Newswise — PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AANA)—A new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provides data that indicate Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are among the most utilized healthcare providers in the nation.
According to this data, CRNAs were among the top 20 specialties that served the most beneficiaries in non-telehealth care between March 2020 and June 2020—the height of the COVID-19 public health emergency. In its report, “Putting Patients First: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Record of Accomplishments from 2017-2020,” CMS also cites that its action to waive the physician supervision requirement of CRNAs is among its notable accomplishments in healthcare between 2017 and 2020.
Waiving the supervision requirement enabled state governors and healthcare administrators to optimize their healthcare workforce and increase access to high-quality care for patients. The waiver has now been extended, following the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ extension of the COVID-19 public health emergency into April.
“Since the start of the pandemic, tens of thousands of CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) have cared for critically ill patients,” said American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) President Steven M. Sertich, CRNA, MAE, JD, Esquire. “CRNAs and SRNAs unique skills and expertise have allowed them to step forward in ways that few others can, particularly in advanced airway and ventilation management, vascular volume resuscitation, and advanced patient assessment.”
Healthcare facilities need maximum flexibility in utilizing CRNAs to manage and staff intensive care units, operating rooms, critical care, and other units as patient care requires, said President Sertich. “The permanent removal of physician supervision will ensure CRNAs continue to provide life-sustaining care for patients.”
CMS also highlighted its overhaul of Medicare’s Local Coverage Determination (LCD) process to “facilitate swifter adoption of innovative technologies and treatments to meet Medicare beneficiaries’ needs.” The AANA played a significant role in that reform, which now allows CRNAs and other non-physician stakeholders to serve on the Contractor Advisory Committee for LCDs.
As advanced practice registered nurses, CRNAs are among the nation’s most trusted professions according to Gallop. Nurses have topped Gallup’s Honesty and Ethics list and are ranked second in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Health Care Jobs.” The nation will celebrate 2021 National CRNA Week Jan. 24-30, 2021.