ANNAPOLIS — A bill allowing certain food-service operations to administer auto-injectable epinephrine, or EpiPens, in an emergency breezed through the General Assembly this week as the abbreviated session expired.
After a tragedy last October that claimed the life of a popular local man and business owner, some questioned if the outcome could have been different if restaurants and other food-service operations were allowed to obtain, store and utilize EpiPens and had certain staff trained and available to utilize them in the case of an emergency. Maryland is currently one of just 14 states that does not allow most food-service operations to obtain, store and utilize EpiPens.
Urged by resort officials, State Senator Mary Beth Carozza introduced Senate Bill 477, which would “authorize food service facilities to store and make available for administration auto-injectable epinephrine for a certain purpose under the program, authorize participating food service facilities, except under certain circumstances, to obtain a certain prescription for and supply of auto-injectable epinephrine, and require participating food service facilities to store a supply of auto-injectable epinephrine in a certain manner.”
Over in the House, Delegate Wayne Hartman (R-38C), along with other state delegates, introduced sister legislation House Bill 1462. Both bills passed unanimously in their respective chambers and crossed over where they were returned passed by both the Senate and the House.
The full Senate passed the legislation with a 47-0 vote on Monday and the full House followed suit with a 130-0 vote on Wednesday as the General Assembly session abbreviated by concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic neared its close. The legislation is now headed to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for signing and will become effective on Oct. 1.
The bill requires eligible food service institutions to obtain a certificate allowing it to obtain, store and administer auto-injectable epinephrine in an emergency situation. The certificate holder would designate certain eligible agents certified in administering the EpiPens. For example, the agents would have to be at least 18 years of age and would have to successfully complete an educational training program.
Under the legislation, the participating facilities will designate the employees who are certificate holders who will be responsible for the storage, maintenance and control of the supply or auto-injectable epinephrine.
A participating facility would not be able obtain or store auto-injectable epinephrine unless it has at least two employees or designated affiliated individuals who are certificate holders. Participation in the epi-pen program would be strictly voluntary. In addition, provisions in the bill would provide immunity from liability under the state’s Good Samaritan laws.
In late October, local resident and pillar of the community Chris Trimper suffered an extreme allergic reaction during a reception at a local food service facility and did not survive. In the wake of the tragedy, local elected officials and resort business leaders called on their delegation in Annapolis to introduce legislation that would allow certain food service operations under certain specified conditions to store and administer epinephrine in the event of an emergency.