In spite of an ASA nationwide campaign, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted a new national policy that will allow Medicare funds to be used to pay nurse anesthetists (NAs) to diagnose and treat chronic pain as long as NAs are permitted to perform these services under state law. CMS started paying NAs for chronic pain management services January 1, 2013.

Upon learning of the CMS proposal, ASA generated strong opposition to CMS’ proposal to pay NAs for chronic pain management. ASA’s grassroots network sprang into action, and nearly 2,000 anesthesiologists filed comments urging CMS to withdraw the proposal. ASA joined with the physician community to demonstrate the multidisciplinary nature of pain care and widespread concern about unqualified practitioners being paid to provide chronic pain management services through comment letters from the American Medical Association,...

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