March 20, 2018
The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has joined the ranks of healthcare organizations that have come out in opposition to a clinical guideline issued in February by insurance company Anthem that directs ophthalmologists to assume responsibility for anesthesia administration and patient monitoring during routine cataract surgeries.
In a statement released on March 19, 2018, AANA President Bruce Weiner, DNP, MSNA, CRNA, said that AANA challenges the policy because procedures involving hypersensitive areas like the eyes require the presence of an anesthesia professional to administer medication and monitor patients without distraction.
Although cataract surgery is a very common procedure, the fact that most cataract surgery patients are older adults, and that many of these individuals are living with other chronic conditions, means that a qualified anesthesia professional should be present throughout the procedure, according to the statement. “Just like ophthalmology, anesthesiology is a complex science, requiring years of education, training and experience to ensure proper and safe practice,” Mr. Weiner said. “Ophthalmologists are no more qualified to administer anesthesia than CRNAs are to perform cataract surgery.”
For more information on the Anthem guideline, see ABC’s February 26, 2018 eAlert.