As for the California ruling, it's hard to see how this could end up differently. Many rural hospitals are running on razor thin margins. Medicare and Medicaid are trimming reimbursements, and private plans have adopted zero tolerance toward cost shifting. The hunt for savings is prompting hospital administrations to reexamine every aspect of care delivery, as they should.
Again, if there is no conclusive evidence to show that patients receive substandard care or are placed at greater risk under CRNAs, rural hospitals that provide bread-and-butter surgical procedures should not have to pay considerably more for the services of an anesthesiologist.
Anesthesiologists commanded top compensation during a robust economy. Like many other professionals, however, they may have to readjust their expectations. Perhaps it is time for them to make compensation demands that are more compatible with the market.