This month, the American Heart Association's Florida Advocacy Committee approved the organization's state legislative agenda for 2019.
We're pleased to share that we'll pursue several initiatives, among them Tobacco 21 and a STEMI Registry. These initiatives fell victim to the legislative schedule in 2018 and were not able to pass, so we have worked with legislators, their staff, and other interested parties to help smooth the way for passage in 2019. A third issue we may work on, depending on if the coalition is formed in time, is removal of self-attestation as Primary/Comprehensive Stroke Centers by hospital CEOs.
Tobacco 21 will seek to raise the minimum legal sale age of cigarettes, flavored cigars, chewing tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems, also known as ENDS and “vaping” products from 18 to 21. The rationale is young people in the 10-18 year age bracket are generally obtaining their tobacco and vaping products from an older sibling, classmate or another young adult, while they’re far less likely to approach someone over 21 to make the purchases for them.
STEMI Registry relates to ST-elevated Myocardial Infarctions, also known as the “widow maker” heart attack. The purpose of the registry is to take data generated as a result of the patient being taken to the hospital, from the time the 911 call is made or the patient presents at the Emergency Department, to the time they leave the hospital, and analyze the aggregated data to produce “best practices” that Emergency Department physicians and hospital staff can use to improve patient care and drive down the deaths associated with the STEMI heart attack.
Removal of self-attestation as a method for stroke centers to avoid being certified by an independent verification agency such as The Joint Commission. The coalition to work on this is in the formative stages and it’s uncertain if it will be organized in time to act during the 2019 legislative session.
Stay tuned for future You're the Cure alerts about how you can help advance these policy initiatives! If you have yet to become an advocate for the American Heart Association, we invite you to join today at yourethecure.org/join.