Guest Blogger: Erin Bennett, Idaho Government Relations Director
February was a busy month for the Idaho AHA, with the first annual Go Red Week taking place. February 3-7, 2015 had the AHA team, volunteers and community partners teaching hands-only CPR across the Treasure Valley and we now have over 2,000 new trained lifesavers. We also had a successful Stroke Education workshop for health care professionals and several wonderful opportunities to spotlight our amazing volunteers, survivors and sponsors.
We’ve also been busy in the Legislature, working with the Time Sensitive Emergency Council on creating rules and standards for approval. The Time Sensitive Emergency Council was formed in 2014 to create a more comprehensive system of care dealing with medical emergencies where time to treatment is critical, specifically trauma, stroke and heart attacks. The rules and standards for trauma have been approved by both the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees.
In 2015 we’ll continue to work with the Council to develop the standards for Stroke and STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction, a particular type of heart attack that affects a large area of the heart muscle). These rules will be amended to include the standards for STEMI and Stroke designation criteria after the Legislature adjourns for the session. These designation standards will help improve the health care system statewide by improving the coordination between emergency responders, hospitals and other health care elements critical during an emergency.
We’ve also seen the recommendation for tobacco and substance abuse prevention and cessation funding from the Joint Legislative Millennium Fund Committee, with 18 programs receiving requested funding, and over $5 million going specifically toward tobacco cessation and abuse prevention. This represents an increase over previous years funding by over 25% toward the CDC recommended funding goals.
We have many other activities in progress and will continue to reach out to our volunteers and supporters as we move forward, working to improve heart health, decrease risk factors, and prevent heart disease and stroke.