NMANA Letter to the Editor

July 26, 2022

Dear Editor,

Thank you, Dr. Michael Gajewski, I appreciate your service to New Mexico patients, but it is important to give the public accurate information regarding CRNA practice.

As a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), I have practiced in New Mexico for over a decade in all practice settings.   CRNAs are highly educated, advanced practice nurses with a Masters or Doctorate degree who help improve access to safe and affordable anesthesia care, providing more than 49 million anesthetics annually in the U.S. to all settings, including rural areas and U.S. military personnel. More than 80% of anesthetics performed in rural areas across the U.S. are provided by CRNAs.

New Mexico CRNAs have practiced without the supervision of physician anesthesiologist for over two decades and have a stellar safety record. Our critical care experience and airway management expertise allowed us to serve patients well through the COVID pandemic as we performed lifesaving measures without supervision by a physician anesthesiologist. I have great respect for my colleagues across the state who stepped in to help mitigate the COVID surge, making a difference in many lives.

Patients bear the burden when certain barriers to CRNA practice are employed—barriers like physician supervision of CRNAs. Supervision comes with a higher price tag to patients and to medical facilities and does not increase patient safety. Studies have proven that the most cost-effective anesthesia delivery model is a CRNA working as the sole anesthesia provider. The economics of requiring physician supervision don’t make sense—not when CRNAs provide the same outcomes as anesthesiologists and are more affordable for both patients and the facilities that employ them. Allowing CRNAs to practice to the top of their licensure has not only increased healthcare capacity, it has also provided flexibility to hospitals and freed up physicians to provide patient care rather than focus on supervisory requirements.

Thank you again for the care you have given to our residents of N.M.



Angela Frietze MSN, CRNA

President, New Mexico Association of Nurse Anesthetists