Important Message to PANA Members


March 25, 2020

Dear PANA Members:

Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf and state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, urging them to formally recognize certified registered nurse anesthetists and to act swiftly to give our professionals the ability to practice to the full extent of our education and training to help Pennsylvania respond to the COVID-19 health-care crisis.

You can read the entire letter here: https://bit.ly/3akUMb0.

As frontline health-care professionals, we play a crucial role in the state’s response to this pandemic. Unfortunately, the full contribution of CRNAs is being limited.

First, in Pennsylvania, education and training for CRNAs is extensive. Yet, there are limits placed on our practice, even though those limits are not based on any data or research, and CRNAs can safely practice beyond these limits. New York, West Virginia, Maine and Arizona already have acted to remove barriers on CRNAs to better utilize all available providers to respond to this health-care crisis without risking patient safety. Pennsylvania should do the same.

Second, Pennsylvania remains one of only two states (New York is the other) that fails to recognize CRNA professional designation in some form, meaning we are recognized only as registered nurses. In times of need, CRNAs are in demand to help with crisis response. But Pennsylvania-based CRNAs cannot be part of response teams in other states that are asking for help --- and so many are --- simply because we lack the formal credentials that nearly every other state recognizes. That needs to change.

Now, we need you to take action, too.

First, send a personal message to Gov. Wolf and urge him to act on the health-care proposals PANA included in its letter. Fill out the form here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/#OnlineForm.

This is all you need to say (there is a 1,000-character limit):

Gov. Wolf: As a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Pennsylvania, I stand ready to help our commonwealth address the health-care crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, PANA, our statewide association, sent you a letter (which you can access here: https://bit.ly/3akUMb0), urging you to formally recognize CRNAs and allow us to practice to the full extent of our education and training to help Pennsylvania respond in this time of need. Other states already have acted to remove barriers on CRNAs to better utilize all available providers to respond to this health-care crisis without risking patient safety. Pennsylvania should do the same. As frontline health-care professionals, we play a crucial role in the state’s response to this pandemic. Please make these changes so we can help even more. Thank you.

Next, contact your local legislators. Ask them to please contact the governor and secretary and urge them to take fast action on the proposals made by PANA to address this health-care crisis. You can find your lawmakers here: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator.

This is all you need to say:

As your constituent, I wanted to be sure you knew that PANA, our statewide association, sent a letter (which you can access here: https://bit.ly/3akUMb0) to Gov. Tom Wolf and state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, urging them to formally recognize CRNAs and allow us to practice to the full extent of our education and training to help Pennsylvania respond to the COVID-19 health-care crisis. As a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), we play a crucial role in the state’s response to this pandemic, along with other frontline health-care professionals. Unfortunately, too many barriers are blocking our work. There are limits placed on our practice, even though those limits are not based on any data or research, and the state’s lack of credentialing limits emergency response. Please read our letter and urge the governor and his administration to act swiftly. Other states are acting. It is time for Pennsylvania to do the same. Thank you.

Like the rest of the country, we are watching with deep concern as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect a world already brought to a standstill. PANA continues to monitor the situation. But our culture is built on helping people. I hope we can count on you to do your part to advocate for our profession so we can get these changes made and fulfill our mission of keeping residents healthy and safe.

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