Response to ASA Open Letter to AANA BOD

  • Aug 9, 2019

Dear Drs. Mason and Peterson,

Thank you for writing to share your well wishes and congratulations. As you can imagine, the Board and staff of the AANA are extremely excited about the upcoming Annual Congress in Chicago, IL. We are also grateful that you took the opportunity to acknowledge the important role that CRNAs play in this rapidly evolving health care environment. The AANA has always appreciated and respected anesthesiologists’ contributions to our shared specialty, and we know that many of our members and your members work side by side with a singular focus on patient safety.  

Rather than focusing on who is perceived as “leading” the team, the AANA and our members remain focused on ensuring our patients have access to the highest quality care possible. Sometimes that involves highly trained CRNAs and anesthesiologists working together. Other times it involves CRNAs and anesthesiologists working independently of each other. As you well know, both of these models are equally safe. The AANA is proud of the fact that CRNAs are the predominant anesthesia professional in rural and underserved areas. Furthermore, CRNAs provide the vast majority of battlefield anesthetics in forward-deployed surgical teams. This we are especially proud of. 

We also agree that it is imperative that team members, including all professionals in the perioperative setting, deserve to feel respected and recognized because of their essential contributions to patient care. Therefore, the AANA strongly encourages the ASA and ASA state chapters to refrain from future efforts in disparaging and diminishing the education of CRNAs and the important impact we have on health care delivery in this country. That would be an important step forward in demonstrating that the ASA truly does value respect and meaningful collaboration. 

Again, we would like to thank you for thoughtful communication, and we look forward to the opportunity to work together in establishing a lasting relationship that embodies collaboration, respect, and commitment to focusing on outstanding patient care. Perhaps now is the time to make that happen. 

Board of Directors 
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists