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Nurse anesthetists applaud CMS ruling protecting patient access to pain care

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 2) -- The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) applauds yesterday's decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to preserve patient access to chronic pain care delivered by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs).

"Many Americans depend on nurse anesthetists to treat their chronic pain safely and effectively," said Janice Izlar, CRNA, DNAP, president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. "Thanks to yesterday's ruling, our patients can be secure in the knowledge that they'll continue to have access to the nurse anesthetists they know and trust."

For decades, Medicare has reimbursed CRNAs directly for chronic pain-management services that they're authorized to perform by the states in which they practice. The new CMS ruling confirms this longstanding practice and puts a uniform policy in place for the entire country, consistent with the Institute of Medicine's recommendation that Medicare cover services provided by advanced practice nurses to the full extent of their state scope of practice.

"America's 45,000 nurse anesthetists administer some 33 million anesthetics every year," said Izlar. "They're a crucial part of our nation's pain-care infrastructure, particularly in rural and medically underserved communities.

"With yesterday's ruling, the Medicare agency and the Administration have truly put the needs of patients first."


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