CRNAs: Safe, high-quality, cost-effective, truthful.
MYTH: CRNAs are not equipped to handle emergency situations.
FACT: CRNAs obtain an average of 2.9 years of critical care experience before entering a nurse anesthesia program. They are the only anesthesia professionals who start their anesthesia education knowing how to manage critical medical events. CRNAS are educated, trained and experienced in providing anesthesia care for complicated medical procedures and handling emergency situations.
MYTH: It is safer for patients to receive anesthesia from a physician anesthesiologist than a CRNA.
FACT: There is a zero percent difference in safety between CRNAs and physician anesthesiologists. Numerous studies confirm that anesthesia care is equally safe regardless of whether it is provided by a CRNA working alone, an anesthesiologist working alone or a CRNA working with an anesthesiologist, most notably the study titled “No Harm Found When Nurse Anesthetists Work Without Supervision by Physicians” published in 2010 in Health Affairs.
MYTH: A physician anesthesiologist is always in the room to supervise when a CRNA provides anesthesia.
FACT: CRNAs are not required by law or regulation to be supervised by or even work with anesthesiologists. When CRNAs are supervised, it is very often by physicians who are not anesthesiologists and have no experience in anesthesia care. Even when an anesthesiologist supervises a CRNA, the anesthesiologist only has to sign off on protocols and be on the premises, not in the same room. Regardless of whether a CRNA is supervised by a physician, the CRNA is responsible for the patient’s safety before, during and after anesthesia, and stays with the patient from the beginning to the end of the procedure.
MYTH: The provision of anesthesia is the practice of medicine.
FACT: Numerous court decisions dating as far back as the early 1900s have recognized the administration of anesthesia by nurses as a proper nursing function. When anesthesia is administered by a CRNA, it is recognized as the practice of nursing; when administered by a physician anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of medicine. Many professions in the healthcare industry are authorized to practice in the same, related or similar fields and as such have overlapping practice areas, so these practice areas cannot solely be the practice of medicine.
MYTH: Allowing CRNAs to practice independently will do nothing to decrease the cost of healthcare.
FACT: A 2010 study published in Nursing Economic$ and updated in 2016 shows that a CRNA working as the sole anesthesia provider is at least 25 percent more cost-effective than any other anesthesia delivery model. Allowing CRNAs to practice to the full scope of their education, training, certification and licensure can help control skyrocketing healthcare costs by allowing healthcare facilities the flexibility to choose the most cost-effective anesthesia practice model for the patient care they provide in the community. Cost effectiveness directly relates to improved access for patients. The Nursing Economic$ study also found that CRNAs are providing the majority of anesthesia care in U.S. counties with lower-income populations and populations that are more likely to be uninsured or unemployed.
MYTH: Allowing CRNAs to practice independently will increase liability for surgeons and other healthcare providers.
FACT: As licensed professionals, CRNAs are responsible and accountable for their own decisions and the actions they take in their professional practice. Case law shows that surgeons and other healthcare providers face no increase in liability when working with a CRNA versus an anesthesiologist. CRNAs also carry insurance coverage for all the services they provide.
Support Senate Bill 563 and House Bill 4278
By allowing CRNAs to practice to their full capabilities, South Carolina can help improve patient access to safe, cost-effective anesthesia care and enable more healthcare facilities to provide essential surgical, obstetrical, and trauma services, particularly in rural and other medically underserved areas.
Essential Access to Anesthesia Care
Research shows that CRNAs are the most cost-effective anesthesia providers, and that there is no difference in safety between CRNAs and anesthesiologists. CRNAs provide essential access to anesthesia care, especially in rural and other medically underserved areas in Arkansas and the rest of the United States.