Newswise — PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AANA) – The start of the new year often brings with it new state laws and regulations, including two that remove barriers to patient care for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in Alaska and South Dakota.

“The American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) applauds action by the states of Alaska and South Dakota to eliminate practice restrictions that impede the ability of CRNAs and other advanced practice registered nurses to care for patients,” said AANA President Dina F. Velocci, DNP, CRNA, APRN. “Removing practice barriers creates new access opportunities for patients and helps CRNAs serve populations most in need.”

The Alaska Board of Nursing (BON) has adopted rules, effective Jan. 19, 2022, that eliminate excessive administrative procedures as a requirement for licensure. CRNAs and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) no longer need to submit to the state “consultation and referral plans.”  These plans are routinely part of patient care, but, as noted in the rule notice, the BON indicated that removing this requirement will allow the licensure procedure “to be more consistent with current times and processes.” 

The South Dakota Board of Dentistry adopted rules for dental offices, effective Dec. 13, 2021, that allows CRNAs to work with dentists without restrictions. As an increasing number of patients of all ages and health complexity seek sedation and anesthesia for dental procedures in office-based settings, this rule helps ensure safe delivery of that anesthesia by a licensed provider, working together with the dental professional.

Advanced practice registered nurses such as CRNAs are members of one of the most trusted professions according to Gallup. For more than 150 years, nurse anesthesiology has put the healthcare and well-being of patients first. CRNAs provide anesthesia care across all settings and in all patient populations, including all branches of the U.S. military.

CRNA expertise in airway management, monitoring and management of patients on ventilators, placement of invasive lines, and overall management of critically ill patients uniquely positioned them to provide lifesaving care to those suffering from COVID-19. A recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services report on patient services noted that CRNAs are among the top 20 specialties that served the most beneficiaries between March 2020 and June 2020, during the beginning of the pandemic.