School Boards Assoc. Lying About EpiPen Costs

The Kentucky School Boards Association and at least one large union representing teachers are fighting tooth and nail against putting EpiPens in schools. Even in the face of no health care, disappearing nurses and increasing allergies. They’re being unbelievably dishonest with their spin in claiming that putting life-saving EpiPens in every school would cost millions upon millions of dollars. Some individuals even going so far as to claim individual EpiPens cost $400-$500.

Let’s break this down so it’s easier for those folks to understand. Maths is hard, mmkay.

The bill only requires a school to have two EpiPens on-hand. So, ignoring that many Kentucky schools would qualify for freebies – which we have already written about, that’s not a bank-breaker. The industry discounted rate is $112 for a two-pack.

According to the Kentucky Department of Education, there are 1,233 schools in the Commonwealth. If each school purchased a single package at $112, that comes to $138,096. That’s all the law requires. Not millions upon millions.

There are 155 public schools in Jefferson County. If you use the same math, Jefferson County Public Schools would only need to pony up $17,360 to be in compliance with the proposed legislation. In fact, JCPS could purchase two packages of EpiPens and still only be out $34,720.

This means the School Boards Association and union officials are saying $17K (just six percent of the superintendent’s salary) isn’t worth potentially saving lives in Louisville. That $138K isn’t worth saving lives in rural Kentucky. (Again, ignoring the reality that many schools would receive free EpiPens in their first year.)

Or look at the school district Greg Stumbo pretends to live in – Floyd County. There are 16 public schools there, so Floyd County would have to spend just $1,792.

But noooo, it’s gonna cost millions for each school district. There’s no way anyone could afford these senseless devices no one can figure out how to use. Too complicated, don’t make schools have to worry about simple first aid. Who cares about poor kids living in Podunk who can’t get to a hospital and have to wait 30 minutes on an ambulance?

And you wonder why Kentucky can’t have nice things. Or why Kentucky schools are a perpetual disaster.

26 thoughts on “School Boards Assoc. Lying About EpiPen Costs

  1. You are so right on the money! If nothing else I know we could get these donated to schools by regular people who just care about kids. They cost about $100.00 bucks not the amount they are saying to the public. As you pointed out Jake, they qualify for the discounted amount. I can just see them now in the halls and committee rooms spreding this misinformation to anyone who will listen.

  2. They fight it because it comes out of their pocket.Why else do they fight this .Because they don’t want it to keep happening.They want control over everything and not being told what to do with THEIR SCHOOL.If they get a backlash they will come up fundraisers or donation drive to make themselves look good,good luck with that.

  3. One reason schools might be resisting the epipen is they would have to pay a medical professional to administer the injection because if someone accidently hits a vein it could be lethal, hence the millions of dollars. Plus the pens can only be used once and have a shelf life of 12-18 months so someone would have to make sure they are properly inventoried and replaced. Plus the drug epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) can be abused so there is a major security issue. If schools start treating school children for anaphylactic shock, then asthma will be next, then each school might as well open a mini hospital and set aside a fund for the medical malpractice lawsuits.

  4. Talk about finding excuses not to help a kid going into anaphylatic shock…..I don’t buy any of them Nova China.

  5. They’re pretty bad excuses.

    If hitting a vein was a concern, kids wouldn’t be permitted to carry them and jab them into their own thighs in an emergency.

    Ever seen an EpiPen? Tough to abuse the amount of epinepherine in that thing. Tough to tamper with, as well.

    Most First Aid kits that contain more than bandaids are under lock and key.

    This EpiPen non-debate reminds me of the liberal women of the State House residing in Jefferson County. They love love love trashing Republicans, Mitch McConnell, questioning Rand Paul. Question them, though, and they go ballistic, get defensive, make vulgar comments. (Heaven forbid you utter “cunt” – they nearly faint, despite using words like “retarded” and “pussy” themselves.)

    The School Boards Association is cool with things like this… unless it’s something they didn’t come up with or is supported by people they don’t like: Republicans.

    Moral of this story: it’s a bunch of non-sense hypocrisy flowing from the KSBA.

