ONA Sends Support for Sub HB 191- Nurse Anesthetists

Sub House Bill 191 will hear proponent testimony on December 13, 2017.

Letter of support sent to The Honorable Steve Huffman:

Dear Chairman Huffman, Vice Chair Gavarone, Ranking Member Antonio, & Members of the House Health Committee:

As the president of the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA), I am writing on behalf of our association in support of Substitute House Bill 191 (HB 191) , a permissive bill that aims to increase access to health care for many Ohio citizens, while also clarifying the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist’s (CRNA) scope of practice.

HB 191 corrects an issue that arose in 2013 when a long-accepted practice allowing CRNAs to order certain medications to be administered by nurses in the post anesthesia care unit (PACU) was called into question. Although no patient safety concerns were identified in making the administrative ruling, it was determined that because CRNAs do not have prescriptive authority, unlike all other advanced practice registered nurses in Ohio, they could not continue to order limited medications even in limited circumstances. Notably, although CRNAs cannot order others to administer medications, they can administer these same medications themselves without a physician’s order, so patient safety was not the driving factor behind the decision. HB 191 judiciously addresses the practice of CRNAs and corrects the patient care problems that arose when the 2013 opinion was issued.

Further, the language in HB 191 is permissive and allows each facility to determine how to best utilize CRNAs based on the anesthesia delivery model adopted by that particular facility. Such flexibility is important in a state like Ohio where care needs and resources vary significantly.

As an association of nearly 10,000 nurses, ONA strives to improve the health and wellbeing of all Ohio’s citizens. We believe that HB 191 seeks to improve access to health care, allows facilities to utilize CRNAs in a way that is best for their community, while clarifying the laws and rules that govern a CRNA’s scope of practice. We respectfully request support for HB 191 from members of Ohio’s House Health Committee.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Brian J. Burger MSN, APRN, AGACNP-BC, CCRN President Ohio Nurses Association