Legislation giving independence practice rights to certified registered nurse anesthetists was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday.
Under HB 4359, now Public Act 53 of 2021, certified registered nurse anesthetists would be required to work in accordance with national standards and that a CRNA hold a specialty certification for at least three years before practicing without supervision.
Another requirement would be for physicians, podiatrists and dentists be part of a patient-centered care team.
Passage of the bill marks the first time in the years-long effort by nurse anesthetists to expand their scope of practice.
"We are proud to have Governor Whitmer sign into law legislation that makes clear the importance of nurse anesthetist working alongside their physician colleagues," Toni Schmittling, president of the Michigan Association of Nurse Anesthetists, said in a statement. "Our united goal in healthcare is the best care for patients, and this bill ensures high quality healthcare for Michigan patients."
Bill sponsor Rep. Mary Whiteford, R-Casco Township, said in a statement said that "removing the requirement of physician supervision will empower our CRNAs."
"Eliminating this requirement will help improve access to anesthesia services, especially in underserved areas of our state, while reducing health care costs for patients," she said.
The Michigan State Medical Society remained opposed to the legislation throughout its venture through the Legislature, as did many in the medical community.
"Anesthesia carries significant risks and requires careful planning and administration to properly see a patient through an otherwise painful procedure," MSMS President Bobby Mukkamala, an otolaryngologist in Flint, said earlier this year. "Highly trained physicians ensure better and safer patient care, better outcomes and lower costs for taxpayers."
Mukkamala conceded there is some support among doctors for more independent practice by CRNAs, especially general surgeons in rural areas.
— Crain's Detroit Business contributed to this report.