Emergency Medications Act Expected To Become Law

Washington, DC—The American College of Emergency Physicians today commended Congress for passing the "Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2017 (H.R.304)." The bill now goes to President Trump who is expected to sign it into law. ACEP's president, Paul Kivela, MD, FACEP released the following statement: 

"I applaud the United States Congress on the bipartisan passage of the "Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2017," sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) in the House and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Co) in the Senate.

"This law will make sure Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies can continue to administer approved medications, such as anti-seizure and pain management drugs, to their patients under the authority of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

"EMS provides critical care for patients in the pre-hospital setting. The ability to use controlled substances in the field as appropriate is essential to saving lives, managing pain and improving health outcomes. This legislation will help protect the role of EMS medical directors and ability of first responders to treat patients with appropriate and necessary medication."

Specifically, the legislation would amend the Controlled Substances Act (21 USC 821 et seq) to permit physician medical directors to issue standing orders to EMS personnel so they may administer controlled substances to patients. In addition, the legislation clarifies and codifies who is authorized to provide verbal orders for controlled substances; provides the option for a single EMS agency registration; and clarifies receipt, movement and storage rules for EMS agency controlled substances.

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org.

Contact: Steve Arnoff | sarnoff@acep.org | Twitter @EmergencyDocs

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