Home E-Weekly May 8, 2012

Kentucky CRNAs Gain Autonomy

Published: May 7, 2012

Nurse anesthetists in Kentucky can now deliver anesthesia on their own after the state opted out of the current federal physician supervision requirement.

Kentucky has become the 17th state to do so since CMS afforded the choice 10 years ago, reports the Kentucky Association of Nurse Anesthetists. The association cites a 2010 study appearing in the journal Health Affairs which found that opting out of the physician oversight requirement did not increase rates of patient deaths or anesthesia-related complications.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says the move, made with input from the state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services and healthcare providers, is aimed at giving hospitals and ASCs more flexibility in the anesthesia providers they employ.

"In cases like this, where the federal requirement is an obstacle to some of the best options for delivery of high-quality health care, we're pleased to take this step to opt out," he says.

Mike Rust, FACHE, president and CEO of the Kentucky Hospital Association, and Debbie Barber, CRNA, MS, president of KANA, laud the governor's decision, believing the move will increase access to cost-effective anesthesia care for the state's surgical facilities, particularly those in rural and underserved areas.

Daniel Cook

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