|Posted:||January 8, 2021 06:51 PM|
|From:||Representative Tarah Toohil|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Designation|
|I intend to reintroduce legislation that would officially recognize Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) under Pennsylvania statute.
Pennsylvania is one of just two states that fails to formally recognize CRNAs in some form. Because there is no definition for “certified registered nurse anesthetist” under the state’s Professional Nursing Law, CRNAs are recognized only as Registered Nurses (RNs), not as CRNAs. That brings logistical and financial burdens, and it continues to inhibit our full response to this health-care pandemic.
In response to COVID-19, many CRNAs wanted to contribute more to the facilities where they work but were limited. Likewise, hospitals and other health-care institutions wanted to use CRNAs to their fullest capacity but could not. Many facilities felt restricted by the way in which the state licenses CRNAs and would not allow nurse anesthetists to provide advanced, critical care services, even though it was within their professional education, training and clinical experience. CRNAs are uniquely qualified to provide care for critically ill patients, especially those suffering from a respiratory virus, and their work could avail more providers to provide hands-on care to patients and augment the state’s health-care systems in order to continue to meet the growing demands of this pandemic.
There are other challenges with the lack of designation as well. Pennsylvania nurse anesthetists who serve in the military must secure designation in another state to provide anesthesia in the armed services, even though CRNAs are the main providers of anesthesia care to U.S. military personnel on the front lines and remain the primary anesthesia providers in austere combat theaters. They cannot assist on rapid response teams in states affected by natural disasters because they lack formal credentials. And, after receiving training in Pennsylvania, many nurse anesthetists relocate to states with full credentialing, contributing to the state’s “brain drain.” CRNAs also remain the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America, enabling health-care facilities in medically underserved areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, pain management and trauma stabilization services.
Despite all of this, nurse anesthetists are the only ones among the four advanced practice nursing groups that are lacking legal recognition under state law.
This legislation does not address scope of practice, but merely provides recognition to the skill and expertise of Pennsylvania’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists.
Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation. Thank you for your consideration.
Last Session Toohil HB1064 (2019-2020)
Speaker Cutler (2017-2018)
Introduced as HB931