Gasline Newsletter October 2008

Volume 10, No. 5

Ultrasound for Regional Anesthesia, December 6, 2008

The CSA will hold its first ever Ultrasound Guided Regional Anesthesia Workshop on December 6, 2008, at the Westin San Francisco Airport. Directed by Edward Mariano, M.D., of the University of California in San Diego, the program will be limited to 42 students (seven per station), so if you want to be part of this workshop, sign up soon. There are still 15 openings at this time. The price for CSA members is $495.

Billing for Noncontracted Services

The California DMHC regulations defining the billing of HMO patients by non-contracting physicians for emergency services as an “unfair billing pattern” went into effect on October 15. The CSA, in conjunction with the CMA and others, filed a lawsuit on September 26 to challenge these regulations, and hearings on the case will begin in November. The CMA has developed a “Toolkit” to advise its members on the appropriate course of action with regard to this issue until the lawsuit is resolved. The CSA has made the Toolkit available to its members in the “members only” section of the CSA Web Site.

Final 2008 Legislative Status

CSA Legislative Counsel William E. Barnaby, Sr. and Jr. have been working diligently this year in your behalf. Their annual Final Legislative Status also is posted in the “members only” section of the CSA Web Site.

Update from the ASA Annual Meeting

The ASA House of Delegates considered several controversial issues at the recently concluded Annual Meeting in Orlando. Administratively, the House approved several big-ticket spending items including the creation of an ASA Quality Institute, a wellness program for anesthesiologists and the purchase of additional land adjacent to the ASA headquarters building in Chicago. The Quality Institute will create and maintain a database, similar to that so successfully developed by the thoracic surgeons, for benchmarking and demonstration of quality in anesthetic practice. This project, which is clearly in its earliest stages, will require a significant commitment of resources to reach completion.

A proposal by the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia for subspecialty certification in Advanced Pediatric Anesthesia was one of the most hotly debated items on the House's agenda. The request, which had initially been directed to the ABA and was, in turn, forwarded to the ASA for its input, was soundly defeated despite the testimony of several ardent supporters from the children's hospital community. Keep in mind that ASA's input on this issue is purely advisory, and the ultimate decision rests solely with the ABA.

Finally, after years of grappling with the issue, the House approved a policy excluding student nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) from the definition of “qualified anesthesia personnel.” Practically speaking, the policy will affect practices supervising SRNAs in the same ratios as CRNAs or anesthesiology residents. The new policy would in essence require that anesthesiologists supervise SRNAs at a 1:1 ratio, except in emergency or unpredicted circumstances.

CSA Winter Hawaiian Seminar

Beat the winter blahs! Attend the CSA's Winter Hawaiian Seminar, January 19-23, 2009, at the beautiful Hyatt Maui Resort & Spa. Learn the latest on pain medicine, malignant hyperthermia, preeclampsia/eclampsia, tracheal stenosis and pulmonary stenting, anesthesia for emergency surgery in infants, hypotoxemia during one-lung ventilation, and more.

Michael W. Champeau, M.D.

The California Society of Anesthesiologists (1948 - 2008) celebrates 60 years of dedication to patient safety, compassionate care, and physician advocacy

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