October 30, 2014
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Signs Bills Expanding Access to Emergency Medical Treatment in Schools

Governor Cuomo Signs Bills Expanding Access to Emergency Medical Treatment in Schools

Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed legislation that will expand access to potentially lifesaving medication for students and school personnel in the event of an emergency. The new laws include provisions that will allow schools to administer epi-pens to students without prescriptions in emergency situations and that will allow students diagnosed with asthma, allergies and/or diabetes to self-administer prescribed medical treatments.

“These commonsense laws eliminate barriers that prevented students from having quick access to medication – even in the event of an emergency,” Governor Cuomo said. “I thank the sponsors of this legislation, which will help save lives and prevent avoidable tragedies.”

One new law, (S.7262-A/A.7791-A), authorizes schools to possess and administer auto-injectable epinephrine, commonly known as epi-pens, in an emergency situation, even if the recipient of such treatment does not have a prescription.

Epinephrine is a vital medication in treating life-threatening allergic reactions. This law ensures that school districts will be authorized to maintain epi-pens on-site, and that officials other than nurses will be authorized to possess and administer doses of the medication in emergency situations, whether or not the student has a prescription on file. Emergency use of auto-injectable epinephrine will be permitted only if the school employee administering the epinephrine has completed appropriate training approved by the Department of Health on how to use to on-site epinephrine auto-injectors.

Senator Kemp Hannon said, “The timely administration of epinephrine to a child in anaphylactic shock could mean the difference between life and death. By authorizing schools to maintain and their employees to possess and administer auto-injectable epinephrine without a prescription, in the event of an emergency, this long overdue law will equip schools with the ability to assist a child suffering from a life-threatening allergic response.”

Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti said, “More and more kids need special medications and devices which are of no use if they’re not readily available at all times. It makes sense to train more school personnel to help kids with their prescribed devices in an emergency. This common sense measure ensures that students with allergies, asthma and diabetes can carry and use epi-pens, inhalers and other prescribed medications and devices when they need them in school. It rightfully authorizes non-medical but trained school personnel to administer the prescribed medications in an emergency.”

The Governor also signed legislation, (A.9334-B/ S.7758), that permits students who suffer from asthma or other respiratory disease, allergies, and/or diabetes to carry and self-administer essential medications while in school or at school functions. Under this law, students who have authorization from a physician and written parental consent will be allowed to utilize critical medications such as inhalers, epi-pens and insulin without intervention or delay.

Senator John Flanagan said, “This new law is a common-sense approach to an important and growing issue in schools across our state. It will allow children who are afflicted by allergies and other serious medical issues to make decisions regarding their own health conditions in a timely and appropriate manner. That will provide them with a greater ability to fully concentrate on their education while providing their family with some much-needed peace of mind.”

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan said, "As a parent I know that there is nothing more terrifying than the thought of your child having a medical emergency and not being able to get to them right away, and for parents of children with asthma, severe allergies or any other serious health condition, that fear can be amplified significantly. This legislation will help alleviate some of that worry by allowing students with potentially life-threatening conditions to have their medication with them while at school, so that, in the event of an emergency, the student or a trained school staff member can act as quickly as possible. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this critical measure into law."

Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office:  212.681.4640

Albany Press Office:  518.474.8418