By Scot Chadwick
In 2012, the PAMED House of Delegates adopted a resolution directing the Society to seek legislation or regulation to support medically authorized self-management of Diabetes Mellitus in schools, along with the authority of trained school personnel to assist a child with diabetes. This could be the school nurse or, in the nurse’s absence, other school personnel who have received appropriate training by qualified health care personnel.
Legislation to allow expanded diabetes management authority was introduced in the 2013-2014 session of the General Assembly, but the bill saw no action. However, hope springs eternal, and the prospects for enactment look better this time. On Oct. 26, 2015, the House Health Committee approved HB 1625 by a bipartisan vote of 24-1, sending the measure to the full House for consideration in the (hopefully) near future.
Under the measure, the school nurse, in consultation with the chief school administrator or a designee, would be permitted to identify at least one school employee who is not the school nurse and who does not need to be a licensed health care practitioner in each school building attended by a student with diabetes.
That employee would then have to complete annual educational modules made available by the Department of Health, or offered by a licensed health care practitioner with expertise in the care of diabetes, that includes substantially the same information.
Once that training has been completed, the trained employee may be designated in a student's service agreement to administer diabetes medications, use monitoring equipment and provide other diabetes care. Written authorization from both the student's health care practitioner and parent or guardian would also be required in order for that to occur.
The bill also permits a student with diabetes to possess and self-administer diabetes medication and monitoring equipment, subject to parental permission and written authorization from the student’s health care practitioner. Additionally, the student would have to demonstrate competency, satisfying the school nurse that the student is capable of self-administration of the medication and use of the monitoring equipment.
Read the full bill
In many ways the bill is similar to last session’s legislation that authorized trained school personnel to obtain and administer epinephrine auto-injectors to students who experience anaphylactic reactions. We’ll keep you posted regarding any progress, so check back often.
In the meantime, you can reach me with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 558-7814. Or, if you’d like to share your views more broadly, feel free to leave a comment below.