Changes in legislature often greatly impact the healthcare environment through policy changes, clinical practice modifications, and financial adjustments. Anesthesia is one area of healthcare that is required to frequently adjust to changing procedures, laws, and hospital requirements and therefore must maintain flexibility. As of late March of this year, the state of Utah is experiencing this type of change.
On March 28th, 2016, the governor of Utah signed a bill that requires doctors to administer anesthesia to women having an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later. The main reasoning for this is based on a disputed idea that a fetus can feel pain at that point in pregnancy. Utah is the first and only state in the United States to require anesthesia at this stage of pregnancy during an abortion, and there has been great amounts of controversy surrounding the passing of this bill. According to a CBS News article, “Many doctors in Utah and across the country are concerned that the requirement could increase the health risks to women by giving them unnecessary heavy sedation in order to protect a fetus from pain that it may or may not feel.”
The conflict lies in whether or not the fetus feels pain at this stage. Many believe that if there is any chance at all that the fetus may feel pain, doctors must do their best to relieve that pain. Yet others argue that fetuses do not feel pain and that administering anesthesia at that stage could negatively affect women.
The debate continues as clinicians and hospitals in Utah are responding to this policy change. Although it is unclear which side of the conflict is “right” or “wrong,” it is clear that this bill was passed and that facilities in Utah must adjust their practices to adhere to law.
Somnia Anesthesia supports the clinicians in Utah who are facing these changes and understands the nature of such conflict. As an anesthesia practice management company, we are familiar and experienced with working with these types of facilities and can help your facility thrive. If your facility is in need of anesthesia guidance, please call us to schedule a free consultation or click here.