  6. The info I posted was from about hitting a vein and potential abuse was from Wikipedia. And there’s a big difference liability wise between a self administered shot and a shot given by a someone without a medical license. I thought kids couldn’t possess an aspirin on school grounds anymore without violating their zero tolerance policy; so they’re able to shoot up adrenaline now. Huh. Anyway, I don’t care one way or another. I was just playing devil’s advocate.

  7. Wikipedia? No offense, but Wiki anything publishes stuff without any verification.

    The point of EpiPens is for the school to have in case of unexpected allergy. A person can have an allergic reaction at anytime to something they may have been exposed to their entire life. I teach First Aid and CPR. The training to recognize allergic reactions and use of the EpiPen is very easy. It is injected no where near an vein or artery. Even if improperly used, the life of the injection is short and for most people would not do long range harm. Epinephrine is used in the vein for cardiac arrest by the way.

    As for abuse: Adrenaline is a naturally substance in the body, any “abuse” would result in a rapid heat beat for about 2 minutes, not exactly a “rush” most druggies want.

    Kids are already being “treated” for asthma at school – any kid with an inhaler is.

    I have spent 35 years in EMS. I can say without any reservation that having EpiPens available saves lives. EMS cannot be on every street corner and time is the worst enemy in anaphylaxis (allergic reaction). The two advances in my experience that have saved lives are the use of the EpiPen and CPR/AED by the public.

    Early intervention SAVES LIVES!! The arguments against this at just sound and noise.

  8. There are risks associated with the EpiPen with other medicines taken. A physician prescribes it to patients and that physician knows the history of that patient. If a school official administers the pen to a student who may have some signs but not having an allergic reaction, it could cause problems.

  9. and if they do nothing a child dies? Once the airway starts to swell shut, there is only minutes to do something before they stop breathing.

    I repeat – allergies can develop any time, to anybody. I have a friend who became allergic to tomatoes, something he loves to eat. It came on very suddenly and fortunately he was in a medical facility when it happened. If he had been in a place without Epi, he might have died. Situations like that is why this is needed.

  10. The suicide rate for children is higher than that of deaths from anaphylactic shock. If the limited resources of Kentucky’s crappy schools were going to be spent on something other than education, it’d be better spent on preventing mental, physical and sexual abuse, and feeding hungry kids.

  11. Are these the same union members that are constantly droning on and on about their deep concern about the children whenever budgets, benefits, and salaries are discussed? As a wilderness EMT, the risk of misuse of these devices is very small. They are spring-loaded like a diabetes testing lancet, self-administering, and are about as idiot-proof as you can get.

    Are you telling me that the JCPS couldn’t find $35K in their $1.2Billion (with a B) dollar annual budget?

    Let’s see……we can’t keep from filling a single of the 18,000 teacher jobs, or a one of the 100 central office jobs.

    How about cutting $35k from the $100million dollar busing budget?

    I could go on and on but take a look at the budget and tell me they can’t find $35k in there somewhere. Maybe we can train them to perform tracheotomies instead. That $978,000 spent on “employee relations” seems like really critical spending as that child dies in your arms.

  12. JCPS wouldn’t have to cut their budget. All they’d have to do is raise the percentage of tax they receive on property and, presto, it’s paid for, which is probably why they’re letting us know upfront they’re going to budget millions of dollars for this project.

  13. Knowing next to nothing about EpiPens – I have to ask, are they, or are they not, a prescription item? If EMS responds to the scene of an apparent anaphylactic shock – and the person doesn’t already have one or a medical alert bracelet indicating they need one, will EMS administer it? (Or in the alternative, call the hospital to get permission to do it?)

  14. I spoke to an EMT today who told me they are only able to assist someone administer their own prescription shot, as in help steady their hand — they are absolutely not allowed to give someone an injection and the EMT cannot provide the medication, the patient has to have it available. You have to be a licensed medical professional to give someone an injection.

  15. Nova China, whoever told you that is quoting old regs. LMEMS EMTs and both city and suburban FD EMTs can administer Epi, either by prefilled (EpiPens) or IM injection (filling a syringe first with appropriate dose). I know because I helped train all those people to do it.

    Statewide, it depends on the local medical control, the state regs allow EMTs to give it as long as local Medical Director approves it.

