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Patient Care

New Minn. Bill Allows Paramedics to Administer Complex Medicine

The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.

Mar. 25—The Minnesota House passed a bill 126-0 Monday that would allow paramedics and other emergency personnel to administer complex medicine to people with rare diseases.

The measure was introduced after a Courtland family approached lawmakers in 2016 to allow emergency responders to treat people with rare diseases. Responders can give simple medicine such as an Epipen, but only doctors can administer more complex medicine because of legal liability issues.

Sens. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, and Nick Frentz, DFL-North Mankato, have already shepherded a Senate version through committee and expect the Senate to address it next month.

The bill takes away liability for emergency personnel who administer complex medicine. Major ambulance providers already have plans for emergency personnel to administer some complex medicine, but rural providers in Greater Minnesota are still concerned about liability issues.

Regulatory board officials are required as part of the bill to make recommendations on how to implement new liability requirements to the Legislature by next year.

Minnesota isn't the first state to tackle paramedic liability. Missouri passed a similar law in 2017 and advocates are lobbying for changes in other states.

Area lawmakers tried to pass a law in 2017 to solve the problem but ran into language issues with medical industry lobbyists. They reintroduced another bill last year that garnered bipartisan support as Westrom carried the bill in the Senate after hearing concerns from one of his constituents.

Despite support from lawmakers and medical professionals, the bill was put into the $1 billion omnibus budget bill that Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed last year due to disagreements on other issues with Republicans.

Both the DFL-controlled House and GOP-controlled Senate have promised to pass bills like the paramedic proposal on their own merits this session. While it's possible the bill could be rolled into an omnibus legislative package once again, lawmakers believe the measure will pass as a standalone bill.


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