CRNA’s Impact on Healthcare

Research shows that Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are the most cost-effective anesthesia providers with an exceptional safety record. In today's changing healthcare environment, patients want healthcare delivered with personal care, at a lower cost, with a high degree of confidence. CRNAs deliver all of these. So that you will have the information to better understand the role that anesthesia care and pain management play in the delivery of healthcare, this site will lead you to resources about the different types of anesthesia, what to expect during surgery, scientific research, and frequently asked questions about your care.

Why CRNAs are Safe and Cost Effective:
Numerous reports describe anesthesia as being approximately 50 times safer than it was in the 1980s, and landmark studies published within the last five years confirm that anesthesia care is equally safe regardless of whether it is provided by a CRNA working alone, an anesthesiologist working alone, or a CRNA working with an anesthesiologist.
Furthermore, when it comes to the bottom line, CRNAs are very cost effective. Based on the Lewin Study which compares various anesthesia delivery models for average inpatient demand, the CRNA-only model is approximately 25 percent less expensive than an anesthesiologist directing four CRNAs, and far more cost-effective than the most expensive model, an anesthesiologist directing a single CRNA.
CRNAs provide anesthesia in collaboration with surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, anesthesiologists, and other qualified healthcare professionals. When anesthesia is administered by a nurse anesthetist, it is recognized as the practice of nursing; when administered by an anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of medicine. Regardless of whether their educational background is in nursing or medicine, all anesthesia professionals give anesthesia the same way.

CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.

CRNAs and Physicians Working Together:
Surgeons and CRNAs work in a collaborative relationship to provide the safest care possible to their patients, with the surgeon typically relying on the CRNA as the anesthesia expert. A nurse anesthetist uses independent judgment in determining the appropriate kind of anesthetic to be administered, as well as types of drugs and dosages. When a surgeon merely requests that a CRNA provide an anesthetic, this in itself is not an act of "control" that will necessarily make the surgeon liable for the nurse anesthetist's acts. Find out more about the relationship between CRNAs and physicians.

Nationally, the average 2012 malpractice premium for self-employed CRNAs was 33 percent lower than in 1988 (65 percent lower when adjusted for inflation). 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.

Important Studies:

Last Updated: 11/12/16