A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Pediatricians assist with state legislation to protect students

New legislation allows schools prescription to a medication so school nurses can provide to any child experiencing an asthma attack.


Dr. Carolyn Nash and Dr. Jeff Lamont, two Marshfield Clinic Health System pediatricians, were instrumental in helping craft Wisconsin legislation that was recently signed into law.

‌‌Wisconsin Assembly Bill 914 allows school districts to stock short-acting broncho-active (SABA) medications such as albuterol and administer them to any student who appears to be in respiratory distress. Before this law, albuterol could be given to a child, but only if that child had an individual prescription. And it could not be used for any other child. The new law permits a short-acting bronchodilator to be prescribed to a school district, for administration to any child who appears to be experiencing bronchospasm. It also provides immunity to civil liability.

‌‌Drs. Nash and Lamont say these medications are easy to administer and very safe. They have a low risk of side effects, even if given to a child who wasn’t having a true bronchospasm.

‌”This legislation enables school districts to deliver a higher standard of care faster and to more children than was possible before, and further empowers school nurses (who are among the bravest and most self-reliant nurses anywhere) to do better,” said Dr. Lamont.

D‌r. Nash says she came up with the idea of a legislative proposal after reading an article about stocking albuterol in schools for children who may not have access to a rescue inhaler and whose parents or caregivers aren’t available when symptoms occur. In the past, these children may have had to wait for EMS to arrive at the school.

‌‌‌The legislation is modeled after stock epinephrine policies.

‌‌”Asthma and asthma morbidity disproportionately affect under-represented populations,” said Dr. Nash. “I view this legislation as a step to support families and vulnerable pediatric patients.”

The pediatricians worked with Wisconsin Representative Patrick Snyder to bring the legislation forward in 2023. It moved quickly through the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate, with support from several health care professionals and organizations, including the Marathon County Medical Society, the American Lung Association and Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin.

‌‌”We also thank Dr. Sushma Thappeta and other Marshfield Children’s physicians for their support and feedback, along with Ryan Natzke from legislative affairs,” said Dr. Nash.

‌‌”In the end, we got a strong bill enacted into law, and as a result, thousands of children will benefit in the years to come,” concludes Dr. Lamont.

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