here.

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