Anesthesia and Lawmakers

As costs continue to rise, healthcare policymakers are balancing a mandate by their constituents to make the system more efficient and accessible, all while maintaining safe, high-quality service delivery. Research suggests a CRNA-based anesthesia care model moves lawmakers a step closer to meeting that challenge.

The Perfect Model, Safe and Cost-Effective

While all anesthesia professionals deliver the same anesthetics, there are several models for who makes up the anesthesia delivery team:

  • Care-team model - physician anesthesiologists supervising resident physicians in training and directing qualified non-physician anesthesia providers, such as CRNAs, who ultimately administer the anesthetics.
  • All-MD model - anesthesia care provided by medical doctors only, specifically physician anesthesiologists. Because of the higher staff costs, this model is most prevalent in one- or two-room surgery centers and less common in large ambulatory service centers.
  • All-CRNA model - anesthesia care delivered by CRNAs independently, without the involvement of an anesthesiologist. In states where supervision is required, CRNAs practicing in this model can be supervised by any licensed physician.
  • MD+CRNA model - this model functions much like the care team model but with fewer supervision requirements, allowing CRNAs to function according to their full scope of practice.

A landmark study published in 2010 found that a CRNA working as the sole anesthesia provider is the most cost-effective anesthesia delivery model. Get research