Medication Access

Senate Passes Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act

Press Release Oct 26, 2017

Washington, D.C.—Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today applauded the Senate’s passage of the Protecting Patients Access to Emergency Medications Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Bennet and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) that would ensure emergency medical service (EMS) professionals can provide life-saving drugs and care to patients experiencing medical emergencies.

“EMS professionals should have multiple tools at their disposal to respond to traumatic events,” Bennet said. “This bipartisan legislation will allow them to administer life-saving drugs directly to patients while also creating safeguards to track controlled substances and prevent diversion. We applaud its passage in the Senate and encourage the House to follow suit.”

The Protecting Patients Access to Emergency Medications Act would update regulations in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), allowing EMS professionals to speedily administer life-saving drugs to patients without direct physician supervision—potentially enabling them to save patients’ lives.

EMS practitioners have administered life-saving medications over 100,000 times in Colorado from 2014-2015.

“Without Congressional action, patients especially here in rural Colorado will be negatively impacted by being denied access to life-saving medications and pain control,” said Bruce Evans, Fire Chief for the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District and member of the NAEMT Board of Directors from Bayfield, Colorado. “These individuals are often transported over long distances in mountainous areas where radio or cell phone services are spotty. Reversing standing orders will directly and negatively compromise EMS personnel to provide quality care. Passage of this bill to secure and maintain standing orders is critical. I applaud Senators Bennet and Cassidy for introducing it and urge a speedy passage.”

The following organizations have expressed their strong support for the legislation: American Ambulance Association, American College of Emergency Physicians, Association of Critical Care Transport, Emergency Nurses Association, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, National Association of EMS Physicians, and National Association of State EMS Officials.

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