Keenan Briefings

Briefings

AB 743: Changes to K-12 District Requirements Regarding Asthma Medication Effective January 1, 2020

August 19, 2019

On July 12, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 743, requiring school districts to accept written statements from physicians contracted with bi-national, United States and Mexico, health plans for the purposes of authorizing a pupil to carry and self-administer prescribed inhaled asthma medication that the pupil needs to administer during the regular school day.

Current Law

For a pupil to carry and self-administer prescription inhaled asthma medication, current law (Education Code § 49423.1) requires a school district to obtain:

  1. a written statement from the physician detailing the name of the medication, method, amount, and time schedules by which the medication is to be taken, and confirming that the pupil is able to self-administer inhaled asthma medication; and
  2. a written statement from the parent, foster parent, or guardian of the pupil consenting to the self-administration, providing a release for the school nurse or other designated school personnel to consult with the health care provider of the pupil regarding any questions that may arise with regard to the medication, and releasing the school district and school personnel from civil liability if the self-administering pupil suffers an adverse reaction by taking medication pursuant to this section.

Current regulations (5 C.C.R 602) authorize local education agencies (LEAs) to establish specifications for the authorized physician’s written statement to ensure that the pupil and medication are clearly identified, that the dosage and period of time during which it is to be taken are clearly specified, and any other information is obtained that is relevant to administering the medication to the pupil, or assisting the pupil in the administration of the medication. LEAs are also authorized to require that an amended or new written statement is provided annually and whenever there is a change in the pupil’s authorized physician, or a change in the medication, dosage, method by which the medication is required to be taken, or dates or times the medication is to be taken.

New Requirements

AB 743 requires a school district to accept the written statement from a physician who is contracted with a bi-national licensed health plan. It requires a written statement from a bi-national licensed health plan to be provided in both English and Spanish, and to include the name and contact information for the physician. The bill also exempts school nurses or other school personnel from professional review, liability in a civil action, or criminal prosecution for their acts or omissions relating to a pupil self-administering inhaled asthma medication pursuant to the bill’s provisions. Finally, it exempts a school district from civil liability if a pupil self-administering inhaled asthma medication pursuant to the bill’s provisions suffers an adverse reaction.

This small change in the law is prompted by the prevalence of employers in border towns offering their employees bi-national insurance, which allows employees to choose to receive health care in the United States or Mexico. Due to the higher cost of health care in the United States, some employees opt to receive care for themselves and their children in Mexico. According to Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia, the bill’s author, existing school medical policies and practices failed to recognize the disparity between those afforded the opportunity of having domestic medical coverage and those that have no other choice but to travel to Mexico to receive care. According to Garcia, some parents had been told, due to state and school policy, that prescribed medications from Mexico are not allowed. This bill was enacted to prevent parents from being forced in those cases to seek a second opinion with a United States doctor at an additional out of pocket expense.

AB 743 goes into effect on January 1, 2020. K-12 districts should be sure to review their current policies and procedures regarding authorizing pupils to carry and self-administer prescribed asthma medication and make any changes necessary to ensure that they comply with AB 743.

Please contact your Keenan Account Manager, Claims Analyst or Risk Management Analyst if you would like more information on the regulation described in this Briefing.


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