American Heart Association Announces $6.5 Million Commitment to Expand Stroke Care
American Heart Association (heart.org) held a press conference on Tuesday, August 21 at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel to announce a $6.5 million commitments for its Mission: Lifeline Stroke initiative to expand and enhance stroke care in Nebraska. The foundation of this new initiative is a three-year grant of $5.35 million from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The press conference schedule included remarks from the following:
- Kevin Harker, Executive Vice President, Midwest Affiliate American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
- James Bobenhouse, MD
- Stroke Medical Director, Bryan Health and CHI St. Elizabeth Neurology Associates
- Walter Panzirer, Trustee
- Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
- Jill Duis, Nebraska Stroke Advisory Council member and stroke survivor
- Sen. Roy Baker, Nebraska Legislature
Mission: Lifeline Stroke specifically focuses on connecting all the components of acute stroke care into a smoothly integrated system that reinforces the use of evidence-based guidelines to timely and effectively treat stoke patients. Mission: Lifeline Stroke will build upon the gains achieved by the existing Nebraska Stroke Advisory Council by further strengthening the collaboration with stakeholders across the state.
There is only one comprehensive stroke center in the far east of the state, and the primary stroke centers are clustered around I-80, leaving great distances for patients to travel and risk patient ineligibility for care within the limited treatment time window. The hospitals report barriers such as lack of diagnostic support from a board-certified neurologist (36%); apprehension about adverse patient outcomes (48%) and litigation (25%); and inadequate treatment protocols (19%).
Nearly one-third of Nebraskans seek initial emergency care in a critical access hospital that lacks access to qualified neurologists (94 in state) and neurosurgeons (26 in state). The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death. To learn more or to get involved, visit heart.org.