Nurse anesthetists have been providing anesthesia care to patients in the United States for nearly 150 years, with the credential CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) coming into existence in 1956.
CRNAs provide anesthesia care in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists, and other qualified healthcare professionals.
CRNAs safely administer more than 34 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States, to every patient population, and in all types of procedures and surgeries.
CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural and urban facilities in Wisconsin, working either in team settings or independently.
CRNAs enable healthcare facilities in medically underserved areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, and trauma stabilization services, and are the primary anesthesia provider in 52 of 53 of Wisconsin’s critical access hospitals.
CRNAs are instrumental to providing care for veterans in the VHA system, as well as on the front lines of the military.
Numerous outcomes studies have demonstrated that there is no difference in the quality and outcome of care provided by CRNAs and anesthesiologists.
The average 2009 malpractice premium for self-employed CRNAs was 33 percent lower than in 1988 (62 percent lower when adjusted for inflation).
The application process for CRNA education is highly competitive, and involves real bedside crisis management experience for an average of three and a half years, as well as references from peers and physicians attesting to good clinical judgment and work ethic.
Starting in 2023, all CRNA programs will be at a doctoral level.
When anesthesia is administered by a CRNA, it is recognized as the practice of nursing; when administered by an anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of medicine.
CRNAs were the first nursing specialty to be accorded direct reimbursement under Medicare in 1986. Managed care plans recognize CRNAs for providing high-quality anesthesia care with reduced expense to patients and insurance companies. The cost-efficiency of CRNAs helps control escalating healthcare costs.
Wisconsin requested an Opt-Out of physician supervision for CRNAs under Medicare in 2005.