Anesthesiologist Assistants and Regional Neuraxial Anesthesia

From June 16, 2015

UPDATE FLORIDA BOARD OF MEDICINE 

AA Scope of Practice-Declaratory Statement

The Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists prevailed in its opposition to a Petition for Declaratory Statement filed with the Board of Medicine last month by an anesthesiologist and two anesthesiologist assistants. FANA moved to intervene in the Petition, on the grounds that the Petition involved a statutorily delineated area of practice that was currently exclusive to CRNAs and anesthesiologists.


•The Petitioners were requesting that the Board declare that the performance of epidural and spinal anesthetic procedures, including the placement of regional blocks, was within the scope of practice of an anesthesiologist assistant working under the direct supervision of the supervising anesthesiologist

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•Section 458.3475(3)(a), Florida Statutes (Performance of anesthesiologist assistants) lists the duties that an anesthesiologist assistant may perform under the direct supervision of an anesthesiologist.


• Among the 12 specific duties, the law states that an AA may “Assist the supervising anesthesiologist with the performance of epidural anesthetic procedures and spinal anesthetic procedures.”


The Petition essentially hinged on the Petitioners’ argument that words “assist” and “perform” were synonymous. FANA disagreed and argued that the statute was clear that AAs could only assist, and that the legislature intentionally differentiated between “performing” duties and “assisting” in duties.
Several Board members repeated our argument and a motion was made to deny the Petition.  Even though the Board’s Counsel advised the Board that “assist” and “perform” were intended to be synonymous, the Board agreed with FANA’s legal argument and voted 8-5 to deny the Petition, opining the performance of epidural and spinal anesthetic procedures, including the placement of regional blocks, was not within the scope of practice of an anesthesiologist assistant.

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