Maureen Cones, associate general counsel for the ANA, tells me that the implications of this case could extend way beyond what happens in California schools.
"With budgets being what they are, schools and school districts are quick to eliminate nursing positions," she says. For that reason, this case is being watched by many states experiencing the same issues. "If the ADA prevails and the decision is overturned, it will give license to any state to allow unlicensed personnel to administer insulin."
Moreover, the ANA believes that overturning the previous rulings would set a dangerous precedent: Cones says it will be the first time anywhere that a healthcare licensing law would be preempted in favor of a federal disability law.
"That would have very far reaching implications nationally," Cones says.
The ANA says its position doesn't mean that federal disability laws don't apply; they're simply saying that the two laws need to work together. In fact, the ANA says that the courts' rulings "do not prevent students with diabetes in California's public schools from receiving the health services to which they are entitled. California law permits several categories of individuals to administer insulin in the school setting, including parental designees." Moreover, nursing positions in schools shouldn't be on the chopping block because of budget constraints.
The ADA says this on its website:
[F]amilies of children with diabetes and diabetes health care experts not only disagree with the idea that you need a health care license to administer insulin, but know that this position puts students with diabetes at risk. There is only one school nurse for every 2,200 students in California and a budget crisis with school personnel being laid off across the state. And even if there was a full-time school nurse in every school, the nurse wouldn't be available for all extra-curricular activities and field trips.