Change provides better health care

Posted: Tuesday, November 04, 2003

On Sept. 17, Governor Murkowski signed a document that allows Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in Alaska to provide anesthesia services for Medicare patients.

CRNAs are permitted, under Alaska Statute, to practice independently of physician supervision. A provision in Medicare law, however, mandated physician supervision of CRNA services. This severely limited these health care professionals' ability to provide services needed by Medicare patients in rural areas. The governors of each state have the option to request exemption for their state from this Medicare regulation. By requesting this exemption, Governor Murkowski increased access to health care for Alaska Medicare patients.

Alaska now joins nine other states whose governors have requested that CRNAs be permitted to provide professional, quality anesthesia services to Medicare patients. Those other states are Washington, North Dakota, New Mexico, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and New Hampshire.

Thank you Governor Murkowski for signing this exemption request which increases access to quality, professional health care for all Alaskans.

Cathy Giessel

Legislative Affairs Committee; Alaska Nurse Practitioner Association

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