Advocacy Update

Sept. 20, 2019: State Advocacy Update


Mississippi's Governor Phil Bryant recently announced his decision to deny a request to opt-out of the federal supervision requirement for anesthesia services provided by certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA).

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In explaining his decision, Governor Bryant noted he received more than 1,000 pieces of correspondence regarding the opt-out, including letters from the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure, Mississippi Osteopathic Medical Association (MOMA), American Osteopathic Association (AOA), American Medical Association, Mississippi State Medical Association, Mississippi Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Psychiatric Association, Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians and Mississippi Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. The fact that so many state and national specialty societies weighed in, including those societies not directly impacted by the opt-out, underscores the collective concern with maintaining patient safety. This advocacy clearly had a significant impact on the governor's decision.

Ultimately Governor Bryant determined the opt-out would not protect patient safety and was not in the best interest of the citizens of Mississippi, specifically quoting the letter submitted by the AMA stating, "Maintaining physician supervision or collaboration of nurse anesthetists is critical in maintaining patient safety." Governor Bryant also quoted the AOA and MOMA letter, which urged the governor "to protect the safety of Mississippi's patients and not 'opt-out' of the physician supervision requirements of CRNAs."

The AMA applauds the governor's choosing to protect the health and safety of patients in Mississippi and ensure anesthesia services continue to be performed only with appropriate physician oversight. This victory is yet another example of the power of medical associations working together on these important issues.