Mahan: Saving lives with more options for EMTs

Posted by: Nick Seifer  | Friday, March 9, 2018 10:30 am

After traveling throughout our community, meeting with citizens and discussing a variety of topics throughout last year’s #MeetWithMahan Listening Tour, a commonsense suggestion from a local emergency medical technician will soon be law. By simply allowing EMTs to pre-load syringes with epinephrine, hundreds of dollars can be saved per dose and we can ease financial burdens placed on local emergency service budgets.

A stop on my Listening Tour was at Jackie’s Restaurant in Gas City. I wasn’t giving any speeches or legislative updates, I was there to listen to our community members and hear their thoughts before heading down to Indianapolis for the 2018 legislative session.

A group of EMTs walked into the restaurant and sat down at the table across from me. One leaned over and said they wanted to talk to me about epinephrine, which is used by paramedics in response to life-threatening situations caused by asthma or severe allergic reactions. I learned EMTs in Grant County were spending an exorbitant amount of money stocking their trucks with auto-injectable epinephrine shots, commonly called EpiPens.

EpiPens cost anywhere from $360 to $600 per dose and can put a financial burden on local emergency service budgets. Not just expensive, they have a relatively short shelf life of only 18 months, which is among the shortest in the drug industry. Most doses would get thrown out upon expiration without ever being used.

Duaine Ashcraft, one of the EMTs who put forth this idea, explained that by using a syringe and an ampule, they could withdraw epinephrine and then inject it. At the time, EMTs couldn’t use the more affordable option. As a result, I authored House Enrolled Act 1180.

This legislation gives EMTs the flexibility to administer epinephrine through pre-loaded syringes, which is considerably less expensive and just as effective. This could lower local emergency service spending on epinephrine to $10 per dose.

I asked my colleagues who work in the medical field and our legislative liaison at the Department of Homeland Security to take a look at the legislation. We found that we could give trained technicians the ability to stock their trucks with the more affordable option, and take a major strain off local budgets.

It’s amazing to see how a simple conversation in a small town restaurant, such as Jackie’s, can have a statewide impact. I always say the Lord gave us one mouth and two ears. When we use the latter, great things can happen. Learn about this legislation by visiting iga.in.gov and reach out to my office with any questions at h31@iga.in.gov or 317-234-9499. 

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State Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) represents House District 31,

which includes portions of Delaware, Grant and Wells counties.

 

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