AANA Updates

Nurse Anesthetists Applaud the House of Representatives' Efforts to Curtail Opioid Crisis

  • Jun 22, 2018

For Immediate Release: June 22, 2018
For more information, contact: AANA Public Relations

Washington, D.C. – Today the House of Representatives expanded addiction treatment programs and access to care by enabling Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to administer medication-assisted treatment that will help save thousands of lives across the country.

“The House struck a major blow against the opioid crisis today by authorizing CRNAs to administer medication that will assist patients in their recovery and increase access to addiction treatment,” said AANA President Bruce Weiner, DNP, MSNA, CRNA. “This decision will immediately help patients struggling with addiction, especially in rural settings where alternative resources are scarce and addiction is rampant.”

There are more than 52,000 CRNAs who can now treat opioid addictions with medications such as buprenorphine. These medications ease withdrawal symptoms and improve treatment outcomes. Many of these CRNAs are practicing in rural and underserved communities where access to these services is limited – there are either no qualified providers currently working in the area or they’re overwhelmed by the large number of patients, which results in extended wait times.

Section 303 of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) was originally introduced by Representatives Paul Tonko and Ben Ray Lujan. Representatives Greg Walden, Frank Pallone, Kevin Brady, and Richard Neal were influential in maintaining Section 303, with help from the House Nursing Caucus, led by Representatives David Joyce, Tulsi Gabbard, Rodney Davis, and Suzanne Bonamici.

“CRNAs have taken a lead role in addressing the current opioid crisis and offering pain management,” said Weiner. “Nurse anesthesia’s support of this bill continues to put the patients first in our efforts to decrease the reliance on opioids by offering interventional pain management that is opioid-free or opioid-sparing.”

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