Jun. 09, 2021

HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) that would officially recognize certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) in Pennsylvania was unanimously approved by the House Professional Licensure Committee on Tuesday. House Bill 931 now goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

“Pennsylvania is one of just two states that fails to formally recognize CRNAs in some form,” said Toohil. “Because there is no definition for ‘certified registered nurse anesthetist’ under the Commonwealth’s Professional Nursing Law, CRNAs are recognized only as registered nurses, not as CRNAs. That creates logistical and financial burdens, and it has also inhibited the full response to the COVID-19 pandemic by restricting anesthetists from providing advanced, critical care services.”

Toohil noted there are also other challenges associated with the lack of designation. Pennsylvania nurse anesthetists who serve in the military must secure designation in another state to provide anesthesia in the armed services. They cannot assist on rapid response teams in states affected by natural disasters because they lack formal credentials. And, after receiving training in Pennsylvania, many nurse anesthetists relocate to states with full credentialing, contributing to a “brain drain.”

“Nurse anesthetists are the only ones among the four advanced practice nursing groups that are lacking legal recognition under state law. My bill would finally correct this glaring omission,” Toohil added.

Similar bills were introduced in the two previous legislative sessions.

To view or download a broadcast-quality video of Toohil’s remarks in support of the bill, visit here.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
RepToohil.com / Facebook.com/RepToohil