Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205
04/04/2005 01:30 PM HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 85-PRESCRIBED MEDICATION FOR STUDENTS CHAIR DYSON announced HB 85 to be up for consideration. 1:32:33 PM REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER, sponsor, introduced HB 85 by saying: It is estimated that there are 6.3 million children who have asthma in the United States. Young people with asthma miss over 14 million days of school each year because of the disease. In fact, in a recent survey done by the school nurses, they indicated that asthma is more disruptive to school routines than any other chronic condition. But being disruptive is the least of our concerns. Asthma and allergic reactions can be fatal. Several children have died in our schools from asthma attacks that could have been prevented if they had their self-medication with them. He showed the committee an example of an inhaler that is very easy to use in treating asthmatic attacks and continued: Juries have held schools liable for millions of dollars surrounding some of these deaths that have occurred at schools that could have been prevented. So, to address this problem, Congress passed the Asthmatic School Children's Treatment and Health Management Act of 2004. The federal law requires that the secretary of HES [United States Health and Education Senate Committee] to give preference when awarding grants to various states to those states who allow their students to have self-administered asthma medication. House Bill 85 brings Alaska into compliance with the provisions of the federal law and gives schools, parents, and most importantly children, protection from potentially life threatening conditions and consequences that can from these. HB 85 protects schools, parents and children in two different ways. The first provision allows the children, with the parent, guardian, health care provider's certification, to self-administer medication for asthma. And so, in order for this to happen, a school must allow self administration of the asthma treatment if they receive a written authorization from the parent or legal guardian and if the written certification from the student health care provider shows that the student has the condition in question, has received proper instruction on how to use the medication and is capable of using the medication. HB 85 puts the decision to allow self- administration of the medication squarely on the shoulders of the parents and the health care providers. The second part of this bill, then, is it just removes the school of any civil liability related to the medication. While HB 85 helps Alaska qualify for federal grants, the real purpose behind this bill is giving parents, doctors and schools the ability to ensure that our children are safe and hopefully save some lives.... 1:36:33 PM SENATOR LYDA GREEN and SENATOR GARY WILKEN joined the committee. SENATOR DONNY OLSON asked the bill applies to public schools and private schools equally. MIKE PAWLOWSKI, staff for Representative Meyer, responded that Legislative Legal Services told him there was essentially no difference between the way the law applies to public and private schools. SENATOR OLSON asked if private schools had testified on this issue. MR. PAWLOWSKI replied that he had not heard from any private schools. SENATOR OLSON asked whether other medications would be required to be on-site for asthmatic students that go into the severe form of static asthmaticus, which is the most severe form of asthma that cannot be broken by inhalers and is treated with epinephrine. MR. PAWLOWSKI replied that epinephrine is allowed under the bill as well as inhalers. CHAIR DYSON said: I want the record to clearly reflect that Senator Olson asked whether or not private schools were included under what this bill does and the affirmative answer was private schools have the same right or provision here to apply this same, in essence, privilege, for asthmatic children and the sponsor says that's right. 1:39:17 PM SENATOR ELTON said the legal analysis attached to the bill clearly says that Section 1 requires public elementary and secondary schools to allow the provision. He thought the issue needed to be addressed. CHAIR DYSON asked Representative Meyer to get a legal opinion on that question before the bill goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER replied that he would do so. SENATOR OLSON asked whether school districts currently prohibit inhalers from being used on their premises. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER replied that many schools ask that all medications be given to the school nurse. SENATOR OLSON asked whether the bill allows students to carry and administer other medications for other medical conditions. 1:43:03 PM REPRESENTATIVE MEYER replied that HB 85 applies to allergy type conditions such as asthma, bee stings, and anything that can be controlled with an inhaler or an epinephrine pen. He has considered conditions such as diabetes, but that is a whole different area and the physicians testifying on the bill recommended that other conditions not be included. 1:44:15 PM MARGE LARSON, Alaska Asthma Coalition, supported HB 85. She remarked that schools have a great liability without its provisions in place. She commented that inhalers are a life- saving, critical part of asthma management. 1:46:50 PM PHIL CALLUZZO, Anchorage resident, said that he suffers from asthma and supported HB 85. CHAIR DYSON explained that HB 85 would give all schools, both private and public, the option of doing this, but it does not compel private schools, in particular, to do so. SENATOR GREEN asked if the state could tell a private school what to do in this case and if the legislation benefits the school or the student. CHAIR DYSON replied that HB 85 gives both public and private schools the option of doing this and it protects them against liability if they do so if they follow the prescribed protocol. But it is essentially for the good of the student. SENATOR WILKEN moved to report HB 85 out of committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note. There were no objections and it was so ordered.