The 82nd Meeting of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists is under way in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nurse Anesthetists from across the country as well as representatives from across the world are meeting this week to learn the latest information in anesthesia, to conduct the business of the association, and to network with colleagues. It is also an opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of the city that never sleeps.
The meeting started off with an Opening Convention that included recognition of State Presidents, Friends for Life, Past Presidents of the AANA, and the current AANA Board of Directors. Awards were presented for the John F. Garde Researcher of the Year, Program Director of the Year, Didactic Instructor of the Year, Clinical Instructor of the Year, Rita L LeBlanc Philanthropist of the Year, and Public Relations Effort of the Year. Following that has been multiple lectures on anesthesia topics that are at the forefront of the field of nurse anesthesia.
Sunday was an exciting day as the business meeting was attended by 526 voting members (a new record since 2000); President of the AANA Janice Izlar presented a report of the association. The strength of the association is still strong with 91.1% of the over 51,000 CRNAs belonging to the association. The report that our Federal Government Affairs Department is as strong as ever this year as they were able to lobby to secure a ruling from CMS that all CRNAs will be fully reimbursed for all services allowed under each states Scope of Practice for CRNAs including Pain Management. Also CMS ruled that Anesthesia Assistants can not bill QZ as independent practitioners, therefore establishing CRNAs position as independent practitioners. President Izlar confirmed the AANA’s initiative to strengthen state associations with the creation of a State Reimbursment Specialist for each state, in order to have a proactive voice in this ever so critical topic. Tennessee is happy to have Abe Abuelouf and Patty Cornwell as our reimbursement specialist. It was also reported that the AANA has initiated a Corporate Partnership Program in order to strengthen our association in the current healthcare landscape. Although relationships with the COA and NBCRNA have been strained this year, great progress was made to strengthen the relationship. Both organizations resigned service agreements with the AANA and the COA has entered into a 20 year agreement with AANA, solidifying the importance of nurse anesthesia education for many years to come. Continued work is ongoing with the NBCRNA. In regards to the relationships with COA and NBCRNA, the membership spoke loudly as they removed restrictive language within the AANA bylaws that required AANA to only use NBCRNA as the recertifying body of the AANA and COA as the accrediting body for nurse anesthesia programs. Financially the AANA is very strong and forecast for the future shows further financial stability.
This AANA Annual meeting will continue through Tuesday of this week and many valuable education and hands-on workshops will be held to promote the educational excellence of the association.
Tennessee is well-represented with CRNAs from Memphis to Knoxville attending the meeting. Your Tennessee Board of Directors has 4 members here! Looking forward to seeing everyone at the TANA Meeting in October.