Butterfield, Hudson Introduce Bill to Improve Emergency Medical Services

Thursday, U.S. Representatives G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) and Richard Hudson (NC-08) announced the introduction of the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act (H.R. 4365).  The bipartisan bill codifies the practice of emergency medical responders administering medicines such as pain narcotics and life-saving anti-seizure medications to individuals who need them.  The legislation ensures that these treatments are only administered with physician oversight.

“EMS agencies across North Carolina respond to more than 1.6 million events every year,” said Rep. Butterfield.  “This legislation is critical to ensuring North Carolinians who are victims of accidents and other traumatic events, particularly those in rural communities who may be far removed from emergency rooms, are able to receive medically-appropriate treatments that can save their lives.”

The Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act specifically clarifies that the current practice of physician Medical Directors overseeing care provided by paramedics and other emergency medical service practitioners via “standing orders” is statutorily allowed and protected.

“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,” said Rep. Hudson. “This 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.”

H.R. 4365 ensures patients will continue to receive these vital medications by:

  • Codifying the practice of standing orders by a physician Medical Director for the administration and delivery of controlled substances, maintaining physician oversight of medical decisions, while,
  • Making the EMS Agency liable for the receiving, storing, and tracking of controlled substances, similar to current procedure at hospitals.

This legislation is supported by:

  • The American Ambulance Association
  • American College of Emergency Physicians
  • Association of Air Medical Services
  • Association of Critical Care Transport
  • International Association of Fire Chiefs
  • International Association of Fire Fighters
  • National Association of EMS Physicians
  • National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
  • National Association of State EMS Officials