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Rep. Ramsey introduces legislation to increase safety of diabetic students

State Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) announced Feb. 6 the introduction of House Bill 879, legislation that would ensure schools are prepared to care for students with diabetes.

“This measure will ensure that every diabetic child in Georgia has the opportunity to strive for excellence in a safe, healthy, and supportive school environment,” said Rep. Ramsey.

“My child was diagnosed last year with Type 1 diabetes, and I have learned first-hand the hourly challenges a child with diabetes faces in managing their disease in a school setting. Our family has seen the tremendous benefit of having a school nurse, teachers, and school administrators willing to seek the training and information necessary to provide a safe school environment for our diabetic child. HB 879 will ensure that every child receives that same benefit.”

HB 879 would require each school system to have a minimum of two personnel trained in the administration of diabetes treatment.

The Department of Education and the Department of Public Health, in conjunction with the Georgia Board of Nursing and the Georgia Composite Medical Board, would develop guidelines for the designated personnel who care for students with diabetes.

The training guidelines would include recognizing and treating hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, understanding the appropriate actions to take when blood glucose levels are out of the target ranges, and understanding physician instructions.

Trained personnel would also be required to administer tests to check blood glucose levels and recognize situations that require emergency assistance.

Additionally, HB 879 allows students with diabetes to check and regulate their own blood glucose levels with permission from a parent or guardian. This would include checking blood glucose levels, administering insulin and treating hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents. Approximately 151,000 people below the age of 20 years have diabetes, and more than 13,000 children every year are newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

HB 879 is co-sponsored by Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), House Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth), and Representative Ben Watson (R-Savannah), a family physician.

Ramsey represents the citizens of District 72, which includes portions of Fayette County. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2007, and was elected by the House Majority Caucus to serve as their Caucus Vice-Chairman in 2010. He also serves on the Appropriations, Congressional and Legislative Reapportionment, Judiciary Non-Civil, and Regulated Industries committees.



I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to Rep. Ramsey for introducing this bill.

As the parent of a Type 1 Diabetic child who is a student in Fayette County, I had contacted him in Oct 2009 in regard to a need for statewide legislation in the management of diabetes in our schools. The level of care and type of management has varied greatly from school to school and from district to district within Georgia.

Rep. Ramsey responded to the request and I have several emails from Crystal Jackson, Associate Director - Government Relations & Advocacy - American Diabetes Association indicating that Ramsey's staff had been in contact with her and with Randi Greene-Chapman, ADA's Georgia state advocacy director.

Unfortunately, I read in your article that his child has also been recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. While some may feel that his is totally a personal response, I would say that instead I, as a constituent, voiced a need and while he and his staff were gathering research - he too learned first hand how great a need this matter is for the students of Georgia.

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