Tuesday, April 24, 2018, Washington, DC
AANA President Bruce Weiner presented the AANA National Leadership Award to Representative Adrian Smith of Nebraska (3rd District). Rep. Smith has been supportive of CRNAs and our contributions as sole providers of anesthesia in rural communities.
As we wrap up this year’s Mid-Year Assembly, nearly 1,000 of our colleagues from around the country are on Capitol Hill this week telling their Senators and Representatives why full practice authority for CRNAs is critical to meet the triple aim of health care. I am confident that the future for CRNAs is bright because we exemplify a value-based care model, and we have the data to prove that CRNAs improve the patient experience, improve health, and reduce costs. I am also confident in a bright future because nearly 600 SRNAs are here to advocate for their future profession and for patient safety.
Here are three key takeaways from the President’s Update at this week’s Mid-Year Assembly.
- The Board is listening to you and we are acting
AANA is a member-driven, member-centric organization. We are putting significant resources towards two initiatives that were born within the grassroots of the membership: the Cultural Assessment Task Force chaired by Dr. Jackie Rowles and the Nurse Anesthesiologist Task Force chaired by Dr. Janice Izlar. We engaged in a healthy debate about the nurse anesthesiologist descriptor at the Board’s open forum on Monday afternoon, and the task force will continue their thoughtful work towards making recommendations that are in the best interest of our profession. A legal analysis and guidance for the states may be needed to ensure that CRNAs are not at risk for using the descriptor in their states.
- We are dedicated to improving member engagement and service.
To be member driven, we must do better at engaging our members and recruiting nonmembers. To that end, I have formed a task force, chaired by Dr. Heather Rankin, to analyze and optimize outreach and two-way communications with our members. We have already made some improvements, including increased use of AANA Connect, social media, and live town hall meetings. More improvements are coming soon. I also invite any member with a question or concern to call (813-505-1856) or email (email@example.com) me personally.
In addition, AANA has created a new position, Director of Member Service and Engagement, to be laser focused on providing outstanding member service and responsiveness to every member who needs assistance from AANA.
- We are on the front lines working to protect your practice rights.
AANA opposed Anthem’s latest policy on anesthesia for cataract procedures, which would deny coverage in most cases by anesthesia professionals. Anthem heard us and has stated that the policy has not yet been implemented, and they welcome collaboration with AANA.
Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S., was erroneously referring to CRNAs as Certified Anesthetist RNs. I contacted them personally, and they have corrected the error.
In North Carolina, Atrium Health opted not to renew a long-standing contract with Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants (SAC). This prompted SAC to launch an ad campaign which calls into question the safety of care provided by CRNAs. Some members have asked why AANA is not responding. In fact, we are working closely with the North Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists to provide them with resources and information to address this issue. We are also developing communications tools for the states to confront this type of disingenuous messaging head on and defend CRNA practice rights.
Congratulations and Thank You!
Finally, I want to congratulate Mary O’Brien of Iowa, for being recognized as the Political Director of the Year, and the Ohio State Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the recipient of the Award for Excellence in State Government Relations Advocacy.
Thank you to all those members who took time away from their “day jobs” to come to DC to support the profession. We could not be successful without your dedication and involvement. If you know CRNAs who have not yet joined AANA, please invite them to join us. When fighting for practice rights, there is strength in numbers. There is power in telling a legislator that we represent 86% of CRNAs and more than 50,000 members. Next year, let’s make it 100% representation and nearly 60,000 members.
Bruce A. Weiner, DNP, MSNA, CRNA