CRNAs among health care providers serving on the frontlines of COVID-19 Pandemic
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) across the nation and members of the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists (FANA) are celebrating the 22nd annual National CRNA Week taking place January 24-30, 2021. It is an opportunity for CRNAs to educate the public about their role in providing safe and effective anesthesia care for every patient. However, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) have taken on a different role in caring for critically ill patients.
“Whether we are serving our fellow Floridians in a hospital, operating room, clinic, or on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are honored and privileged to take care of our patients,” said FANA President John McDonough, EdD, CRNA. “CRNAs and SRNAs have unique skills and expertise which have allowed these dedicated professionals to work with COVID patients in Florida and across the country, due to their highly specialized training in advanced airway and ventilation management.”
This week, Governor Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation recognizing CRNA week in Florida. Governor DeSantis recognized the more than 5,600 Florida CRNAs and SRNAs for providing high quality, cost-effective anesthesia care for more than 150 years and safely administering anesthesia to millions of patients each year. CRNAs practice in every anesthesia delivery setting, including the following:
- Hospital surgical suites,
- Obstetrical delivery rooms,
- Ambulatory surgery centers,
- Offices of surgeons, dentists, and pain management specialists; and
- U.S. Military and Public Health Services and Veterans Administration medical facilities.
FANA recently organized a vaccine volunteer effort to support Governor DeSantis’ priority of vaccinating seniors 65+, frontline health care workers, and first responders to keep Floridians safe. FANA immediately jumped into action coordinating a volunteer effort across the state to help county health departments with vaccinations. And in response to FANA’s call, more than 900 volunteers – 500 of whom are FANA CRNAs – along with hundreds of members of the Florida Coalition of Advanced Practice Nurses, all of whom are volunteering to immunize patients at key Florida vaccine sites. Last week Florida reached a milestone vaccinating its 1 millionth senior with the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I salute and thank our CRNAs every day for their role in keeping Floridians safe. The response by our members has been nothing short of amazing,” said President McDonough. “They are quite literally helping save lives with every dose they administer – as well as pushing our country one step closer to gaining control of this national health crisis once and for all.”
In fact, a new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provides data that indicate 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.
And during the upcoming 2021 Florida Legislative Session, FANA will be working with legislative leaders to improve upon last session’s landmark HB 607, which provided autonomous practice to primary care nurse practitioners. HB 607 increased patient access to safe, quality care and is driving down the cost of healthcare. HB 111, sponsored by Representative Randy Maggard (R-Pasco County) and SB 424 sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas County) builds upon HB 607 by expanding autonomous practice to all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), including CRNAs.
The bills will allow all APRNs, not just those that practice primary care, to practice to the full extent of their education and training without physician supervision and protocols. This will result in even greater access to care and cost reductions without any sacrifice to patient safety.
For more information about the role and value of CRNAs in Florida, please visit www.fana.org or for national information, please access the AANA’s website at www.aana.com and the “CRNAs: The Future of Anesthesia Care Today” campaign website at www.future-of-anesthesia-care-today.com.
About the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Founded in 1936, The Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists (FANA) represents more than 5,600 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in Florida. FANA advocates for our patients and members in legislative and governmental affairs and serves as a resource for CRNAs, the nursing and medical professions, hospitals, health care facilities, and others interested in anesthesia care. For more information, visit www.fana.org.
About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Founded in 1931 and located in Park Ridge, Ill., and Washington, D.C., the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) is the professional organization representing nearly 57,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthetists across the United States. As advanced practice registered nurses and anesthesia specialists, CRNAs administer more than 49 million anesthetics to patients in the United States each year and are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America. In some states, CRNAs are the sole anesthesia professionals in nearly 100 percent of rural hospitals. For more information, visit www.aana.com and www.future-of-anesthesia-care-today.com.