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Official news from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

AANA Applauds HHS Report Calling for Removal of Practice Barriers for Non-physician Healthcare Professionals

  • Dec 4, 2018

For Immediate Release: December 4, 2018
For more information, contact: AANA Public Relations

Park Ridge, Illinois—In a positive move for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and other non-physician healthcare professionals, and especially for the millions of patients served by these qualified providers, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday released its new report titled “Reforming America’s Healthcare System through Choice and Competition.”

“The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) applauds the impressive message the report sends to policymakers, the medical profession, allied health professionals, and the public about the need to fully utilize all healthcare professionals to ensure patient access to the widest possible spectrum of safe, affordable healthcare options,” said AANA President Garry Brydges, DNP, MBA, ACNP-BC, CRNA, FAAN.

The report strongly encourages state governments to remove barriers to practice and allow all healthcare providers to practice to the top of their license and skill set. While the report doesn’t deliver a specific action plan, it makes many recommendations for improving public policy in the areas of healthcare workforce and labor markets, healthcare provider markets, healthcare insurance markets, and consumer-driven healthcare. 

Checking in at 114 pages, the extensive report states that, “Even when some form of collaboration or supervision might be desirable, particular requirements might be unnecessary, over-rigid, and costly barriers to the efficient delivery of healthcare services.  Extremely rigid collaborative practice agreements and other burdensome forms of physician and dentist supervision are generally not justified by legitimate health and safety concerns.”

The report makes the following recommendations to broaden scope of practice:

  • States should consider changes to their scope-of-practice statutes to allow all healthcare providers to practice to the top of their license, utilizing their full skill set.
  • The federal government and states should consider accompanying legislative and administrative proposals to allow non-physician and non-dentist providers to be paid directly for their services where evidence supports that the provider can safely and effectively provide that care.
  • States should consider eliminating requirements for rigid collaborative practice and supervision agreements between physicians and dentists and their care extenders (e.g., physician assistants, hygienists) that are not justified by legitimate health and safety concerns.

In addition, the report recommends streamlining federal funding of medical education, continuing the work being done by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, and ensuring flexible network adequacy standards for Medicare Advantage and other federally sponsored programs.

“The AANA supports the ongoing work of HHS and CMS to ensure healthcare provider competition that allows patients to receive care from the providers of their choice,” said Brydges.

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