AMCNO Asks Ohio Senate to Delete Amendment to HB 110

House Bill 110, failure to stop after accident-increase penalty, was introduced in March 2015. Recently, an amendment was introduced by Sen. Seitz and was approved in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee that mandates Emergency Medical Services or the Fire Department report the name and address of an overdose victim to requesting law enforcement when naloxone is administered by EMS/Fire.  While the purpose behind the amendment in this bill may be to provide protections for EMS/Fire against HIPAA violations in these circumstances and to enable law enforcement to question overdose victims about the drug dealers from whom they obtained their drugs, the unintended consequences of this legislation could be grave. 

This amendment also contradicts the efforts of HB 249, Ohio’s 911 Good Samaritan Legislation.  HB 249 is a bill, that aims is to empower overdose witnesses to save a life in the event of an overdose by providing limited protections from arrest (to the victim of the overdose and the person who calls 911 for help) for low level drug offenses and thereby helping to remove the fear of calling 911 in a medical emergency.  According to a recent survey of high-risk opioid users in Ohio, only 58% of individuals called 911 the last time they witnessed an overdose. 

The AMCNO is concerned that if this bill were to pass with this amendment, the percentage of those willing to call 911 would only decrease and, therefore, unintentionally contribute to the growing rate of overdose fatalities in our state by reinforcing the fear of calling 911 in the event of an overdose.  The AMCNO and several other medical associations sent a letter to Sen. Seitz asking him to consider removing the amendment from HB 110.  In addition, the AMCNO also sent a memorandum to the entire Ohio Senate asking them to vote “no” on HB 110 if the bill is put up for a vote on the Senate floor with the amendment as part of the legislation.  For more information about the amendment see below:

-Sec. 4765.44 of the amendment states “Upon request of a law enforcement agency, emergency medical service personnel and any firefighter or volunteer firefighter acting within the course of the firefighting profession shall disclose the name and address, if known, of an individual to whom the emergency medical services personnel, firefighter, or volunteer firefighter administered naloxone due to an actual or suspected drug overdose, unless the emergency medical services personnel, firefighter, or volunteer firefighter reasonably believes that the law enforcement agency making the request does not have jurisdiction over the place where the naloxone was administered.”

In response to the associations, Sen. Seitz has indicated that he does not agree that the amendment is contradictory to HB 249 and he plans to work with the sponsor of HB 249 in an effort to amend HB 110 to include the provisions of HB 249 in the legislation.  The AMCNO will continue to monitor how this bill progresses in the legislature.

To view the letter sent to Sen. Seitz by the AMCNO click here.  To view the memorandum sent to the Senate click here.  The letter to the Senate was also mentioned in a recent news story featured on WKYC Channel 3.  To view the interview click here

The Pollen Line is now closed. See you in the spring!

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