Newswise — Park Ridge, Ill. (AANA)—A new law signed Jan. 1 by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker lifts certain supervision requirements on advance practice registered nurses, providing patients across the state with greater access to high-quality care. 

The new law grants Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) independent practice authority to issue written prescriptions and medication orders and to order tests and therapeutics without supervision, following two years of supervised practice (or satisfactory demonstration of alternative professional experience as determined by Board of Nursing rules). 

Elaine Sullivan,  MSN, MHL, CRNA, president of the Massachusetts Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MANA), applauded the provision, citing that the bill “provides for greater access to care at an inflection point for our healthcare system.” She said the bill cuts through some of the red tape that can cost our patients precious time and money. It is an important step forward in advancing patient safety and providing access to skilled anesthesia care. 

Patients and health systems across Massachusetts depend on CRNAs for provision of anesthesia and related services, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists 

“The pandemic has challenged the way we deliver care, and it is incumbent upon all healthcare stakeholders to make needed improvements. CRNAs are proud to serve on the frontlines alongside our healthcare colleagues and deeply appreciate the strong support of our government leaders as the battle continues,” said Sullivan, who applauded the state legislature for its passage of the Patients First Act last month. 

In March 2020 Governor Baker issued an executive order that allows advanced practice registered nurses like CRNAs to move into critical care and other roles to meet patient needs during the pandemic. There are more than 850 CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists in Massachusetts.