KETAMINE USE: State Well being Division begins “course of enchancment undertaking”

DENVER (KDVR) – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is temporarily suspending new drug waiver applications for the ambulance service while undergoing a “process improvement project” for approximately 90 days.

Eliminating drugs enables healthcare professionals to administer drugs – such as the sedative ketamine – outside of their traditional scope.

Earlier this summer, CDPHE suspended the ketamine exemption and temporarily ceased the practice of using the drug to calm excited people outside of a hospital after the governor signed a new law restricting the use of this drug by paramedics.

Ketamine Law: what is it and who does it affect?

The law came after extensive investigative reporting by problem solvers, who carefully examined cases of paramedic use of ketamine to calm excited people after the patient was physically restrained during a police altercation.

One of these cases involved the death of Elijah McClain in 2019, the official cause of which was unknown.

The health department is currently changing its policies and regulations to comply with the new ketamine law.

The pause in accepting waivers will allow CDPHE “to find some ways to improve what we have built,” said Randy Kuykendall, director of the emergency medical services division at CDPHE.

“We’ll just breathe a minute here and spend a month or two – if you will – redesigning and reviewing the existing processes,” said Kuykendall.

Kuykendall, speaking at a public meeting of the Emergency Medical Practice Advisory Committee, said CDPHE will work to find ways to improve the dispensing procedures currently in place for all drugs “to ensure that we run these programs as effectively as possible. ”

“We could probably find some ways to improve what we have built,” he said.

Health Department’s Ketamine Review

Meanwhile, CDPHE’s ketamine review announced in August 2020 is still ongoing.

At a press conference in early July, CDPHE executive director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said she expected the review to be completed in July.

“It’s in the final stages of review at the top management level of the governor’s office and the like,” said Kuykendall.

He said he thought the results were “immediate” but could not give an exact date.

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