Newswise — Park Ridge (AANA)—In a letter today to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and leaders of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Veterans Health Administration, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) partnered with 47 national nursing organizations to request support for the Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Directive 1899 to permanently remove barriers and allow Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) to practice to the full extent of their education and training.
According to the Nursing Community Coalition signatories, “allowing CRNAs to practice independently … illustrates CRNAs’ extensive education and training, as well as their expertise in providing high-quality care for their patients and our nation’s veterans.”
“Particularly during these unprecedented times, ensuring the health care of our veterans and patients across the country is crucial,” cited the letter. “By providing anesthesia services across the entire care continuum, CRNAs not only bring much needed support and expertise during this crisis, but their full range of skills are imperative in the future as well.”
As advanced practice nurses, CRNAs have vast experience in critical care settings and advanced education and training in anesthesiology. CRNAs provide care across all settings and in all patient populations and are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural and underserved areas and on the battlefield in forward surgical teams.
“Full practice authority of CRNAs is not new or just in times of emergencies. In fact, other federal health care systems, the Army, Navy, and Air Force, have been utilizing full practice authority for CRNAs,” stated the letter.
Granting full practice authority to the VA’s CRNA workforce during and after the COVID-19 emergency aligns with principles outlined with President Trump’s October 2019 Executive Order aimed at Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has already taken action to remove physician supervision requirements for CRNAs during the public health emergency.
Members of the Nursing Community Coalition are the cross section of stakeholders in education, practice, research, and regulation within the nursing profession and have long supported full practice authority for all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).