The Senate last night approved by unanimous consent the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medicines Act (H.R. 304). The AHA-supported legislation clarifies that medications governed by the Controlled Substances Act may be administered by emergency medical services practitioners under a standing order issued by the EMS agency’s physician medical director. “If EMS practitioners cannot rely on standing orders to authorize administration of medications governed by the CSA, treatment may be delayed for patients in pain or experiencing other significant symptoms,” noted AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels in a January letter of support for the bipartisan bill, sponsored by Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC). “We applaud your efforts to clarify the role of standing orders while protecting the continuity of existing EMS operations and oversight structures around the country. We also appreciate that the legislation continues to allow hospital-based EMS agencies to use their hospital’s Drug Enforcement Administration registration so that no new administrative burdens are placed on hospital-based EMS agencies.” The bill now goes back to the House, where it passed in January, due to minor technical changes approved by the Senate.

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