Recent Postings


March 14, 2016

  1. The ASA Board of Directors met last week. Dr. Johnstone attended for the WVSSA. Dr. Ralph Harding, a WVSSA member now practicing in the VA system, also attended. Primary discussions involved advocacy efforts, website upgrades, representatives to external organizations and budgeting priorities. The meeting also began several months of networking and communicating for ASA officer candidates.

drsrobertjohnstonedancolejimgrant(L-R) Drs. Robert Johnstone, Dan Cole and Jim Grant at the ASA BOD meeting.

Cole is ASA President and Grant is First Vice President.


  • The Department of Veterans Affairs should soon release for public comment its proposed nursing handbook, probably with a provision that nurse anesthetists can practice independently of anesthesiologists. Good news is that the top two VA directors, and final decision-makers, recently testified before congress that they favor team anesthesia and oppose this proposed change due to patient safety concerns. The challenge is that nursing groups are actively pushing for independent practice. Veterans organizations oppose any weakening of safety and physician involvement. Most anesthesiologists have sent letters supporting continued safe anesthesia practices through the weblink, Anesthesiologists in several states have nominally exceeded 100 percent participation because their colleagues and spouses have sent letters too. West Virginia currently lags in its participation, at 57 percent. Any WVSSA member who has not yet participated should visit the website as soon as possible.


  • ASA membership continues to grow. Total active members in 2015 was 31,540, an increase of 1.5 percent over 2014.


  • ASA President, Dan Cole, MD and CEO, Paul Pomerantz addressed the directors about major on-going activities. These included representing and educating anesthesiologists about the roll out of MACRA legislation (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act), implementing the Perioperative Surgical Home model, improving the AQI/NACOR (Anesthesia Quality Institute/National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry), and launching the Learning Management System for better educational experiences. MACRA is likely to change anesthesia practice more than any recent changes, and the Perioperative Surgical Home is one way to secure the future for anesthesiologists.



  • The ASA will hold its 2016 annual meeting in Chicago, October 22-26. Sunday evening will feature a dinner dance to support its charitable, affiliated organizations – Wood-Library Museum, Anesthesia Patient Safety Organization, Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research, Anesthesia Quality Institute and the ASA Charitable Foundation.


  • Many anesthesiologists are active in the American Medical Association. Jesse Ehrenfeld,MD, an anesthesiologist on the AMA Board of Trustees, discussed how the organizations are partnering to advance advocacy agendas. Both support physician-led care.


  • The ASA budget for 2016 is $50.7million. No dues increases are planned.
  • Any active ASA member can attend BOD meetings, although registration is required.


2. The West Virginia Legislature is ending its 2016 session. Only one bill could potentially  affect anesthesia practice in WV. After lengthy discussion in several Senate and House Committees, and after many amendments, a bill affecting Advance Practice Registered Nurses passed. It will allow some APRN’s after three years to practice without a collaborative agreement with a physician and with some limited prescriptive authority. Although nurse anesthetists are categorized as APRN’s in WV, anesthesia is required to be administered under the supervision of a physician. Thanks to Drs. Alex Skaff and Seth Crislip, and their colleagues in Charleston for their help with monitoring bills this legislative session.


Alex Skaff, MD practices in Charleston, and serves as the WVSSA Alternate Director


  1.  Legislative Conference. 11 WVSSA members have already notified the Secretary that they will attend the conference this year. This is our greatest number, evidence of the importance of legislation and regulation in anesthesiology practice today. Congress will be in session during the conference, so we will likely meet with our congressional representatives there. Any other WVSSA members wanting to attend should come from WV congressional district 3.

The Virginia, Maryland and DC Anesthesiology Societies will hold a pre-conference meeting in Washington DC the weekend before the ASA Legislative Conference. Its theme is “Steering Anesthesiology into the Future”. Find details about it at,

  1. Through February approximately 80 WV anesthesiologists have paid their 2016 dues. Anyone who has not yet paid should do so soon to avoid losing their membership benefits, such as the newsletter and discounted education, in late spring. Find a list of member benefits and the link to pay by credit card at,
  2. The WVSAA will again hold its Annual Education and Business meetings at the Greenbrier on August 27 and 28 in conjunction with the state medical association conference. See the tentative education program is at the end of this newsletter. WVSSA meetings are free for all members.
  3. Items of interestSugammadex, a major advance in muscle relaxant reversal, has been approved, and should soon be available to clinicians. Pricing may limit its use.Johnson and Johnson is withdrawing the Sedasys, an automated anesthesia delivery machine, from the market. Originally touted as a replacement for anesthesia clinicians, it failed to find buyers. The ASA had commented on the limited efficacy and safety of the machine.
  4. WVSSA officers:


Immed Past-Pres
Asst Sect-Treas
ASA Delegates

ASA Alt Delgs

ASA Res Delg
ASA Director
ASA Alt Dir
Legislative [/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Seth Crislip, MD (
Matt Ellison, MD (
Michael Panger, MD
Robert Johnstone, MD (
Brian Grose, MD
Alex Skaff, MD
Brian Grose, MD
Matt Ellison, MD
Chad Sizemore, MD
John Bozek, MD
Robert Johnstone, MD
Alex Skaff, MD (
Alex Skaff, MD[/ezcol_2third_end]

Robert Johnstone, MD, Newsletter Editor

West Virginia State Society of Anesthesiologists

Annual Educational Meeting

The Greenbrier

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Educational Program














11:30-Noon     [/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Introductions

Robert Johnstone, MD

Anaphylaxis and Anaphylactoid Reactions: Myths, Truths,
and Treatment Recommendations
Rob Isaak, DO

Prevent Eye Injuries and Blindness during Anesthesia
Brian Grose, MD

ASA Update
John Dombrowski, MD


Labor Analgesia: Getting the most out of your Neuraxial Block
Manuel Vallejo, MD

Enhanced Recovery after Surgery: A Clinical Pathway and Multidisciplinary Quality Improvement Collaborative
Rob Isaak, DO

Improve anesthesiologist performance with feedback of
comparative data
Chad Sizemore, MD

Round table discussion with speakers[/ezcol_2third_end]


[table id=7 /]

Educational Objectives. Following this course, participants should be able to:

  1. Recognize anaphylaxis in the OR and how to treat it
  2. Understand how to prevent eye injuries in the OR
  3. Recognize the advantages of organized anesthesiology
  4. Improve success rates of labor epidurals
  5. Establish a program to improve patient outcomes from surgery
  6. Learn to use comparative data to improve clinician performance

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