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No matter how quickly you tried to switch the television channel lately, you probably couldn’t escape the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray or avoid hearing about propofol, an anesthesia drug that can be fatally easy to use.

What you may not have heard is that the American people just dodged a serious threat to their anesthesia care, and most don’t know how near a miss it was.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued new rules concerning the conditions of participation in Medicare and Medicaid for hospitals and health care providers. Despite intense pressure, CMS sensibly left in place the rule that requires nurse anesthetists to be supervised by physicians. We should all be thankful, and stay on guard in case anyone tries to change that rule again.

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