PARK RIDGE, Ill., May 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) issued an action alertMay 8, encouraging members to contact lawmakers about improving access to quality care for the nation's veterans.
AANA President Kate Jansky, MHS, CRNA, APRN, USA LTC (ret), and AANA CEO Dr. Randall D. Moore, DNP, MBA, CRNA—both veterans—addressed a series of "misleading" and "inflammatory" assertions made by the American Society of Anesthesiologists this week related to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) directive, which allows full practice authority for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in the VA.
Jansky and Moore called the ASA's action an attempt to "scare the public into believing that CRNAs will put our veterans' health at risk." In their alert, Jansky and Moore wrote: "Because 'I say so' is not an argument that carries any weight. Yet, that is precisely what the ASA consistently relies on to scare the public into believing that CRNAs are not safe. Unfortunately for them, this justification doesn't work … and has no place in policymaking."
Jansky and Moore addressed seven claims by providing evidence-based facts about CRNAs. "As veterans who care a great deal about our fellow brothers and sisters who have served this country, we feel a responsibility to tell the truth and to set the record straight," they wrote, adding that ASA's "over-the-top claims are missing something important: any credible evidence to back them up."
"Credible evidence shows that CRNAs provide the highest quality care regardless of practice setting or patients' health status. It's why CRNAs are the sole anesthesia providers on forward surgical teams and the predominant anesthesia providers in rural areas. It is why CRNAs are stepping up on the frontlines during the current COVID-19 crisis, as serious policymakers seek to remove barriers to our practice at the state and national levels," they wrote.
On April 21, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health Richard Stone, MD, issued a memorandum urging VA facilities to amend their bylaws to allow CRNAs to have full practice authority.
Jansky and Moore supported the actions of the VA, particularly in the "all-hands-on-deck nature" of the COVID-19 crisis. In a letter to U.S. Vice President Pence, Jansky and Moore wrote that while they applauded the removal of barriers to scope of practice during the pandemic, "we believe that CRNAs should permanently be given authority to practice to the highest level of their education and training within the VA."