CRNA FULL SCOPE OF PRACTICE
Best practices in health care are constantly evolving, advancing, and improving. That 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 Modernizing state law to remove provisions that are outdated and no longer effective—like restricting the practice of nurse anesthetists in Pennsylvania—more accurately reflects the current cooperative relationship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.
CRNAs are central to a high-value anesthesia care delivery approach where quality and safety are emphasized and costs are reduced. Removing barriers to CRNA scope of practice --- as S.B. 899 would do --- benefits patients and the entire health-care system by increasing competition, reducing health-care costs, and ensuring access to safe care, especially in medically underserved areas.
ADVANCED PRACTICE REGISTERED NURSE (APRN) LEGISLATION
This legislation would classify nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists as “advanced practice registered nurses,” or APRNs. All of them play a pivotal role in the future of health care, and Pennsylvania is out of line for not recognizing these professionals as APRNs.
CRNAs in Pennsylvania are not considered “advanced practice registered nurses,” even though they exercise independent, professional judgment within their scope of practice. State nursing law in 40 states currently recognizes CRNAs as APRNs. But not in Pennsylvania.
CERTIFIED ANESTHESIOLOGIST ASSISTANTS (CAAs or AAs)
We have not yet seen legislation introduced in Pennsylvania in 2023-2024 addressing AAs or CAAs.
In the 2021-22 legislative session, legislation was introduced in the House (H.B. 1956) and Senate (S.B. 1258) that would license anesthesiologist assistants (CAAs) for the first time in Pennsylvania. This is bad public policy that will do nothing to enhance patient care or make health care more accessible, but instead will increase the cost of care and severely limit the practice of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs).