Newswise — ROSEMONT, Ill.  – During a congressional briefing today, leaders from American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA), along with associations representing other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), outlined how current Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) billing and care restrictions are out of line with many state laws and briefed on a current legislative solution to address these outdated barriers.

The Improving Care and Access to Nurses (ICAN) Act (H.R. 2713/S. 2418) would eliminate practice barriers for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and other APRNs and provide more equitable care throughout the country, especially to patients in rural and other underserved regions. The ICAN Act will help to ensure that Medicare and Medicaid patients have access to the services that they need from their provider of choice.

AANA supports this legislation, which will remove physician supervision of CRNAs, also known as nurse anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists and increase access to CRNA services for Medicaid patients.

“The quality of patient care should not depend on a patient’s zip code,” said AANA President Dru Riddle, PhD, DNP, CRNA, FAAN. “As the only anesthesia providers in most rural hospitals and the predominant providers in underserved communities, CRNAs play an essential role in maintaining access to healthcare in communities across the country. This critical legislation will help ensure that everyone who needs access to the high-quality care provided by advanced practice registered nurses such as CRNAs can receive that care where and when they need it most.“

Specifically, the ICAN Act will ensure proper reimbursement for CRNAs to provide quality anesthesia and pain management for Medicare patients, allow CRNAs to order and refer medically necessary services, permanently remove unnecessary physician supervision under Medicare, promote payment parity in the teaching rules, and provide access to CRNA services in Medicaid.

CRNAs, as advanced practice registered nurses, are members of one of the most trusted professions according to Gallup. CRNAs safely administer more than 50 million anesthetics to patients each year in the U.S in every setting where anesthesia is delivered, including hospital surgical suites, offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists — plus U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.

When anesthesia delivery is staffed and directed by CRNAs, costly duplication of services is avoided. This can help healthcare facilities use limited resources to further improve patient care.  

“CRNAs deliver the same high-quality care to patients as other anesthesia providers and serve under-resourced communities at a significantly reduced cost. It is clear why removing barriers to CRNA care is not just beneficial but essential,” said Riddle.

For more information about the ICAN Act and to urge your representative to support this legislation, visit AnesthesiaFacts .com/takeaction