CSA News

California Legislature Recognizes Importance of Physician Anesthesiologists

Feb 04, 2021
Annual Physician Anesthesiologist Week Marked by Legislative Resolution Honoring the Specialty as it Plays a Particularly Critical Role Saving Lives During the Pandemic

Sacramento, CA (February 4, 2021) – The California Legislature recognized the critical role that physician anesthesiologists play in providing safe patient care for surgeries, pain management, and during the COVID-19 crisis by designating the week of January 31- February 6, 2021 as Physician Anesthesiologist Week. Assembly Member Heath Flora (R-Ripon) introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 11 which was passed today.  

“Physician anesthesiologists have always been on the front lines saving lives and ensuring the best patient outcomes. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the incredible ways anesthesiologists move seamlessly from the perioperative and pain medicine realm to critical care and crisis management,” said Jeffrey Poage, MD, President of the California Society of Anesthesiologists.

Anesthesiologists have expertise in pulmonary physiology, critical care medicine, ventilation strategies, resuscitation, intubation, and pain management. These have proven to be uniquely valuable in leading hospital intubation teams and safely managing COVID-positive patients in critical care settings.

“As a first responder myself, I know the importance of thinking quickly in a crisis and making the right decisions that save lives,” said Assembly Member Flora. “I appreciate the extensive training that anesthesiologists undertake so that they are ready to evaluate tough situations and take actions that not only save patients but also keep their healthcare teams safe from the dangers of COVID-19 exposure and infection.”

The Assembly resolution noted: “Physician anesthesiologists are guardians of patient safety in health care: in the operating room, in the delivery room, in the intensive care unit, in pain management clinics, and on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.” It also highlighted research that found:

  • There is up to a 20-percent reduction in adverse events when physician anesthesiologists lead the anesthesia care team; and

  • The American Medical Association completed a public opinion survey that concluded 70 percent of patients want a physician to administer and monitor anesthesia levels.

The California Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Society of Anesthesiologists have highlighted the importance of the extensive education and skills training that positions their specialty to provide the highest quality, safest care, and the best patient outcomes. Physician anesthesiologists have 12 to 14 years of education and 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training; and while nurse anesthetists play a valuable role on the anesthesia care team, they only have half the education and 2,500 hours of training and cannot replace a physician. The CSA and ASA oppose any legislative or regulatory policies that eliminate patient-centered, physician-led anesthesia care.

The California Society of Anesthesiologists just released new video highlighting anesthesiologists on the frontlines of the pandemic and demonstrating the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The video can be found here and shared using the hashtags #CSAproud #Anesthesiologists #ThisisOurShot #VaccinesSaveLives and tagging @CSAHQ.

The California Society of Anesthesiologists is a physician organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of the anesthesiology profession. CSA provides public education, offers valuable resources and insight for anesthesiologists’ practice and engages in healthcare policy-making in California. For more information visit http://www.csahq.org/

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