Scope of Practice: Appellate Court upholds permanent injunction preventing CRNAs from attempting practice in the field of Interventional Pain Management

Keogh, Cox & Wilson partner, John Wolff and other members of the firm served as lead counsel in a significant case that serves to clearly delineate the lines that separate medicine from nursing. The case was initiated when the Louisiana Board of Nursing (LSBN) unilaterally declared that CRNA could practice interventional pain management procedures to include epidural steroid injections, peripheral nerve blocks and spinal facet injections. In the first phase of the case, Keogh, Cox & Wilson represented Spine Diagnostics, a local group of physicians with Dr. Michael Burdine and obtained a preliminary injunction from the 1 st Circuit Court of Appeal after the court found that the evidence submitted at trial established a prima facie case that CRNAs did not traditionally practice in the field of interventional pain management.

Keogh, Cox & Wilson was then retained by the American Society of Intervention Pain Physicians (ASIPP) along with Spine Diagnostics to pursue a permanent injunction preventing the CRNAs from practicing in this field. After 3 days of trial testimony, the trial court ruled, among other things, that the practice of interventional pain management is solely the practice of medicine and that it was not within the CRNA scope of practice.

The 1 st Circuit affirmed the trial court after a full discussion of the evidence. The court carefully examined the rigorous training requirements and regulation that physicians impose on this subspecialty. In contrast, the court noted that CRNAs do not receive training in this field as part of their certification and further noted that nursing organizations do not impose any regulation on CRNA practice in this field. As such, the court noted that CRNAs do not traditionally practice in the field, and therefore, the court upheld the permanent injunction prohibiting such practice.