I found this to be an intersting read, maybe others would to. Original poster's comment's precede. ******************** yes, there are currently only 2 programs however that will change soon as legislation passed by the senate this week extends aa practice area from 15 to 50 states. aa's are trained in a program similar to a crna program and when used at the same facilities crna's and aa's have the same scope of practice and salary except that crna's can work independently in around 13 states while aa's always have to have a supervising anesthesiologist in the hospital(not the o.r.) for back up. Senate passes bill to allow assistants to give anesthesia By Jim Ash, Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau Thursday, March 25, 2004 TALLAHASSEE -- The Senate voted Wednesday to create a new national category of health care provider -- anesthesiology assistant -- despite opponents who claim it will put patients at greater risk. Supporters of the measure (SB 626) contend it will drive down health care costs by allowing anesthesiologists to rely on highly trained but less expensive assistants. "Members, we have to get a grasp on health care costs in this state," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. Critics warn that anesthesiology assistants, who require the equivalent of a master's degree and two years of specialty training, aren't qualified to deal with potential problems that could arise during surgery. They also complained that the bill required a supervising anesthesiologist only to be in the same hospital during surgical procedures, not in the same operating room. In a compromise, sponsors agreed Wednesday to require "on-site, personal supervision" by an anesthesiologist who is present in the office or in the surgical suite when the procedure is being performed "and who is in all circumstances immediately available." Opposition to the House version of the bill landed Rep. Susan Bucher, D-Royal Palm Beach, in hot water with Republican leaders last week when she accused sponsors of being motivated by campaign contributions. The House Rules Committee is investigating the comments as well as complaints from the Department of Children and Families staff members and other legislators who have accused Bucher of being abusive. Bucher said the changes make the bill better, but she still opposes it. "I'm glad they did that," she said, "but I still don't know who's going to enforce this. I cannot support this bill." Anesthesiologists and the Florida Medical Association support the bill. Supporters say a handful of other states license anesthesiology assistants without safety problems. Critics say they doubt any savings will be realized.