Davisson: Increasing access to emergency medication at Hoosier schools

Posted by: Nick Seifer  | Friday, March 17, 2017 9:00 am

Schools around Indiana and the country are continuing to see an increase in the amount of students with medical issues like asthma and food allergies. For example, over 10 percent of the 1.1 million students in Indiana have asthma. If a situation arises where a student needs emergency treatment, Hoosier schools should be adequately equipped. This session, the Indiana General Assembly has been working to allow schools to increase their access to emergency medication, which would be on hand in order for school nurses and staff to properly respond to emergency situations.

The increase in the number of medical conditions has resulted in new challenges for our schools. A recent study found that 6 to 8 percent of students who have allergies find out while at school. Currently, schools are only allowed to keep EpiPens, an epinephrine auto-injector device used to combat certain allergens, on hand for use in medical emergencies. Senate Bill 392 would allow schools to fill a prescription for albuterol, epinephrine and naloxone rather than just auto-injectable epinephrine. This expanded list would help address emergency issues such as asthma and food allergies.

Recently, this bill was presented to the House to address this important issue. The bill would not only expand the list of emergency medication, but give school staff who participate in training civil immunity when they must administer emergency medication. It would also save schools money by allowing them to purchase longer lasting EpiPens and prevent litigation costs with granted immunity to trained staffers.

The House Committee on Public Health heard from doctors, legislators and the Department of Education stressing the need for schools to have better training, reporting and immunity for those who administer the emergency medicines. The proposed bill would give schools the ability to train their staff and improve the reporting system when medication is used.

After being supported by the House of Representatives, this amended proposal will return to the Senate. From there, it could be sent to the governor to become law. Please contact me with any questions or ideas at 317-232-9648 or at h73@iga.in.gov.

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Rep. Steve Davisson represents Washington County and parts of Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark and Harrison counties.

A high-resolution photo of Davisson can be downloaded by clicking here.