Except from: Cooperation is critical: AMA and ASA working togetherAugust 20, 2005 American Society of AnesthesiologistsBoard of Directors Meeting Rosemont, ILJ. Edward Hill, MDPresidentAmerican Medical AssociationScope of Practice The work we have done together in Washington gives evidence to the AMA's rallying cry "Together we are stronger."Yet we are also working together on issues of mutual concern outside the Beltway.One of these shared concerns is ensuring appropriate scope of practice for health professionals.I have noted with interest your recent efforts to foster improved relations and dialogue with nurse anesthetists.I appreciate your desire to keep the line of communication open, but to draw the line when it comes to patient health and safety.Like you, the AMA respects the health care professionals who work with us in our offices and in hospitals, and who can function as physician "extenders" in areas where physicians are in great demand and short supply.In my rural family practice, for example, I have worked with midwives with great success.However, the operative word in the previous sentence is "with," meaning, "in cooperation with," or "as part of a physician-led team."However, not all allied health professionals see it this way.And so, like you, the AMA has grown increasingly concerned about various and troubling encroachments on physician practice.In response to these concerns, we have been working with state and national medical specialties to create what has been named the Scope of Practice Partnership.ASA has played a leading role in its formation and provided us with vital input, thanks to the work of Ron Bruns and Ron Szabat.This is what the partnership will do:It will provide financial or in kind support to federation members facing significant scope of practice battles.It will also fund studies:To determine whether allied health professionals truly fill health care voids in rural and other underserved areas.To closely examine the education and training of allied health professionals - and provide this information as a point of comparison for legislators. The partnership also will serve as an information and advocacy clearing house for the Federation on scope of practice issues. Our AMA will house and staff the partnership, as well as provide a basic level of support. Additional support will come from state and specialty societies.Each initiative - be it a state-specific concern or a research study - will be considered by the partnership on a case-by-case basis.An executive committee will: Review the issues Assist in prioritizing scope-of-practice concernsEnsure adherence to anti-trust laws ANDFocus on maintaining the highest level of cooperation, coordination and consensus between federation members I know we will continue to work closely with one another on scope of practice - as well as on two other issues of critical importance to medicine: Medical liability reform and Medicare payment.