After the AANA released a divisive which generated quite a bit of discussion and even excellent satire, many have eagerly awaited the ASA's response. The first part has arrived this morning from Dr. Linda Mason, President of the ASA via the organization's Monday Morning Outreach:
"I want to thank those of you who alerted us to a document recently released by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) called “CRNAs: We are the Answer.”
I was disappointed to read this malicious statement. However, there is little that’s new here. This is the same recycled, reformatted misinformation the organization has spread for years. We saw it during our campaign to preserve high-quality care in the VA. We saw it in New York last year. We have seen it this year in the seven states where the AANA and its state societies attempted to dismantle existing patient safety standards that ensured patient access to physician-led, team-based models of anesthesia. It didn’t persuade anyone at the VA or in New York or in states like Oklahoma or Arkansas. In each case, physician-delivered and physician-led care was preserved. I commend our members in those states who worked so hard for their patients.
In debate after debate, ASA has successfully responded to the misinformation the AANA foists upon state and federal policymakers. We point out that “nurse anesthesiologist” is a shameless term created to confuse patients. We explain the vast difference in education, skills and training between our medical specialty and nurse anesthetists. We present the fact that the data cited by the AANA to suggest equivalency in care is from brazen, self-funded advocacy studies paid for by the AANA itself. We give policymakers the independent studies that show superior outcomes with the involvement of anesthesiologists. And we are now highlighting that team-based anesthesia is a World Health Organization standard. The AANA and its state societies throw a lot of contempt at our medical specialty. But the good news is that with professionalism and facts, we are winning. And when we win, our patients win.
This AANA document is little more than vitriol. It is about appropriating the name of our medical specialty, disrupting successful team-based models, and ridiculous accusations of “fraud,” “overcompensation” and “barriers.” For ASA and our members, it is all about our patients and what is best for them.
The AANA document simply does not reflect reality. Throughout the country, our members continue to work successfully with nurse anesthetists in a team-based model that frequently also includes anesthesiologist assistants. We are grateful to work with all members of the care team. ASA is committed to preserving and strengthening physician-delivered and physician-led team-based models because that is what is best for our patients. We won’t be distracted from this mission, and I ask that you continue to work with me to preserve our victories and build upon them.
I also want to note that it appears this document is at the center of a larger campaign that the AANA will be unveiling soon. We will have a more detailed response to share with you here and in other member communications as events unfold.
You can read the AANA’s motivation for the document on their website."
So far, this is a specialty-wide communication, and no "official statement" has been made. Of particular concern is the impending "larger campaign" from the AANA, and we will have to wait and see exactly what it is. If recent history is any indication, it's unlikely to be anything good.
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