On July 12, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing examining ways to strengthen our national trauma system. The hearing reviewed a recent report and recommendations by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), as well as H.R. 4365, the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2016, authored by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC).
H.R. 4365 will clarify that the current practice of physician Medical Directors overseeing care provided by paramedics and other emergency practitioners via "standing orders" is statutorily allowed and protected. NAEMSP leadership worked diligently with Rep. Hudson's office in an effort to inform the final bill language. Further, NAEMSP members worked with our coalition partners to galvanize support for the bill through grassroots efforts. As of this writing, H.R. 4365 has 126 cosponsors.
Dr. Brent Myers, NAEMSP President-Elect, testified on behalf of NAEMSP in support of H.R. 4365 stating, "to ensure our ability to continue providing immediate and life-saving care, it is imperative that the Congress amend the Controlled Substances Act to preserve our ability to utilize standing orders as provided for in H.R. 4365. And, it is essential that the Congress enact this vital legislation now, before a regulation is promulgated that would endanger patients."
Other witnesses included: Ms. Jorie Klein, BSN, RN; Dr. Craig Manifold, DO, FACEP; Dr. C. William Schwab, MD, FACS; and Dr. David Marcozzi, MD.
We anticipate that the subcommittee will meet after congressional recess in September to "mark up" the bill. The full committee then votes on its recommendation to the House of Representatives. We continue to garner support for the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2016 in the Senate (S. 2932) introduced by Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA).
For more information on the hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast click here.