OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5053

AN ACT INCREASING ACCESS TO OVERDOSE REVERSAL DRUGS.

SUMMARY:

This bill allows any licensed health care professional to administer an opioid antagonist (such as Narcan) to treat or prevent a drug overdose without being (1) civilly or criminally liable for such action or (2) deemed as violating his or her professional standard of care. Current law limits such immunity to health care professionals authorized to prescribe an opioid antagonist (see BACKGROUND).

 The bill also requires municipalities, by January 1, 2017, to amend their local emergency services plans to ensure that (1) their primary emergency medical services provider is equipped with an opioid antagonist and (2) the provider's personnel received Department of Public Health-approved training in administering opioid antagonists.

 Finally, the bill prohibits health insurance policies that provide prescription drug coverage for opioid antagonists from requiring prior authorization for these drugs. It applies to individual and group health insurance policies delivered, issued, renewed, amended, or continued in Connecticut that cover (1) basic hospital expenses; (2) basic medical-surgical expenses; (3) major medical expenses; (4) hospital or medical services, including coverage under an HMO plan; or (5) single service ancillary health coverage.

Because of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), state insurance benefit mandates do not apply to self-insured benefit plans.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2017, except the provision granting health care professionals civil and criminal immunity for administering opioid antagonists takes effect upon passage.

BACKGROUND

Opioid Antagonist Definition

By law, an “opioid antagonist” is naloxone hydrochloride (Narcan) or any other similarly acting and equally safe drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for treating a drug overdose (CGS 17a-714a).

Opioid Antagonist Good Samaritan Law

Existing law allows licensed health care practitioners authorized to prescribe an opioid antagonist to prescribe, dispense, or administer it to treat or prevent a drug overdose without being civilly or criminally liable for the action or for its subsequent use.

The law also allows anyone, if acting with reasonable care, to administer an opioid antagonist to a person he or she believes, in good faith, is experiencing an opioid-related drug overdose. It generally gives civil and criminal immunity to such a person regarding the administration of the opioid antagonist (CGS 17a-714a).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Health Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

22

Nay

0

(02/24/2016)