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A Great Year for Heart-Health Policy in Illinois

 

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Thanks to the hard work of advocates like YOU, Illinois had another great year in moving heart-health policies forward. Together, we have worked to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke and we have much to celebrate this year!

Below is a brief summary of this year’s legislative highlights:

Lauren Laman CPR and AED training law – HB 3724 signed on June 5, 2014

Starting in the upcoming 2014-15 school year, all Illinois high-schools must begin training students in both CPR and how to use an AED thanks to the Lauren Laman Law. The training will include hands-on practice with a CPR mannequin and an AED, creating a new generation of life-savers every year.

Hospital Stroke Center Designation – HB 5742 awaiting Gov’s signature

Following the Governor’s signature, expected later this summer, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health will have the legal framework to designate Comprehensive Stroke Centers and Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals. In practical terms, this will make the whole of Illinois’ stroke system greater than the sum of its parts, ensuring that patients suffering from a stroke will be taken to the right hospital, right away.

State Stroke Registry – HB 5742 cont.

Illinois will also be better able to assess and improve system-wide quality with regard to stroke care thanks to legislation which creates a small but sufficient dedicated funding stream to create a state stroke registry. State stroke registries are highly recommended by AHA/ASA national experts, because "you can’t improve what you don’t measure."

PE Taskforce – HB 5397 awaiting Gov’s signature

Illinois will soon begin to measure and improve physical education programs in schools throughout the state with the help of a newly created Enhanced PE Task Force. The Taskforce will recommend criteria to assess school fitness programs based on national standards, as well as the creation of reporting protocols which will allow the Illinois State Board of Education to get a clear picture on school fitness programs throughout the state.

Illinois EMS Alliance – SB 3414 awaiting Gov’s signature; HB 4523 awaiting Gov’s signature; etc.

The Illinois EMS Alliance, created in part by the AHA/ASA and key members of our Illinois Advocacy Committee, had a successful first year, playing a critical role in helping to pass many of the initiatives mentioned above. The Illinois EMS Alliance also helped to pass bills which will: help align Illinois’ EMS training and education with national standards, and; allow licensed Pre-Hospital RNs to use the full range of their medical skills to save a life if they are aboard an ambulance licensed at a lower level.

Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax

The legislature took important steps towards the creation of an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages aimed at incentivizing healthier consumer choices. Legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate, and a subject matter hearing was held in the Senate. While these bill did not make it through to final passage, they did succeed in starting a conversation in Springfield and around the state about the health impact of sugar-sweetened beverages, helping many Illinoisans realize for the first time that a standard 12-ounce can of pop actually contains 10 packets worth of sugar.

Thank you for your ongoing support and action this year! Please watch for opportunities over the coming weeks to thank your lawmakers for their leadership of heart-health policies this year.

We can’t spell CURE without U!

 

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