    The non-medical people can give it without a problem. The EpiPen would need a physician to “prescribe” it, but so does an AED. It is not hard to get an AED in this area. As long as they do not “use negligently, maliciously or do a procedure above the level of their training”. Every AHA First Aid class teaches the use of the EpiPen.

  16. Here is the text of the bill. Looks pretty simple and addresses liability:

    HB 172
    Kentucky House Bill

    AN ACT relating to emergency anaphylaxis medications in schools. Amend KRS 158.836 to make provisions for students with life-threatening allergies to have access to an epinephrine auto-injector in school; require schools to have written emergency anaphylactic reaction response plan; require schools to keep an epinephrine auto-injector in a minimum of 2 locations in the school; exempt authorized person from civil liability for administering or assisting with the administration of epinephrine.

  17. And just so we all know, here is the KRS regarding EMTs and Paramedics administering Epi:

    311A.195 Administration of epinephrine — Supply of epinephrine and needles —
    Medical protocols.
    (1) Any emergency medical technician and any paramedic shall be authorized to
    administer epinephrine to any person whom the EMT or paramedic has been called
    to attend if the EMT or paramedic makes an assessment that the person is exhibiting
    symptoms consistent with an anaphylactic reaction. The EMT or paramedic shall
    follow the medical protocol established by the medical director of the employing
    licensed ambulance service in determining the appropriate dose or doses of
    epinephrine and the routes for administration.
    (2) Every ambulance provider in the Commonwealth shall:
    (a) Maintain an adequate supply of epinephrine and disposable sterile needles and
    syringes on every ambulance that it operates; and
    (b) Establish medical protocols to be used by EMT providers and paramedics in
    determining symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, the appropriate dose or
    doses of epinephrine, and the routes for administration.
    Effective: June 24, 2003
    History: Amended 2003 Ky. Acts ch. 69, sec. 7, effective June 24, 2003. — Created
    2002 Ky. Acts ch. 211, sec. 43, effective July 15, 2002

  18. Thanks Cavemouse. Do you happen to have the medical protocols that the KRS section you cited authorizes Neal Richond, medical director for Metro EMS, to establish?

  19. From LMEMS Protocols:

    Acute onset (minutes-to-hours), involving two or more of the following systems:
    Skin and/or oral-pharyngeal mucosae:
    Generalized urticaria (hives)
    Pruritis (itching or flushing)
    Swelling of lips, tongue and/or uvula

    Respiratory system
    Severe dyspnea/respiratory distress, stridor and/or wheezing

    Cardiovascular system
    Hypotension (or other signs of cardiovascular collapse)

    Place patient on oxygen and ventilate, if appropriate.
    If patient presents with signs of Anaphylaxis administer 1:1,000 Epinephrine containing 0.3 mg of 1:1,000 solution IM.
    If lower airway involvement is suspected, consider 0.5% Albuterol 2.5 mg by nebulizer.
    Request ALS back up, if appropriate.
    Transport emergently, if appropriate. 

    Acute onset (minutes-to-hours), involving two or more of the following systems:
    Skin and/or oral-pharyngeal mucosae:
    Generalized urticaria (hives)
    Pruritis (itching or flushing)
    Swelling of lips, tongue and/or uvula

    Respiratory system
    Severe dyspnea/respiratory distress, stridor and/or wheezing

    Cardiovascular system
    Hypotension (or other signs of cardiovascular collapse)
    Place patient on oxygen and ventilate, if appropriate.
    If patient presents with signs of Anaphylaxis (hives with one of the following symptoms; stridor, swelling of tongue and/or pharyngeal structures, severe respiratory distress, hypotension), administer 1:1,000 Epinephrine using guidelines below:
    0 to 8 years of age ( 25 kg)-0.3 mg IM
    If lower airway involvement is suspected, consider 0.5% Albuterol 2.5 mg by nebulizer.
    Request ALS back up, if appropriate.
    Transport emergently, if appropriate. 
    After the posting of the KRS, I am sorry if this is hard to read, it is difficult to format in this little box.


  20. Well, thanks. I’ll have to have a chat with my EMT friend who was adament when she told me otherwise.

  21. That protocol only applies to EMTs and Medics under LMEMS Medical Control (both LMEMS and FDs). If your friend works for a private service, they have their own protocols. But Kentucky has allowed EMTs to administer Epi if their medical director concurs.

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