Governor Ducey Takes Step To Free Up More Physicians To Address COVID-19

News Release

March 24, 2020

Reform Aims To Expand Access To Care, Especially In Rural Areas

PHOENIX⁠ — Governor Ducey yesterday notified the Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of his decision to exempt the State of Arizona from a federal regulation requiring Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) to be supervised by a physician. The reform will expand access to care, especially in rural areas, and free up physicians for other needed medical services.

“Arizona’s hospitals and medical professionals need all the help and resources they can get right now,” said Governor Ducey. “I am confident that this exemption will enhance access to high quality care, provide additional options to our rural hospitals, and is in the best interest of the citizens of Arizona.”

The Governor’s Office consulted with the Executive Directors of both the Arizona Nursing Board and the Arizona Medical Board prior to notifying CMS of today’s exemption. To date, 17 states have taken similar actions.

See a PDF of the letter HERE.

See the full letter below.

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The Honorable Seema Verma, Administrator

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Hubert Humphrey Building 

200 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20201


Dear Ms. Verma,
 

Pursuant to the final rule in the November 13, 2001, Federal Register, Volume 66, Number 219, I am exercising the option available to states and exempting the State of Arizona from the regulation requiring Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) be supervised by a physician. As you know, 17 other states have already exercised this option.

This exemption is consistent with Arizona law. Additionally, based on input that I have received from rural hospitals and medical providers, I believe that this exemption will enhance access to care in our rural areas. Moreover, at this time of heightened demands on our healthcare system, this will free up physicians for other needed medical services.

My office has consulted with the Executive Directors of both the Arizona Nursing Board and the Arizona Medical Board about this issue as it relates to both access to care and quality of services and is satisfied that this exemption is in the best interest of patients. 

After careful review and consideration, I am confident that this exemption will enhance access to high quality care, provide additional options to our rural hospital, and is in the best interest of the citizens of Arizona. 

Please consider this letter to be notification of Arizona’s election for state exemption.

Sincerely,
 

Douglas A. Ducey

Governor of the State of Arizona

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