Posted on behalf of Government Relations Director Christopher Ramos
In an earlier post I introduced two of our 2013 policy priorities:
>> Advocating for statewide policy that requires each birthing facility in Virginia to perform a pulse oximetry screening on every newborn in its care prior to discharge
>> Exploring opportunities to direct additional fiscal resources toward the funding of 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) equipment for Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
I want to take a moment to focus on the second initiative: 12-lead ECGs.
Earlier this year, AHA staff took a hard look at the STEMI mortality rate in Virginia. What we saw was disparity. Some areas seemed to have a low mortality rate; others had a mortality rate which was noticeably – significantly – higher.
This variance can be due to many factors, so it motivated us to dig a little deeper. What we learned confirmed one of our suspicions: in many of the communities with the highest STEMI mortality rates, first responders lack 12-lead ECGs.
Since our discovery, we’ve coordinated with Mission: Lifeline staff and Virginia Heart Attack Coalition volunteers; we’ve met with EMS; and we’ve met with public officials. And we’ve also shared this need with you: if you attended one of our Virginia Heart Walks this year, you probably met me or another volunteer at our You’re the Cure tent, where we brought attention to this issue. We need to build as much support and momentum as we can in order to make this happen.
The next step is to ask the General Assembly to help us get this equipment into the communities which need it. Formally, that process will start in early January, when the 2013 session begins, and we’ll need your involvement then to help communicate the need to your legislators. But it’s never too soon to let your elected officials know that this issue is important to you. Please take a moment to do so today.
Best regards this holiday season.