SCHAUMBURG, Ill. – The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the New Mexico Society of Anesthesiologists (NMSA) strongly oppose SB 222, which will remove physician involvement from anesthesia care in New Mexico and authorize nurse anesthetists to replace physician anesthesiologists.  

ASA and NMSA urge the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee to vote no on SB 222, which will lower the standard of care and jeopardize the lives of New Mexicans receiving anesthesia.

“Despite advances in medicine and patient safety, surgery and anesthesia are inherently dangerous,” said ASA President Linda Mason, M.D., FASA. “Physician anesthesiologists are highly skilled medical experts who have the education and training to make critical decisions in an emergency. People want a physician to administer their anesthesia or respond in an emergency.”

Physician anesthesiologists have up to 14 years of post-graduate medical education and residency training, which includes 12,000-16,000 hours of clinical training, nearly seven times more training than nurse anesthetists.

Current laws in 45 states and the District of Columbia all require physician involvement for anesthesia care and the VA in 2017 decided to maintain its physician-led, team-based model of care. The VA’s Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) could not discern “whether more complex surgeries can be safely managed by CRNAs, particularly in small or isolated VA hospitals where preoperative and postoperative health system factors may be less than optimal.”

Additionally, there are no cost savings for patients in New Mexico to receive anesthesia care solely by a nurse anesthetist. Physician supervision of anesthesia ensures patients receive safe, high-quality care. ASA and NMSA urge the state not to lower the standard of care in New Mexico. It provides no benefit and can mean the difference between life and death.



Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 53,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit Like ASA on Facebook and follow ASALifeline on Twitter.


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