U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced legislation recently to amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow EMS agencies to continue to administer controlled substances to countless patients who are sick or injured enough to need them either on the scene or en route to the hospital. This practice will be prohibited in the near future if the Controlled Substances Act is not amended by Congress.
The “Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2015” (HR 4365) will enable EMS agencies to continue the practice of using standing orders from their medical director to give medications to their patients under the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). There is a demonstrated clinical need to administer controlled substance medications, such as in patients who are experiencing seizures or in substantial pain. “The proposed legislation will codify current practices in statute so that EMS practitioners, and most importantly patients, do not see any disruption in the provision of this critical and lifesaving care,” said Jay Kaplan, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
According to Congressman Hudson, “Without this solution, we risk sacrificing quality emergency care and endangering patients simply because law and regulation have not kept up with the evolution of modern medicine. My legislation is an important clarification of law that allows our first responders to continue administering life-saving medications to patients when they need them most.” The legislation is supported by the National Association of EMS Physicians, American Ambulance Association, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the National Association of State EMS Officials, as well as the ACEP and organizations representing fire chiefs and fire fighters.
The Emergency Medications Act would amend the Controlled Substances Act to:
- Allow EMS agencies to directly register with the DEA;
- Permit a single registration for an EMS agency, rather than separate registration for each location;
- Require at least one medical director for each EMS agency;
- Allow the medical director to maintain standing orders for EMS personnel when treating patients; and
- Update receipt, movement and storage of controlled substances.
Updating the Controlled Substances Act to recognize the existing delivery model of EMS will be essential to protect patients, and provide statutory guidance to the DEA as it oversees the use of controlled substances in the EMS field.
Medtrust Medical Transport provides emergent and non-emergent ambulance services. We support patients and their families in Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Georgetown, South Carolina with a fleet of fully-equipped ambulances. Our goal is to provide compassionate and timely patient care.