ASA today is a big tent, with almost 53,000 physician members who work in many settings – small groups and large corporate departments, and academic and private practice. ASA endorses the team concept of anesthesia-care delivery and welcomes non-physicians as educational members.
Yet one question never fails to inspire impassioned pro and con debate among physicians within ASA: is it realistic to think that the solo model – the practice of physicians personally administering anesthesia care – can survive?
Clearly, the anesthesia care team is already the prevalent model in most of the country except for the west coast. In California, for instance, physician anesthesiologists outnumber nurse anesthetists by more than 3.5 to one (according to the ASA Health Policy Research Department), and many physician-only groups declare no intention of changing their practice model.
In the nation as a...