Florida House Bill 725 Introduces New Requirements for Administering IV Hydration Therapy under the Stephanie Balais Act
IV Hydration Vitamin treatments have taken the world by storm in recent years. This alternative medicine practice has gained popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic. It promises to boost the immune system in a post-pandemic world where everyone has developed elevated attentiveness to their bodies and wellness. Certain IV therapies are widely promoted to treat conditions such as fatigue, dehydration, fibromyalgia, asthma, migraines, and more. The ‘Myers Cocktail’ has been coined as one of the most popular mixtures claiming to “heal” patients from many ailments such as those listed above. It was named after the pioneer of IV Hydration, John Myers, who founded IV Hydration treatments in the 1960s. This cocktail is only one of countless mixes used for IV Hydration treatments.
Although popularity has spiked in IV Hydration recently, not much progress has been made to regulate procedures and care for those seeking these treatments. These IV treatments are executed in various settings (i.e. home or place of residence) by various providers (e.g. RNs, LPNs, APRNs, M.D.s, etc.). While there are definitive rules about who can administer an IV therapy treatment, there are not many protocols on emergency care. As with any wellness or medical treatment, there is always some level of risk to be considered beforehand. These risks include but are not limited to vitamin toxicity, infection, and nutritional imbalances.
After the unfortunate death of a young, aspiring nursing student in South Florida (Ms. Stephanie Balais) Florida Representatives filed House Bill 725. It is cited as the “Stephanie Balais Act”. In the products liability case of Stephanie Balais it is noted that her untimely passing was due to a Selenium treatment she received in 2018. It is unclear whether the fault lie with the manufacturer and the batch of products; the individual administering the product; or the lack of established procedures in the event of an emergency. Liability was never determined in this case, and the case was settled out of court. However, this case prompted the introduction of House Bill 725.
The Act defines Intravenous Hydration Therapy as “a procedure in which high concentrations of vitamins and minerals are administered directly into the person’s bloodstream, allowing rapid absorption of higher doses of the vitamins and minerals than if received through food or supplements”. The prospective rule seeks to require the Board of Nursing to clearly define procedures to: (1) safely administer such treatments; (2) educate those administering treatments; and (3) create protocols for emergency situations. The Act also requires the following:
- Completion of a Florida Department of Health self-screening risk assessment questionnaire from a patient prior to administering IV Hydration treatments;
- Notifications to the patient’s designated physicians that an IV Hydration treatment has been administered and documentation regarding the process;
- Enhanced emergency care plans for the facilities offering treatments, which must be written and kept at the location offering IV Hydration treatments;
- Patients are also to be provided instructions detailing when to seek medical attention and information on the risks and side effects associated with the treatment being performed; and
- Patients must receive a visit summary.
The purpose of the Act is to ensure the safety of patients considering IV Hydration treatments. Due to the rise in popularity and frequency of these treatments, it has become necessary to create safety guidelines to eliminate or at the very least minimize risks for the healthcare and wellness community. This is why any written emergency plan must at a minimum include: (1) the name and address of the hospital closest to the location where the IV Hydration Treatment is being performed; (2) reasons why an emergency transfer may be obligatory; and (3) the medical services that must be utilized in the event of a medical emergency. Additionally, if a health care provider, upon review of the completed self-screening risk assessment questionnaire determines that a patient can’t safely receive an IV Hydration Treatment the provider must decline administering the treatment to that individual.
We will have to wait to see how the IV Hydration business will be impacted moving forward. Violation of this Act will result in disciplinary action for the physicians and nurses who are providing IV Hydration Treatments to their patients. The act will become effective on July 1, 2023.
For more information on IV Hydration, please read our previous article, Establishing A Mobile IV Therapy Clinic in Florida.
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