By Nicole Hernandez
INDIANAPOLIS — A bill moving through the Statehouse would protect school employees from liability if they administer life-saving medications to their students.
Senate Bill 392 was heard by the House Education Committee Thursday and it would allow schools to provide, store and fill epinephrine, albuterol and naloxone, which are used in emergency situations.
The bill also requires that the school nurse or employee make a report and submit it to the Department of Education’s coordinator for Student Health Services if an emergency stock medication is administered and used.
The House Education Committee passed SB 392 that allows school to administer emergency medication without liability.
Photo by Nicole Hernandez, TheStatehouseFile.com
The data collected from the reports will help assist with training procedures, practices and determine who is actually administering the medication.
Rep. Steve Davisson, R-Salem, said he believes the bill is important because it can help save the lives of children who may have an undiagnosed allergy or condition. He noted that 16 to 18 percent of children who have food allergies have had their first reaction while at school.
“An average of one out of every 10 school-age children have asthma. Many children don’t necessarily know that they have asthma and they may have an asthma attack and not have the medication on them that they are able to use but still be in a serious situation,” said Davisson.
This bill also aims to protect children who may have been exposed to opioids by their parents or guardians by allowing schools to have naloxone, a narcotic overdose treatment medication.
Rep. Sheila Klinker, D-Lafayette, a former teacher, said that she would give medication to children if they needed it.
“I never gave a thought about being sued fortunately but this would have covered that at that time. I appreciate that but I would have appreciated this bill a long time ago too,” Klinker said.
Jolene Bracale, program coordinator for Student Health Services and school nurse for 15 years, said 85 percent of schools in Indiana are now stocking epinephrine for life-threatening emergencies.
“The implementation of the stock epinephrine in schools has gone very well and we haven’t had any problems, complaints or liability issues,” said Bracale.
Randy Hitchens of the Indiana Pharmacist Alliance Association encouraged schools to shop around for the best prices for the medications.
“The market is going to set the pricing. Your local pharmacists are there to help coach the schools so I’d suggest that different schools in the region call their local pharmacists and they can make sure that you can get the product for the best price,” Hitchens said.
For schools that cannot afford to buy the medications, there are resources that can provide them to the school for free, said Bracale.
The bill does not require school corporations to stock the medications and this bill is specific to the three emergency medications listed. The bill requires that teachers and nurses also have the proper training and guidelines in order to administer the medications.
The bill passed the Education Committee unanimously.
Nicole Hernandez is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.