President Donald Trump recently signed into law the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act, which allows emergency medical responders to administer controlled substances under the supervision of a physician.
U.S. Representatives Richard Hudson (R-NC) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) introduced the bill, H.R. 304, in January.
“The passage of this law will help save lives by ensuring people have access to medications in emergencies,” Butterfield said. “The goal is that first responders will have the tools to help people in life-threatening emergencies and enable individuals to receive the best care possible. This bill is important for my constituents in North Carolina, particularly those living in rural areas, who become sick or injured in remote areas and must be stabilized to travel to the nearest hospital.”
H.R. 304 is designed to ensure patients receive medications by codifying the practice of standing orders by a physician Medical Director for the administration and delivery of controlled substances and preserving physician oversight of medical decisions. At the same time, the legislation also makes the EMS Agency liable for the receiving, storing, and tracking of controlled substances, similar to current procedure at hospitals.
“The ability to use controlled substances in the prehospital setting as appropriate is essential to saving lives, managing pain and improving health outcomes,” Paul D. Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said. “This legislation will help protect the role of EMS medical directors and ability of first responders to treat patients with appropriate and necessary medication.”