Doctors’ Liability Concerns Could Derail Calif. School EpiPen Law
California schools are having trouble obtaining prescriptions for emergency epinephrine auto-injectors, or EpiPens, despite a state law (SB 1266) requiring they have the devices, EdSource Today/KQED's "State of Health" reports (Adams, "State of Health," EdSource Today/KQED, 5/28).
Under the law, school districts this year are required to stock EpiPens so that trained personnel are able to provide emergency care to individuals suffering from a severe allergic reaction (California Healthline, 9/17/14).
Details of Obstacles
Despite the law, a California School Nurses Association survey earlier this year found that 57% of California school nurses said they were unable to obtain prescriptions for EpiPens.
Doctors have said they are hesitant to write EpiPen prescriptions for schools because of liability concerns.
Kat DeBurgh, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California, said city and county public health physicians "are being asked to sign these orders [for EpiPens] but are being told by their county counsel and their risk managers that the liability risks are real."
Brett Curtis, a consulting doctor for Oakland Unified School District, added, "The standard is to prescribe on the basis of a good faith exam," but the EpiPens would be used on "a patient I've never seen" ("State of Health," EdSource Today/KQED, 5/28).
To address the issue, state Sen. Bob Huff (R- Diamond Bar) -- who authored the EpiPen law -- has proposed legislation (SB 738) that would provide limited liability protection for providers who prescribe extra EpiPens for public schools (California Healthline, 5/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.