Bills to allow school personnel to administer insulin are result of lack of funding to pay for nurses in schools

Reflecting a shortage of school nurses and Kentucky’s higher-than-average prevalence of diabetes, a bill in the new legislative session would allow school personnel to administer insulin and otherwise treat diabetes symptoms if they undergo specified training.

“Schools don’t have the ability to pay for nurses,” Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, told Alli Collis of The Jessamine Journal. “With this bill, children’s health care won’t be at risk.”

In schools that do not have a nurse, parents must be called from work to the school to administer insulin to their children, or the children are bused across the county to a school that has a nurse, Damron told Collis. His legislation, House Bill 98, would allow school personnel who undergo training to assist students with the treatment of diabetes symptoms.

A similar measure, Senate Bill 30, has been introduced by Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Current law requires every school to have an employee on duty who has been trained and delegated responsibility by a doctor or nurse to administer specified medicines. Damron’s bill would require an additional employee to be available to administer or assist with self-administration of insulin.

Denton’s bill would do likewise, but would require at least two such employees, in addition to a school nurse, who have met the training requirements and been delegated responsibility. Denton would also require at least one employee to be available at all school-sponsored activities.

Damron told Collis that 30 other states have already put similar laws in place and it is heavily supported by the American Diabetes Association.

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in school-aged children. According to the 2011
National Diabetes Fact Sheet, about 215,000 young people in the US under age 20 had
diabetes in 2010. This represents 0.26 percent of all people in this age group. Kentucky’s adult diabetes rate is above the national average; data on children were not available.

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