Neither Increased Access to Surgery Nor Reduced Costs Achieved in States That “Opt-Out” of Requiring Physician Supervision for Anesthesia (NewsWise)<http://www.
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“Opting-out” of the Medicare rule that requires anesthesia to be administered with physician supervision has little or no impact on access to either inpatient or outpatient surgery, according to a study published in Health Economics Review. Researchers also found the opt-out policy does not reduce costs, and in some cases may be associated with higher costs related to inpatient surgical care.
The study did not address why opting-out might increase costs. The researchers said several factors may contribute to this unexpected finding, including that nurse anesthetists may take longer to perform the same services, and working without physician supervision may lead to worse surgery outcomes, which requires additional treatment.
“The findings of this study underscore the point that before we make a policy or pass a new rule, we first need to rigorously study what the potential effects might be,” said study lead author John Schneider, PhD, CEO of Avalon Health Economics. “A lot of states thought that by opting-out of the federal requirement, they would be increasing access to care. It turns out that simply opting-out is not a guarantee of increased access.”