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Full Senate approves bill allowing collaboration between physicians, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star
Senator Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, presents CRNA bill to the full Senate on Monday.  It was passed unanimously.

After years of stalled attempts to modernize Oklahoma statutes dealing with Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), compromise legislation has cleared the full Senate.  Senate Bill 801 would bring Oklahoma in line with much of the country in how CRNAs are regulated.  The bill, authored by Sen. Paul Rosino, was approved unanimously on Monday.

“The crux of the bill still comes down to changing that regulation from a supervisory relationship between physicians and CRNAs to collaboration.  It’s exactly how 40 other states and the U.S. military do it. But this time we brought all the stakeholders together to hammer out a version they all could support,” said Rosino, R-Oklahoma City.  “This legislation is particularly important for rural Oklahoma where CRNAs are sometimes the only provider for critical access hospitals and other healthcare centers.”

While previous efforts to pass similar language never made it all the way through the legislative process, Rosino said he is optimistic about getting SB 801 to the governor’s desk this session.

“I think this shows when we work together, we can accomplish even better health outcomes for Oklahoma.  The CRNAs worked alongside the anesthesiologists, surgeons, and other healthcare providers to bring common sense reforms to the legislature,” Rosino said.  “These associations, including the Oklahoma Association of Nurse Anesthetists (OANA), the Oklahoma Society of Anesthesiologists (OSA), the Oklahoma State Medical Association (OSMA), and the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association (OOA), have shown how we can come together to solve complex issues facing our state.”

Jennifer Schmitt is the immediate past president of OANA and said SB 801 will result in communities and hospitals having an easier time obtaining access to anesthesia for surgery and obstetrical care, providing immeasurable benefits for patients and the state.

“Leaders from the physician and nursing communities worked together as a team over the last year for common sense solutions to help Oklahoma become a top ten state,” Schmitt said. “Working together as a team is what healthcare is all about.  A negotiated agreement like what we have achieved today is something that should be an example for others.”

OSMA President Larry Bookman, M.D., also supported the bill.

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“The Oklahoma State Medical Association is proud to have worked with its health care partners on this compromise legislation,” Bookman said.  “We look forward to continuing our work toward better health for Oklahoma.”

Jeremy Haney, M.D., OSA president, also expressed support for SB 801.

“We reached a mutual agreement that maintains safe, physician led anesthesia care ensuring patient safety for all Oklahomans.  This legislation guarantees the collaboration between all parties with onsite physician presence during the delivery of anesthesia,” said Jeremy Haney, MD, President, Oklahoma Society of Anesthesiologists. 

The measure was also endorsed by OOA.

“The Oklahoma Osteopathic Association was happy to work with all organizations involved and agreed to this mutually drafted amendment as it supports a physician-led model of care and secures the best quality of care for all patients,” said Lana Ivy, OOA CEO and Executive Director.

SB 801 now moves to the House for further consideration.

For more information, contact Sen. Paul Rosino at 405-521-5618 or email Paul.Rosino@oksenate.gov.