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Letter To The Editor: 2023 Legislative Session Had Some Accomplishments But Missed Opportunities

in Letter to the Editor

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Dear Editor:

The 2023 legislative session has passed, and while there were accomplishments, there were missed opportunities.

An important omission was the inability to pass a licensure bill for certified anesthesiologist assistants (CAA’s), a nationally recognized health care provider role that has been around since the late 1974.

CAA’s train in colleges of medicine at universities like Emory or Case Western Reserve for two years with a challenging graduate level curriculum after an even more rigorous admissions process. 

Their education makes them uniquely proficient in contemporary patient monitoring and interpretation of data in all anesthesia environments. Additionally, they already work in 20 jurisdictions around the country, including in many academic and tertiary care medical centers.

Why is this important to Wyoming?

Some Wyoming natives have successfully trained and begun their careers as CAA’s.   They are smart, hard-working health care providers who want to move home…. to Wyoming.  But with no licensure in this state, they can’t.

Many give lip service to fighting the “brain drain” of losing our kids who move out of state to pursue their careers.  Establishing a license costs the state virtually nothing and adds opportunity for our youth. 

 Sadly, nurse anesthetists oppose the CAA license as they don’t want the competition, ignoring the benefits to Wyoming’s economy and patients.  On the other hand, anesthesiologists embrace having another well-trained member of the anesthesia care team as an option.

Exiling Wyoming natives because we lack a license makes no sense, and it is overdue we fix this. CAAs are important to a physician-led care team model that ensures patients receive high quality, safe anesthesia care.


John Mansell, MD, FASA, Gillette
President, Wyoming Society of Anesthesiologists

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