Updated: 04/21/2014 10:50 PM
Created: 04/21/2014 4:47 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson
A subsection of a large bill going through the Minnesota legislature is causing quite the stir in the health care industry.
The bill (HF 435/SF 511) defines the duties and regulation of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs include nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialist, and nurse anesthetists. Supporters of the bill say it removes barriers for APRNs by allowing them to do certain work without a collaborative agreement with a physician.
But it's a section regarding registered nurse anesthetists that has doctors in the field of interventional pain medicine worried.
"Not everything in the state capitol is a matter of life or death, but this qualifies," said Dr. Louis Saeger, the president of the Minnesota Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.
Leaders in the field are traveling the state with a skeleton and needles. They're trying to show lawmakers just how dangerous their work can be.
"The thing about interventional pain management is that if an injection or procedure is done even one millimeter off target it can be the difference between pain relief, serious injury or death," said Dr. Andrew Will, the president of the Minnesota of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians.
The subsection would allow registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) to deliver nonsurgical treatments for chronic pain.
Saeger said nurses aren't trained to do the procedures.
"We do not need to lower the standards for a highly complex medical sub-specialty that involves but not limited to highly technical, potentially dangerous procedures," said Saeger.
The Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MANA) is a statewide professional organization of CRNAs. They support the legislation, saying the bill would allow for greater access to health care in rural areas.
Julie Hendricks, a CRNA in Duluth and on the association's board, said they aren't looking to expand their work. The group just wants to keep doing what they are doing.
"The CRNAs that are doing the simpler pain procedures right now don't want to harm their patients, but they want to be able to continue to provide the service to their patients that they've developed relationships with," she said.
Hendricks said CRNAs often administer labor epidurals, but a few specially trained in her field do administer pain injections, such as steroid injections.
The same bill died in the capitol four years because of the conflict around chronic pain medication.
The doctors in opposition to the subsection would like to do an informational audit with the Department of Health to get a better idea of what CRNAs do in Minnesota before they come up with an amendment.
Family of Duluth Stabbing Victim: 'She was Always Happy'
The family of a Duluth stabbing victim spoke out on Wednesday after the 71-year-old woman's tragic death allegedly by the hands of her own son. Mary's ex-son-in-law, Ted Beaudoin, said he's still in shock.
Duluth Police Identify 2 Suspects in Last Month's Central Hillside Shooting
The Duluth Police Department has identified two suspects they believe were involved with an August 19 shooting on the Central Hillside.
Former Teacher Pleads Guilty to Criminal Sexual Conduct Charge
A former Duluth teacher and adviser pleaded guilty to a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge on Wednesday. The charge stems from an alleged inappropriate relationship with a student at Harbor City International School back in 2009.
Last Defendant Sentenced in 'Last Place' Case
Joseph Gellerman has been sentenced to three years' probation for his role in the sale of synthetic drugs at the former Last Place on Earth store in downtown Duluth. Gellerman is the son of store owner Jim Carlson, who is appealing after receiving a 17-year sentence.
Wilf: 'We Made a Mistake' on Peterson Decision
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf says the team "made a mistake" by bringing back Adrian Peterson following his indictment on a felony child-abuse charge in Texas. In a reversal announced early Wednesday, Peterson will not play this Sunday.