The 2014-2015 fiscal year was a very successful year for accomplishing advocacy priorities. In August, the regulation was finalized for critical congenital heart defect screening for newborns. The regulation language includes pulse oximetry screening for all newborns. More than 20,000 newborns are now screened in Nebraska with this life-saving procedure every year!
An additional $200,000 for tobacco prevention and cessation was appropriated and passed by the Governor and Legislature this year. This is the first time since 2004 that there has been any increase in additional funding for tobacco prevention and cessation!
Funding for cardiac monitors for our EMS services was also approved by the Governor and Legislature Cardiac monitors with 12-lead capability are critical in detecting the deadliest type of heart attack, known as a STEMI. This appropriation will help to outfit more EMS rescue services with this life-saving equipment.
An interim stroke system of care study resolution was introduced by State Senator Kathy Campbell. Despite significant advances in diagnosis, treatment and prevention, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability; and with the aging of the population, the number of persons who have strokes is projected to increase. Forecasting by the American Heart Association predicts stroke prevalence to increase by 24.9% between 2010 and 2030.
These are just a few of the many successes this past fiscal year. In the upcoming year, we will continue to advocate for all our high school students receiving CPR training, heart and stroke systems of care, and other priorities that reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease.