E-mail letters, Sept. 29, 2010

No ‘opt out’ of physician supervision

Since 1909, the tradition of the nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is well-established to extend the care and plan of a physician within a scope of practice for which the nurse is trained. This training does not encompass diagnosis or independent decision-making, is years shorter, less rigorous and based upon supervision as compared with that of a physician. Training a physician anesthesiologist requires eight or more years of coursework and
clinical practice in a setting that is unpredictable and constantly evolving.

In a recent letter to the editor, Ms. Akers says “70 percent of rural Colorado” is served by CRNAs without a reference. Feeling uncomfortable “under the supervision of a doctor who has little or no training in anesthesia” requires addressing that specific situation and not further complicating it by freeing her from supervision.

St Mary’s Hospital is staffed by physician anesthesiologists with no CRNAs. The remaining hospitals in Grand Junction have a very small number of supervised CRNAs . Why suddenly liberate CRNAs without changing or extending their training? This is dangerous and misguided.

Thirty-five states have mandated nurse anesthetist supervision. Question elected officials who support the “opt out” initiative. This is a financial and political battle, not one in the best-interest of good medical care.

Call Gov. Bill Ritter’s office to ask specific questions about both physician and nurse training in anesthesiology by speaking to one of his health care representatives, Ken Weil or Lorez Meinhold.

Demand unbiased data and facts beyond a scripted response. See the Colorado Society of
Anesthesiology website (http://www.csa-online.org). Finally, review specific, unbiased data to support improved patient care under a physician anesthesiologist at the following address: http://www.asahq.org/Washington/nurseanesscope.pdf.

Angela Pennell, M.D.
Pediatric Anesthesiologist
Anesthesia Consultants of Western Colorado
St. Mary’s Hospital
Grand Junction


Herzog’s comments show
he is not really a centrist

In his Sept. 21 column, Denny Herzog claimed to be a political centrist and went on to praise Michael Bloomberg as one of his heroes. The article was titled “Bloomberg offers hope for the political centrists.”

I beg to differ with his self-proclaimed designation as a centrist. He appears to me to be over a left-field fence, throwing rocks at the pitcher’s mound.

According to Herzog, “the centrists were disenfranchised by the scorched-earth canon of Fox news, MSNBC, Limbaugh , Hannity, Palin, Oblbermann, Maddow, O‘Reilly etc.  They are quaint and at one time served some useful purpose. But today they are relegated to the trash bin.”

He goes on to tout Bloomberg as a centrist because he has been a Republican and a Democrat and is now an independent. He also is going on the road this fall to support Harry Reid and Meg Whitman.

Bloomberg is taking care of Bloomberg. A recent Forbes magazine rated his net worth at approximately $18 billion, and he owns a worldwide news organization. In my opinion, this is why he is catering to the Muslims regarding the mosque near Ground Zero. Strictly business.

He is catering to Harry Reid for the same reason.

I think Herzog should take some time out and determine which part of the current political spectrum he fits in. Based on his comments, he ain’t no centrist.
William F. McKnight
Grand Junction


Salazar has solid record
of supporting sportsmen

I read with interest a recent story about Rep. John Salazar and challenger Scott Tipton and which one has the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. A later Gary Harmon article confirms that Salazar gets the nod from the gun-rights group.

Although I am not a member of the NRA, I am a lifelong sportsman. I have known the Salazar family since I lived in the San Luis Valley in the 1970s. Rep. Salazar is an avid sportsman and he comes from a ranching family that cares about wildlife and the outdoors.

As a legislator, John has always supported the interests of those of us who hunt and fish. The endorsement of the NRA is one thing, but a proven track record of supporting hunting, fishing and wildlife is good enough to get me to vote for John Salazar.
Ron Velarde
Grand Junction



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