The Utah Society of Anesthesiologists (USA) first advocated for an anesthesiologist assistant (AA) licensure bill during the 2009 legislative session. After several attempts and years of hard work, the USA finally achieved its goal earlier this year when Gov. Spencer J. Cox signed into law Utah Senate Bill 121, the Anesthesiologist Assistant Licensing Act. Although each state's circumstances are unique, the formula described below worked in Utah. Perhaps our experience and lessons learned can be helpful to other state component societies considering AA licensure in their states.

In Utah, anesthesiologists provide the majority of anesthesia services. Currently, Utah has about 475 practicing anesthesiologists compared to approximately 250 nurse anesthetists. The state is dominated by two large anesthesiology groups and several medium ones, some of whom currently employ nurse anesthetists and others who do not.

The USA ran into hard political realities in its recent efforts to pass AA licensure. For...

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