Gasline Newsletter June 2009

Volume 11, No. 2

National Health Care Reform Issues

CSA continues to work closely with the ASA on this issue. In addition, we are following developments at the Legislative and Practice Affairs Division and the Board of Directors level. ASA President Roger Moore has requested that we contact our Congressional Representatives with the bullet points and information below which is taken directly from his e-mail to members.

Any public plan option must not be based on Medicare payment rates
Physicians should be allowed to voluntarily participate
ASA has been a leader in the medical community coming out against any public plan based on Medicare payment rates. Though we have taken this message to the Senate and have been heard, it is now time we turn our attention to the U.S. House of Representatives, where committees last week released comprehensive draft health reform legislation. I'm calling on you NOW to send our message to your House Representatives. With four times as many Members in the House than in the Senate, we should generate four times as many contacts—that's 40,000 messages!

As I informed you last Friday, three key health care committees in the House-Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor, or the “Tri-Committee,” have released their version of health care reform legislation. We appreciate the Committees' commitment to ensuring that patients have access to affordable health insurance, as well as high-quality medical care.

However, there are a number of key portions of their 851-page bill that that would negatively impact our specialty. Our primary concern is that the draft bill proposes a government-run public plan option based on Medicare's unacceptably low rates for anesthesia care and pain medicine.

As a reminder, Medicare pays 33 percent of what private insurers pay for anesthesia services (according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office—GAO-07-463) and significantly discounts payments for pain services. An extension of the Medicare payment system—even short-term—would be extremely detrimental to our specialty.

As ASA has consistently stated, we remain open to a wide range of options for health reform. However, any public plan option considered by Congress must NOT be based on Medicare's unacceptably low payments. Further, physicians should be able to voluntarily participate should a public plan be established.

Please contact your U.S. Representative today:

Call the Capitol Switchboard, 202-225-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative.
Use CapWiz to send e-mails (templates are provided at this link)
New ASA Patient Information Web Site

On June 22, the ASA launched a new Web site designed to provide resources for patients looking for information about anesthesia. The site focuses exclusively on anesthesia care and is aligned with the ASA Lifeline Campaign, portraying our specialty as it should be—physicians deeply involved in the day-to-day care of patients.

CSA has posted a link to the new site on our Web site at the Patient Information page. Just click on the picture at the top right side of the page and it takes you to the new site. There is also a link from the home page under Hot Topics. To visit the new site, go to

According to the ASA President Roger Moore, “This site offers the public a modern interface and is a user-friendly resource for information on anesthesia care. Visitors to the site will have access to information about anesthesia, recommendations for successful procedures and patient stories.”

CSA Fall Hawaiian Seminar

Don't miss the CSA's Fall Hawaiian Seminar, October 26-30, 2009, on the Garden Isle of Kauai. CSA is offering a world-class scientific program in one of the most gorgeous locations on earth. Bring the family and earn CME in the morning, and play in paradise in the afternoon. Topics will include:

What We Can Learn From Closed Claims in Obstetric Anesthesia
Echocardiography for the Non-Cardiac Anesthesiologist
Sugammadex: Do We Need It: Will We Get It?
Depth of Anesthesia and Awareness
Prevention and Management of Pediatric Cardiac Arrest
New Options to Optimize Labor and Cesarean Delivery Analgesia
How to Avoid a Lawsuit
CSA Dues Statement

No dues increase in 2009! CSA dues statements for the new fiscal year (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010) were mailed the first week of June. If you have not received your statement, please give the CSA office a call, or simply renew online ( Many group practices have set up a “Group Billing Account” for their members. In this way, one check is written for everyone, saving both time, administrative hassle and mailing expense. If you practice does not already have a Group Billing account, simply ask your Group Administrator to contact Tom-Philip Baclagan at 650-345-3020 for more information.

As you consider your dues for the new fiscal year, remember—the profession depends on your support!

Linda B. Hertzberg, M.D.

The CSA Gasline, a monthly newsletter, is sent as a member service to CSA members who have e-mail addresses. If you wish to be removed from the mailing list, please send an e-mail to with the message “unsubscribe.”