Veterans Need Care Now
Below is the email we will send to your Representative, U.S. Senators and VA Secretary Denis McDonough on your behalf:
I am writing today to express my support for granting veterans full and direct access to the care delivered by the nearly 1,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans have sacrificed for our nation and should not continue to wait unnecessarily for surgeries and medical procedures due to outdated regulations in the VA. Allowing our nation’s heroes access to safe, high-quality CRNA care is the right thing to do and this is the right time to do it.
The most recent VA Office of Inspector General report for FY22 showed significant increases in workforce shortages throughout the VA system and multiple studies demonstrate that CRNAs working independently not only provide similar outcomes when it comes to safety but also significant cost savings. In fact, CRNAs deliver close to 50 million anesthetics each year and practice in every setting from hospital emergency rooms to ambulatory surgical centers. CRNAs have historically provided much of the anesthesia to our active-duty military in combat arenas. They also work in the U.S. Armed Services, where they have full practice authority (FPA) in every branch of the military. While veterans continue to wait for care, the VA could develop policy today that grants direct access to CRNAs in VA hospitals and health facilities.
In 2016 the VA granted FPA to each specialty of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) except CRNAs. We now know the benefits of implementing FPA for other APRNs and that ongoing issues with the anesthesia workforce merit the inclusion of the nearly 1,000 CRNAs in providing our veterans with direct access to safe, high-quality care.
It is unacceptable that our veterans continue to wait for surgeries and other related procedures when the solution is right in front of us. I urge the VA to move forward with implementing full practice authority for CRNAs as quickly as possible – our veterans should have direct access to the care that they need and deserve.