Butterfield, Hudson Applaud Passage of Bipartisan EMS Bill

Nov 6, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives G. K. Butterfield (D- NC-01) and Richard Hudson (R-NC-08) today applauded the passage of their bipartisan bill, the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act, H.R. 304.

In January, Reps. Butterfield and Hudson re-introduced the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act to amend the Controlled Substances Act to enable paramedics and other emergency medical services (EMS) professionals to continue to administer controlled substances, such as anti-seizure medications, to patients pursuant to standing orders issued by their EMS agency’s medical director.  Without this solution, quality emergency care may decrease and patients could suffer simply because law and regulation have not kept up with the evolution of modern medicine. 

The bill passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support on Friday, November 3.  This bipartisan, bicameral legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Passage of this legislation is a breakthrough for the delivery of medication in emergency situations,” said Congressman Butterfield.  “Through this bill, we hope to ensure patients receive treatment when they need it most, particularly in rural communities like those in eastern North Carolina where the patient may be far removed from an emergency room.  I commend my colleagues for coming together to pass this potentially life-saving measure so that patients can receive treatment as quickly as possible.”

“After more than a year of hard work, I’m pleased to see this important bill finally head to President Trump’s desk,” said Congressman Hudson.  “This is an example of how to get things done — finding common ground and advancing bipartisan solutions to get results people deserve.”

This critical legislation is supported by several emergency medicine advocacy groups and professional organizations, including:

"NAEMSP applauds legislation led by Reps. Richard Hudson, G.K. Butterfield and Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. and Michael Bennett that Congress passed ensuring that life-saving EMS professionals are able to deliver emergency medication to the patients that so desperately need them," said Brent Myers, MD, MPH, FACP, FAEMS, President, National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP).  "Without this solution, quality emergency care and patients would have been endangered simply because law and regulation have not kept up with the evolution of modern medicine.  This 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 ability to use controlled substances in the prehospital setting as appropriate is essential to saving lives, managing pain and improving health outcomes,” said Paul D. Kivela, MD, MBA, FACEP, President, American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).  “This legislation will help protect the role of EMS medical directors and ability of first responders to treat patients with appropriate and necessary medication.”

“Utilizing standing orders to deliver life-saving EMS medications rapidly remains an important cornerstone of effective pre-hospital emergency medical care,” said Harold A. Schaitberger, General President, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).  “We applaud Representatives Hudson and Butterfield for their laser-focused attention on correcting a bureaucratic hindrance that had the potential to delay the safe administration of life-saving medicines to Americans suffering from serious medical conditions.”