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Colorado Becomes 15th State To Allow Nurses To Administer Anesthesia

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DENVER -- Colorado has joined 15 other states in allowing advanced-practice nurses to administer anesthesia without a doctor's supervision.

"Patient safety is and must always be one of our highest priorities," Governor Bill Ritter said in a statement Monday. "This decision upholds that core value while giving rural hospitals the flexibility they need to provide their rural patients with access to high-quality healthcare."

The decision has been opposed by the Colorado Association of Anesthesiologists, who claim it will imperil patient safety.

Rural hospitals without anesthesiologists currently allow nurse specialists to administer anesthesia under a doctor's supervision. However, they say doctors are wary of taking on that responsibility.