Saturday, June 03, 2006

CHMC CRNAs; Wm. O'Neill, S. Cole, R. LaRock, L. Widrick, R. Smith.

June 3, 2006Hon. Kenneth P. LaValleNew York State Senate Higher Education Committee, ChairLegislative Office Building – Room 806
Albany, NY 12247

Dear Chairman LaValle:
I write to express my opposition to S.7613, a bill you currently sponsor that would negatively impact the practice of nurse anesthesia and jeopardize vital health care services across New York State. I am a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) practicing in the (Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg, NY 13669), and personally fear the damage this measure may cause my own career and that of my colleagues. I appeal to you not only as the bill's sponsor, but
also as Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and respectfully request you reconsider advancing this legislation.

As you are aware, our professional organization, the New York State Association of Nurse Anesthetists (NYSANA) has been seeking legislation to codify the practice for more than fifteen years. Absent codification of the practice, residents across the State are increasingly losing access to necessary, affordable and quality health care. In addition, highly skilled, advanced practice nurses are being denied payment for Medicaid and Worker's Compensation-related service as well as struggling to obtain malpractice insurance coverage. Your legislative proposal has the potential to perpetuate these negative factors that contribute to the state's nursing shortage and hostile and unattractive working environment for the profession. Contrary to the stated intent of your legislation, current efforts establishing Nurse Practitioner-Anesthesia licensure will promote patient safety and ensure quality care and professional accountability. Nurse anesthesia is the oldest advanced nursing specialty. In fact, CRNAs have been practicing in New York for over 120 years. Existing requirements for masters level education, clinicalexperience, national certification examination, continuing education and re-certification have resulted in the high quality, professional standard of care exhibited by CRNAs. Inexplicably, New York State is the only state in the country that does not fully recognize the practice of nurse anesthesia! New York State's nursing shortage, rising health care costs, fewer providers in underserved areas and competition from neighboring states,have all had a profoundly negative impact on our current health care system. Thus, this legislation would not only create disincentives for retaining and attracting CRNAs but, also negatively impact access to quality, affordable health care for this state's most vulnerable population I respectfully ask that you reconsider your sponsorship of this legislation and join with us and other members of the Legislature to promote and preserve this important profession. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.

Robert E. LaRock CRNA
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist


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