Recent Postings

  1. WVSSA and ASA dues for 2015 are now due, and canbe paid by credit card at, Members must belong to both the national and state (component) societies. Active ASA membership costs $665,  affiliate $335, residents $25 and medical students $10 per year. Active WVSSA membership costs $200 and affiliate $100. WVSSA membership is free for residents and students.


Membership benefits include education, advocacy, and practice support. Find more information on benefits at,


  1. Several WV anesthesiologists attended the ASA Practice Management Conference in Atlanta in January.
Charleston anesthesiologists - Drs Eric Persily and Alex Skaff at the 2015 Practice Management Conference (Left) Charleston anesthesiologists, Drs. Eric Persily and Alex Skaff at the Practice Management Conference
(Below) Morgantown anesthesiologists, Drs. Jessica Jajorsky, Robert Johnstone, Jeff Gao and Jeremiah Jeffers at the Conference. Wheeling anesthesiologist, Dr. Matt Watkins is behind them.
Morgantown anesthesiologists - Drs Jessica Jajorsky - Robert Johnstone - Jeff Gao and Jeremiah Jeffers at the 2015 Practice Management Conference - Wheeling anesthesiologist -Dr. Matt Watkins is behind them

John Abenstein, MD, ASA President, updated conference attendees on ASA and anesthesiologist activities:

  1. The ABA plans to change requirements for Maintenance of Certification. These tentatively include dropping the simulation requirement and high-stakes cognitive test.
  2. The Perioperative Surgical Home, where adopted, is improving quality of care and reducing patient costs. It appears to be a game-changer, promoting the value of anesthesiologists.
  3. The Anesthesia Quality Institute National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry has 23 million cases, and is adding 10 million cases this year. It is  producing useful data, proving the value of anesthesiologist care.
  4. Outcomes of anesthesia care have improved steadily over the past 5 years – why is not clear.
  5. The Veterans Administration may propose that nurse anesthetists practice independently. If it does, we need all anesthesiologists to offer public comments. It is too risky to not have a physician anesthesiologist administer or lead the anesthesia care team.
  6. All Medicare payments, including those for anesthesia care, will decrease in three months unless the Sustainable Growth Rate is adjusted. Congress will probably make another temporary fix to the SGR formula.
  7. In addition to its Annual Meeting in October, the ASA sponsors other useful meetings, including the Practice Management Conference in January, Legislative Conference in May, Perioperative Surgical Home Summit in June, and Quality Meeting in November. ASA members can attend at reduced rates.
  8. The 2015 Legislative Conference is May 4-6 in Washington DC. The WVSSA will again sponsor members to attend the conference and visit their congressmen and senators. We would like members from all three congressional districts. Active members receive free registration and $250 towards expenses. Resident members receive reimbursement of their regular expenses. Let Dr. Johnstone, WVSSA Sect-Treas, know if you would like to attend.
  9. The WVSSA will hold its annual education and business meetings August 29 and 30 at The Greenbrier, in conjunction with the state medical Healthcare Summit. Please let Dr. Johnstone know if you would like to present a talk at the meeting, or have a speaker or topic you would like to hear.
  10. The ASA Board of Directors will meet in Chicago March 7 and 8, with Drs. Robert Johnstone and Alex Skaff representing WV anesthesiologists. The agenda and pertinent information will be available at, Any WVSSA member with thoughts on board items can send them to either Dr. Johnstone or Skaff.
  1. Advocacy
  2. WVSSA member Paul Kempen, MD, PhD has campaigned for more flexible and less expensive maintenance of certification programs. His efforts are gaining traction. See the recent commentary and responses in the January issue of Anesthesiology News, at
  3. Attending the Legislative Conference is a transformative experience for many, especially residents. Following is an excerpt from a report and proposal by a resident who attended last year:

Last year through the generosity of our state society, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC for the ASA legislative conference.  The theme of the conference was “when seconds count” and highlighted the need for physician led anesthesia care throughout the perioperative period.  While there is no question in my mind concerning the need to physician led anesthesia care, I could clearly see there was indeed a question in the minds of our political leaders in Washington as to why they needed an additional, redundant and expensive staff member for the patient to simply “go to sleep and wake up.”  One staff member of a congresswoman even went so far as to say how effectively the CRNA activist had spoken regarding independent practice and how much data they had to back it up.  The next question was “what do you offer that they don’t?”  It was harder to answer than I thought.  It didn’t matter that the studies he had been shown by CRNA’s were possibly flawed or skewed.  It also did not matter who funded them or wrote them. It was clear that he was thinking in numbers and not overall patient care.  I could not describe to him how many times I have seen a staff anesthesiologist take over an airway, difficult line, or other clinical task from a CRNA to save a patient’s life.  I could not communicate how everyday an anesthesiologist formulates a tailored anesthetic to deliver a medically-complex patient safely through the perioperative period.  I could not make him understand why we are better trained to perform neuraxial blocks, regional techniques or TEE.  While all wholeheartedly agree that the argument is far beyond numbers, it did make me re-examine what numbers I may be able to use for the next year.  Concrete figures for comparison may be needed to strengthen out argument against CRNA independent practice.  I took a closer look at CRNA education clinical case minimums.  While I firmly believe our training as anesthesiology residents far exceeds that or the typical CRNA student, our minimums DO NOT reflect the superiority of our training.  I believe we need to reexamine ACGME minimums and possibly make changes to further illustrate our strengths and what makes us consultant-level providers and not just technicians.

(E-mail Dr. Johnstone if you would like the specific changes this resident proposed.)


  1. 2015 WVSSA Officers

President                     Michael Panger, MD   (

President-elect            Seth Crislip, MD   (

Sect-Treas                   Robert Johnstone, MD   (

Asst Sect-Treas           Brian Grose, MD

ASA Delegates           Alex Skaff, MD

Brian Grose, MD

ASA Alt Delgs           Michael Panger, MD

Matt Ellison, MD

ASA Res Delg            Jeremiah Jeffers, MD

ASA Director              Robert Johnstone, MD

ASA Alt Dir               Alex Skaff, MD   (

Legislative Rep           Alex Skaff, MD

Eric Persily, MD


 Robert Johnstone, MD, Newsletter Editor

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