The classic Las Vegas adage is, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but, in welcoming you to the 80th AANA Annual Meeting, I’m hoping that what happens in this city stays with you for a lifetime. This is a time for our profession to come together and celebrate what makes nurse anesthesia a vital component of the healthcare system, all while connecting with friends and learning some new skills.
I encourage you to take advantage of the many educational opportunities at the Annual Meeting. From the two preconvention workshops to open labs to visiting booths in the Exhibit Hall, there are numerous fascinating ways for CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) to enhance their skills and knowledge. I would also like to recommend the Aug. 11 Business Meeting as a way to experience the power and wisdom of the AANA membership. Every member has a voice in the direction of the profession—make yours count by attending this important meeting. To that end, please participate in the AANA Foundation and CRNA-PAC fundraising events to support nurse anesthesia education and research and ensure that our voices continue to be heard in Washington now and in the future.
Las Vegas and the Annual Meeting offer nearly endless ways to have fun and relax. I’m looking forward to running in the 5K Wellness Run/Walk with my son on Monday. If your schedule allows, spend a day before or after the meeting and take in some of the city’s world-famous entertainment. Visit a spa or go shopping. See a performance like Celine Dion or Cirque du Soleil. Las Vegas is one of the few destinations that truly has something for everyone.
A Year of Victories
Along with the great joy that accompanies the Annual Meeting, it is a good time to reflect about the end of my term as your president. This was a year of a great many accomplishments for the AANA and the profession as a whole, including:
- Attending the Democratic and Republican political conventions, followed by the presidential inauguration.
- A victory on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) final ruling for a uniform policy on reimbursement for pain management services by CRNAs to defer to states’ scope of practice.
- Confirmation from CMS that anesthesiologist assistants (AAs) may not bill Medicare for nonmedically directed (billing code QZ) anesthesia services as CRNAs are authorized to do.
- Establishment of the State Reimbursement Specialist Program.
- Strengthening of state associations through Fall Leadership Academy and organizational assessments for state associations.
- Enhanced corporate outreach.
- Building relationships with the AANA Foundation, Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, and National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists by establishing enhanced communication and the pursuit of long-term agreements.
A Future Together
As I leave office, I am confident the profession of nurse anesthesia has a bright future. This is possible due to CRNAs’ drive for patient safety and improved outcomes. The rapidly changing times we live in require critical thinking skills to advance the profession. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, CRNAs will be in greater demand than ever before. We must stand together and continue to provide the highest quality care in every area of the country. Please continue to support your state association and the AANA. Their future leaders will ensure forward-thinking initiatives to strengthen all relationships—internal and external—for the benefit of generations to come.