OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 687 (File 438, as amended by Senate “A,” “B,” and “C”)*

AN ACT CONCERNING AUTOMATIC EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS.

SUMMARY:

This bill requires licensed health clubs, as a condition of licensure, and athletic departments of institutions of higher education to provide and maintain at least one automatic external defibrillator (AED) on their premises in a central location known and accessible to employees and student-athletes.

They must also:

1. ensure that at least one employee on the premises during their staffed hours of operation (in the case of an athletic department, the person may be a licensed trainer and need not be an employee) is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of AEDs in accordance with American Red Cross or American Heart Association standards,

2. follow the manufacturer's guidelines for maintaining and testing the AED,

3. promptly notify a local emergency medical services provider after each AED use, and

4. comply with the law requiring everyone having an AED to inform the Office of Emergency Medical Services of its location.

The bill extends civil immunity from liability to people or entities providing, maintaining, or using an AED under the bill's provisions for personal injuries resulting from acts or omissions involving its use to render emergency care. The immunity does not extend to acts or omissions constituting gross, willful, or wanton negligence.

An “opioid antagonist” is naloxone hydrochloride or any other similarly acting and equally safe drug approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for treating a drug overdose. Under current statute, a drug user who is in need of intervention cannot recover money damages from a licensed, authorized health care professional who prescribes, dispenses, or administers an opioid antagonist to him or her, so long as the provider acted with reasonable care. (However, it is unclear if this provision has any legal effect because people acting with reasonable care are generally not subject to civil liability. ) And the provider cannot be criminally prosecuted for these actions.

Under the bill, providers acting with reasonable care are not subject to civil liability to any one for (1) prescribing, dispensing, or administering an opioid antagonist to a person in need of intervention as treatment for, or prevention of, a drug overdose or (2) subsequent use of the drug. Because the bill's provision immunizes only those who act with reasonable care, it is unclear whether it has any legal effect.

*Senate Amendment “A” makes AED requirements for institutions of higher education applicable only during hours of intercollegiate sports activities and makes a technical change.

*Senate Amendment “B” adds the provision concerning prescribing, dispensing, or administering opioid antagonists.

*Senate Amendment “C” makes AED requirements for health clubs applicable only during staffed business hours.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2009, except the opioid antagonist provision is effective October 1, 2008.

ATHLETIC DEPARTMENTS OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION

By January 1, 2009, the bill directs the athletic departments of institutions of higher education to develop and implement policies concerning the availability and use of AEDs during all hours of intercollegiate sport practice, training, and competition. The policies must be consistent with the bill's provisions.

Under the bill, the premises of an athletic department are those premises used for intercollegiate sport practice, training, or competition, including athletic buildings or rooms, gymnasiums, athletic fields, and stadiums. “Intercollegiate sports” are sports played at the collegiate level for which eligibility requirements for student-athletes are established by a national association for the promotion or regulation of collegiate athletics.

BACKGROUND

Automatic External Defibrillators

AEDs are defined by law as devices that:

1. are used to administer an electric shock through the chest wall to the heart;

2. contain internal decision-making electronics, microcomputers, or special software that allow them to interpret physiologic signals, make a medical diagnosis, and, if necessary, apply therapy;

3. guide users through the process of using the device by audible or visual prompts; and

4. do not require users to employ any discretion or judgment.

Health Club Licensing

The law requires each health club location to obtain a license from the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). The DCP commissioner may, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, refuse to grant or renew, suspend, or revoke the license of a club that engages in conduct prohibited by the health club licensing law.

Related Bill

HB 5701 (File 400), reported by the Public Health Committee, eliminates the law requiring everyone having an AED to inform the Office of Emergency Medical Services of its location.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

42

Nay

0

(03/17/2008)

Government Administration and Elections Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

9

Nay

0

(04/08/2008)

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

15

Nay

1

(04/17/2008)