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05/24/2024 07:45 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: May 23, 2023 09:39 AM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: CRNA Full Scope of Practice
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that modernizes the practice of anesthesia in Pennsylvania and finally allows Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training. The state’s current restrictions on CRNAs drive up health-care costs and limit access to quality care, especially in rural and medically underserved areas of the Commonwealth.
CRNAs are the hands-on providers of anesthesia and operate safely in every setting where anesthesia is administered. This includes hospital operating and delivery rooms, ambulatory surgical centers, the offices of dentists, podiatrist, ophthalmologists and plastic surgeons, pain management centers and more. As sought-after anesthesia care providers, CRNAs are highly educated and expertly trained. Nurse anesthetists obtain an average of 9,369 clinical hours of training that includes intensive care unit clinical experience, anesthesia-specific clinical training, and undergraduate nursing clinical experience --- all prior to board certification. CRNAs also are required to be nationally certified and must be recertified every four years.
Despite this education and training, in Pennsylvania far too many bureaucratic barriers remain in statute and regulation that prevent CRNAs from fully putting their skills to work. Keeping restrictions on CRNA’s scope of practice, as Pennsylvania does, is contrary to national trends.
Numerous studies show there is no statistical difference in patient outcomes when a nurse anesthetist provides treatment compared to an anesthesiologist, even for rare and difficult procedures. That is among the reasons why the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the Institute of Medicine, the Federal Trade Commission and AARP all endorse statutory and regulatory modernization that moves CRNAs to full practice authority.
Best practices in health care are constantly evolving, advancing and improving. This progress enhances quality. Modernizing state law to remove provisions that are outdated and no longer effective—like restricting the practice of nurse anesthetists in Pennsylvania—more accurately reflects the current cooperative relationship between CRNAs and the physician surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, and other providers with whom CRNAs provide patient care, and it promises to improve care, increase access and reduce costs in the state’s health-care system.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation. If you have any questions, please contact Gregory Beckenbaugh in my office at gbeckenbaugh@pasen.gov, or at 787-5490.

Introduced as SB899