Restricting CRNA Practice Reduces Access to Care & Increases Costs

Restricting CRNA practice is contrary to the national trend toward allowing APRNs to practice to the full extent of their education and training.

Allowing CRNAs to practice to the full extent of their training and education improves your access to high-quality, cost-effective care, and decreases your healthcare costs. Unnecessary restrictions on CRNA practice are not cost-effective and actually increase healthcare costs. Further, imposing such restrictions on CRNA practice is not supported by published research.

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 physician anesthesiologists. CRNAs provide essential access to anesthesia care, especially in rural and other medically underserved areas in our state and the rest of the United States.

CRNAs in Georgia practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.


Anesthesia is a safe and effective means of alleviating pain during surgery, labor and delivery, trauma care, and other procedures.

“CRNA” stands for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. A CRNA is an anesthesia expert who is educated, trained, certified and licensed to provide all forms of anesthesia care; for all types of surgical, obstetrical, trauma, and pain management procedures; in every type of facility where anesthesia is required; to patients of all ages and at every acuity level. Across the country, more than 54,000 nurse anesthetists safely administer over 49 million anesthetics to patients each year.

CRNAs provide the following services and then some:

• Practice in collaboration with other qualified healthcare professionals.
• Provide safe, holistic, patient-centered, evidence-based anesthesia and analgesia services.
• Conduct a pre-anesthesia interview with the patient, administer the anesthetic, monitor and interpret the patient’s vital signs, manage the patient throughout surgery, and ensure the patient’s safe transfer to recovery.
• Handle any emergency.
• Provide anesthesia care in every healthcare setting where anesthesia is required for surgical, obstetrical, trauma, diagnostic, therapeutic, and pain management services.
• Care for patients of all ages and at every acuity level.

In addition to being exceptional clinicians, CRNAs also excel as business owners, researchers, educators, facility administrators and in other related roles.

CRNAs are highly educated, well-prepared anesthesia professionals.
Total education and training:

• 7-8 ½ years of nursing and anesthesia education and training
• More than 9,000 clinical hours

Prior to entering nurse anesthesia program:

• Attain bachelor’s degree in nursing, RN license, minimum 1 year of critical care experience
• Average critical care experience: 2.9 years (CRNAs are the only anesthesia professionals who start their anesthesia education knowing how to manage critical events)

Prior to becoming a CRNA:

• Graduate with master’s or doctorate degree from accredited nurse anesthesia educational program
• Pass National Certification Exam

CRNAs embrace life-long learning, maintaining their certification through continuing education.



It is far more accurate to ask, “What are the similarities?” CRNAs and physician anesthesiologists are similarly prepared anesthesia experts who provide anesthesia care using the same techniques and medications, to patients of all ages, in every type of healthcare setting, for every type of procedure that requires anesthesia. CRNAs are often the sole anesthesia provider involved with a patient’s care, especially in rural states such as Georgia. Nurse anesthetists were the first recognized anesthesia professionals in the United States and have been providing patients freedom from pain for more than 150 years.

Patients should discuss their anesthesia options in detail with their CRNA, but the three basic types of anesthesia are:

• General anesthesia, which produces a loss of sensation throughout the entire body.
• Regional anesthesia, produces a loss of sensation to a specific region of the body.
• Local anesthesia, which produces a loss of sensation to a small specific area of the body.

If your anesthesia is provided by a CRNA, he or she will be with you during your procedure from start to finish.

While having anesthesia for a procedure is not without risk, the National Academy of Medicine has identified anesthesia as one of the safest healthcare experiences a patient can undergo. In addition, all significant anesthesia-related research published since 2000 has confirmed the safety of anesthesia care delivered by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. Two landmark studies are the following:

• Nursing Economics (2010/2016): Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Anesthesia Providers (a CRNA working solo is the most cost-effective anesthesia delivery model, with no reduction in patient safety)
• Health Affairs (2010): No Harm Found When Nurse Anesthetists Work Without Supervision by Physicians (anesthesia care is equally safe when provided by a CRNA working solo, a physician anesthesiologist working solo, or a CRNA and physician anesthesiologists working together)

CRNAs are the primary anesthesia providers for maternity patients, in rural and other medically underserved areas of the United States, and in the U.S. Military. CRNAs are typically the sole anesthesia providers on the front lines of U.S. Military actions around the world, caring for wounded soldiers in the line of fire. Back home they play a significant role in the care of military veterans in VA hospitals and other facilities.

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