AHCA to withdraw language challenged by anesthesiologists

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The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration is expected to file a new rule Wednesday striking language that drew a protest from the Florida Society of Anesthesiologists. The FSA Tuesday filed a challenge to a rule proposed in April which would have expanded the scope of practice certified registered nurse anesthetists. The FSA argued by granting CRNAs supervisory authority AHCA had exceeded its authority and that the proposed language is not supported by logic and therefore the rule is irrational.

“We anticipate the changes will be filed today,” said Shelisha Coleman, AHCA spokeswoman. “But I want to be clear, the agency had already determined that we would strike the language before the FSA filed the challenged.”

The challenge noted that nowhere in Florida Statute is a CRNA authorized to supervise others in the performance of anesthesia services.  And that the proposed rule suggested a CRNA has authority to supervise an anesthesiologist and other physicians while Florida law specifically states that CRNAs must be supervised by a licensed physician and may perform only specific functions.

“They’re basically saying, ‘never mind,’” said FSA attorney Jerome Hoffman, about AHCA’s decision to withdraw the language.

During the spring legislative session anesthesiologists blocked a proposal expanding CRNA’s scope of practice. Many lawmakers view scope of practice legislation as a way to cope with a state physician shortage and to contain health care costs.

Florida rulemaking procedures restrict an agency’s proposed rules to being no more expansive than the statutes the rules were designed to implement.