King County EMS saving money, lives with new epinephrine kit

KING 5's Amity Addrisi reports.

Public organizations end up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars every year on expired EpiPens. That's a lot of taxpayer dollars going to waste in an already tight budget.

When the cost of the EpiPen began to skyrocket, King County EMS looked into the future and saw a way to save cash while saving lives. In 2013 they came up with a simple but genius solution: develop their own kit. 

Since epinephrine is so inexpensive, they decided to build their own field kit, eliminating auto-injectors and switching to a syringe and vial system. The kit is relatively straightforward.  It contains a vial of epinephrine, two syringes, an alcohol swab, Band-Aids and a step-by-step "how-to" guide.

Although it's easy to use, King County EMT's still receive detailed training for the kits and must follow guidelines to maintain a high level of quality assurance. For example, every used kit must be returned to county EMS with a detailed medical report and the remaining epinephrine. To ensure further safety, the kit can only be used with a two-person crew.

"One of the things that's interesting about this program is that it does require two EMT's to bounce this information off of each other. They both have to verify it's the right drug, and both verify it's the right dose," says Jon Nolan, Medical Services Officer at King County EMS.

King County EMS saved about $150,000 and in the first year and is now saving about $250,000 annually by using the kits. 

To learn more about the kit and training opportunities click here. Due to training required to use a syringe, the kits aren't available to the general public.

Copyright 2016 KING


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