In celebration of the 22nd annual National Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) Week, January 23 – 29, Optimum wants to recognize the 59,000+ CRNAs who safely provide anesthesia to patients across the country. According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), CRNAs administer over 50 million anesthetics per year to patients throughout the United States.
As highlighted in an AANA fact sheet, we are thrilled to share and acknowledge a few ways that CRNAs make a difference in the delivery of quality healthcare in our nation:
- The CRNA history spans over 150 years. The CRNA credential came into existence in 1956. In 2001, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) changed the federal physician supervision rule allowing state governors the option to waive MD supervision requirements. As a result, different anesthesia practice models emerged, providing CRNAs and physicians expanded work capacity in applicable states.
- More than 80% of the anesthesia providers in rural areas are CRNAs. Because of CRNAs, healthcare facilities in medically underserved regions can offer anesthesia services such as obstetrical, surgical, pain management, and trauma stabilization services. CRNAs are often the exclusive providers of anesthesia services in nearly half of rural hospitals throughout the country.
- CRNAs have been the leading providers of anesthesia care to our nation’s military personnel on the front lines since WWI. Nurses first provided anesthesia to wounded soldiers during the U.S. Civil War. Now, CRNAs have full authority in every branch of the military and are the primary anesthesia care providers.
- CRNAs practice in all settings. Among others, these practice settings include traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; ketamine clinics; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.
- The CRNA model avoids the duplication of anesthesia services and has cost-saving benefits. Since there are limited resources in healthcare, allowing CRNAs to direct and staff anesthesia delivery helps minimize anesthesia costs and allocates staff resources efficiently.
Thank you for all you do, CRNAs! We appreciate you and the skills, compassion, and expertise you bring to areas in need of safe, quality anesthesia care.
For more information about the value that CRNAs bring to medicine, visit the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology website.