Iowa Society of Anesthesiologists Statement
The Iowa Society of Anesthesiologists represents more than 300 physician-anesthesiologists throughout Iowa. Our organization dedicates itself to protecting patient safety and ensuring all Iowans (rural and urban) have access to state of the art medical care.
The May 31st ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court grants the Iowa Board of Nursing unfettered authorization to expand scope of nursing practice, allowing nurses to engage in any medical specialty in direct opposition to applicable rules of the Iowa Board of Medicine and prior regulations in the Iowa Code. Moreover, this ruling is sharply out of step with Iowa public opinion, because it impedes many Iowans' opportunities for state of the art medical care by allowing nurses to engage in specialized care without a medical education. In a recent randomized public opinion survey, Iowa voters overwhelmingly expressed their expectation for licensed physicians to prescribe and deliver their medical care.
The Court’s order overturns an important 2011 Polk County District Court ruling. District Court Judge Artis Reis ruled that Iowa law does not allow nurses to engage in the practice of medicine without recognition from Iowa’s physicians. While we respect today's Iowa Supreme Court’s decision, we regret that this Court did not recognize the wisdom of prioritizing public safety and access to state of the art medical care for all Iowans in its deliberative process.
We also note that Chief Justice Cady firmly dissented from Friday's ruling, stating in part: "The medical profession clearly does not approve of the procedure at issue. Every Iowa medical professional society, board, or association that has weighed in on the question in this case has concluded the procedure should not be approved for registered nurses....There can be no doubt that the evidence in support of the Board [of Nursing] action falls short by any standard...."
Despite the Court’s ruling, the Iowa Society of Anesthesiologists will continue fighting to ensure all Iowans have access to state of the art medical care.
The complete opinion is available at: http://tinyurl.com/lgx8op2