Minnesota doctors concerned over legislation involving pain injections

By KBJR News 1

April 22, 2014 Updated Apr 22, 2014 at 5:48 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- A group of Minnesota physicians is speaking out against legislation that would allow nurses to give patient spinal pain injections.

The doctors visited Duluth Monday to share their concerns over two bills in the Minnesota legislature that would allow nurse anesthetists to administer complex and complicated interventional pain procedures without the direct supervision of a doctor.

The doctors say, they are not properly trained.

Physicians who practice interventional pain medicine point out they go through 14 years of training...compared with seven years of training for certified registered nurse anesthetists.

The doctors say patient safety is their primary concern.

"We can not afford to lower Minnesota's standard of patient care and safety by allowing unqualified people to perform these extremely precise and potentially dangerous procedures," said Dr. Michael Semotuk, MD, with the Center for Diagnostic Imaging.

The doctors are asking the lawmakers to follow the lead of states like Oklahoma and Missouri which recently passed laws designating interventional pain management as within the practice of medicine conducted by physicians.

In response to the Doctors concerns, the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists issued a statement Monday night.

It says CRNAs already provide safe and accessible anesthesia and pain management services to Minnesotans - and have been doing so for decades in collaboration with physicians.

THE M.A.N.A. adds in 60 percent of Minnesota's counties, CRNAs are the only professionals available to deliver anesthesia and pain management services.

And Medicare reimbursing them for these services.

The Association says the legislation now under consideration in St. Paul would simply allow them to clarify the scope of their practice.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati