Although I am not a nurse anesthetist, I would like to respond to the letter, "New Medicare rule endangers patients." Nurse anesthetists have been administering anesthesia independently for more than 100 years. They possess advanced degrees and certification in this specialty. These nurses administer almost 80 percent of all anesthesia given in this country, especially in rural and underserved areas.
How would it be possible for the 20 percent of anesthesiologists to monitor the 8 percent of nurse anesthetists? Nurse anesthetists charge less than anesthesiologists, and documented research proves that patient outcomes are equal to or better than anesthesiologists. There is room for everyone on the health care team. It serves no useful purpose to scare the vulnerable populations we are committed to serve by disseminating erroneous information.
JANICE HOWARD, R.N.