The Ritz Herald
John Zimmerman, a nurse anesthetist for the Veterans Administration in Minneapolis, leans over a patient. © AVANA

Twelve U.S. Governors Issue Executive Orders to Remove Physician Supervision of Nurse Anesthetists

Addressing the healthcare needs of patients during the coronavirus pandemic

Published on April 15, 2020

To date, 12 state governors have issued executive orders to suspend restrictions on full scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) supports these positive actions to enhance access to care for patients with COVID-19.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo removed physician supervision of CRNAs as he filed a state of emergency. Governors for Michigan, Maine and West Virginia also removed physician supervision for CRNAs, and governors for Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Tennessee, have temporarily removed aspects of restrictive physician involvement to help increase access to care for patients. Additional executive orders expand use of telehealth and eliminate restrictions for professionals to practice in states where they are not currently licensed in order to increase the healthcare workforce during the pandemic. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has temporarily suspended supervision to equip healthcare systems on the federal level.

“Now more than ever it is important that each state optimize its healthcare workforce. The AANA thanks these 12 governors for recognizing the importance of allowing nurse anesthetists to practice to the full scope of their license and training,” said AANA President Kate Jansky, MHS, CRNA, APRN, USA LTC (ret). “We hope to see other governors issue similar orders to help expand access to care during this crisis.”

CRNAs are experts at advanced airway and ventilation management and critical care—all vital to addressing the healthcare needs of patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. state executive orders removing burdensome restrictions on CRNAs is the right policy at this critical juncture and is desperately needed to meet the growing demands on our healthcare delivery system. CRNAs can play an important role in providing life-saving critical care management for patients impacted by the COVID-19 virus in their APRN role

“Many of the limits on CRNA practice are not based on any data or research, and CRNAs in several states safely practice beyond these limits. This allows states to better utilize all available healthcare providers without risking patient safety,” said AANA CEO Randall Moore, DNP, MBA, CRNA. “Freeing providers from unnecessary statutory and regulatory burdens will allow CRNAs to contribute more efficiently to the healthcare system today and in the future.”

Associate Writer