ENA Applauds the Signing of Legislation Allowing EMS Personnel to Continue Administering Life-Saving Medication
November 20, 2017 • EMS standing orders
DES PLAINES, Ill. (November 20, 2017) – The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) applauds Congress for passing, and President Trump for signing into law, the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act. The new law, one of ENA’s legislative priorities, amends the Controlled Substances Act to ensure EMS personnel may use standing orders to administer a controlled substance in cases in which a delay in treatment could result in harm or death to the patient.
Longstanding practice in EMS care has allowed medical directors of EMS agencies to write standing orders for the administration of controlled substances, such as pain narcotics or anti-seizure medications. Standing orders are preapproved instructions allowing EMS personnel to perform specific, advanced life support measures and administer certain medications. The Drug Enforcement Administration indicated it would prohibit the continued use of standing orders for EMS personnel barring any new legislation.
“Thanks to this new law, EMS personnel can continue to administer life-saving drugs as quickly as they can reach and assess the patient, saving valuable minutes in the delivery of care,” said ENA President Karen Wiley, MSN, RN, CEN. “This is an important victory for the delivery of high-quality emergency care to patients who need it most.”
The Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act was introduced in the House by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-NC, and in the Senate by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-LA, and Sen. Michael Bennet D-CO.
More than 100 ENA members visited Capitol Hill in May to advocate for the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act along with other important healthcare legislation.