Last month, Senator Bill Cassidy from Louisiana introduced S. 2932, or the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medicines Act of 2016, into the Senate, a bill which helps protect EMS crews’ ability to give medicine in the field. The legislation mirrored a bill put into the House of Representatives (H.R. 4365) in January by Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina.
The bills were introduced with the goal of reducing confusion between EMS agencies and the DEA as to regulations for EMS practitioners handling controlled substances such as narcotics for pain and epinephrine.
The bills push to allow EMS practitioners to administer controlled substances in the field via direction from a medical director, including a verbal order issued by one or more medical directors. The bills also clarify that the current practice of physician medical directors overseeing care provided in the field by EMS practitioners through “standing orders” is statutorily allowed, protected and necessary. This allows patients access to the medications they might need in the field.
The act ensures that EMS agencies are liable for the receiving, storing and tracking of controlled substances, similar to procedures at hospitals.
To learn more about the act or to show your support, check out these resources: