Senate Bill 50 (SB50) is being hastily and quietly pushed through the state legislature under the guise of "modernizing" the scope of practice for nurse anesthetists in the state of South Dakota.
SB50 is, however, a radical departure from how this and most other states regulate the practice of nurse anesthetists. In an unprecedented manner, it will change three very critical and concerning things: SB50 will eliminate the requirement for physician collaboration in the delivery of anesthesia. It will authorize nurse anesthetists to independently prescribe opioid pain medications in any clinical setting, not just in the operating room. It will authorize nurse anesthetists to practice pain medicine, a medical speciality that is unique and different from the practice of anesthesia, and for which nurse anesthetists have no exposure to during the course of their standard training program.
Physician training is twice that of a nurse anesthetist. Adding additional providers who can prescribe dangerous opioid pain medications with no formal training seems to be inconsistent with the national trend of limiting the use of opioid pain medications.
Pain medicine physicians undergo years of specialized training to be able to perform complex and potentially dangerous X-ray guided procedures. In untrained hands, these procedures could be crippling or lethal.
SD50 does not save money or increase access. Don't let special interest groups jeopardize the safety of South Dakotans. Oppose SD50.
James T. Brunz. M.D.
President, SD Society
Sioux Falls, Feb. 17