What is the role of the Council in regard to the profit margins of nurse anesthesia programs?

The Council does not play a role in the profit margins of anesthesia programs.  However, the COA’s Standards require programs to provide evidence that adequate resources exist to support the size and scope of the program to appropriately prepare students for practice and to promote the quality of graduates including:

  1. Financial resources that are budgeted and used to meet accreditation standards,
  2. Physical resources including facilities, equipment, and supplies,
  3. Learning resources including clinical sites, library, and technological access and support,
  4. Faculty and support personnel, and
  5. Student services including but not limited to assistance (such as financial aid), health services, insurance, placement services, and counseling.

The Practice Doctorate Standard B.7* and 2004 Standard II, Criteria B3 also require that the CRNA program administrator has the authority to prepare and administer the program budget.  Failure to fully comply with one or more of the COA Standards marked with an asterisk is considered to be of critical concern in decisions regarding nurse anesthesia program accreditation. 

The Council reviews the financial and other resources of programs through several mechanisms: programs are required to provide budget and resource information each year when they complete their annual reports for submission to the Council; evaluations of programs are completed by faculty and students at the midpoint of their accreditation cycle (or more often if required) and in preparation for an onsite visit; and programs submit a completed self study and host an onsite review when the program is due for review for continued accreditation. If the Council determines there may not be sufficient resources available to meet the Standards, the program administrator is notified and requested to address the Council’s concerns in writing, and include supporting documentation.

Please note that at its January 2014 meeting the COA approved a new “Program Resources and Student Capacity” policy.  This policy establishes benchmarks for each program’s class size based on adequacy of resources.  Programs cannot increase their class sizes without obtaining prior approval.  Programs must demonstrate reasonable assurance there are adequate resources as delineated in Practice Doctorate Standard A10* and current Standard II, Criteria B1*,B2, B4*, and B5.