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Adding to the anesthesia care team

Certified anesthesiologist assistants provide safe, high-quality anesthesia in 16 states and the District of C

This is an exciting and challenging time in health care, with an estimated 10,000 baby boomers reaching retirement age every day and entering a health care system that is strained to capacity.

That is why it was disappointing to read Jacqueline C. Mitchell's letter opposing legislation to add certified anesthesiologist assistants to hospital and clinic anesthesia care teams ("No room for error in the operating room," Feb. 2).

Certified anesthesiologist assistants are not unique to Maryland. They provide safe, high-quality anesthesia in 16 states and the District of Columbia and practice a proven model of care in which physician anesthesiologists work as a team with anesthesiology residents, certified anesthesiologist assistants and nurse anesthetists.

There are almost 1,900 certified anesthesiologist assistants in the U.S. today. Job requirements include a master's degree and certification in advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support. Certified anesthesiologist assistants must pass an initial certification exam and a recertification test every six years.

As leaders in patient safety, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Maryland Society of Anesthesiologists believe that the patient-centered, physician-led team care model is the safest approach to ensuring that every patient receives the highest quality of care.

Amar Setty, Annapolis

The writer is president of the Maryland Society of Anesthesiologists.

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