Colorado Supreme Court Decision to uphold Governor Ritter's decision to opt Colorado out of the Medicare reimbursement requirement that the provision of anesthesia by CRNAs be supervised by a physician

The Colorado Supreme Court determined in June, 2015, that the governor "opting out" of Medicare physician supervision requirements for anesthesia delivered by CRNAs impacts only Medicare reimbursement and is not a determination of Colorado law. Colorado law continues to classify delivery of anesthesia by a CRNA as a delegated medical function subject to physician supervision. Such supervision is consistent with patient expectations and Colorado's application of the Captain of the Ship doctrine which designates legal responsibility for care of patients under anesthesia.

There is no dispute that nurse anesthetists are highly trained professionals; however, their training is shorter in duration, narrower in scope, and less comprehensive than the medical training of physicians. The Colorado Supreme Court's decision clarifies that the governor's decision is not a legal interpretation of either Colorado's Medical or Nursing Practice Acts.

 

The Colorado Medical Society and COPIC were featured in the Denver Business Journal cover story on issues in the 2015 General Assembly. The article connects the dots between political engagement and the legislative consequences to maintaining the stability of the current tort system.

Click here to read the full story.

The DBJ points to a battle in California that cost opponents $60 million to defeat a ballot initiative that would have raised the caps on medical-malpractice lawsuit damages. The DBJ said it’s not likely that the same fight will be repeated in the Colorado Legislature because of COPIC and CMS - the two biggest donor organizations to legislative candidates. Both hold stability of the medical liability system as a top legislative priority for 2015.

The two groups spent a combined $288,520 on winning candidates in 2014 and contributed their donations almost evenly - $145,700 to Democrats and $142,820 to Republicans, the DBJ cited in the article. In addition to strategic contributions, both organizations provide education to incumbents and newly elected legislators after the elections, which contributes to their success: It’s been six years since any attempt was made to raise medical malpractice caps and about 10 years since even small changes were made to medical tort law in the state.

“The Colorado General Assembly has made some very positive decisions in the past few years in both policy and funding that CMS has strongly supported,” CMS President Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, MD, said in the article. “We don’t always get what we want and no group does or should, but we feel good that our voice is heard and given fair consideration.”

 

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
 

John W Hickenlooper, Governor
136 State Capitol
Denver, CO 80203-1792

(303) 866-2471 | Fax (303) 866-2003
governor.hickenlooper@state.co.us

   
 
HOUSE - Current Regular Session scheduled to adjourn sine die on May 6, 2015
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SENATE - Current Regular Session scheduled to adjourn sine die on May 6, 2015
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