The 64th North Dakota Legislative session has begun, and elected officials are setting policy and funding priorities for the next two years – 2015 – 17. As you can imagine, with heart and stroke being our leading cause of death in North Dakota, there are a significant number of touch points where AHA volunteers and staff can impact legislation. While we will monitor and engage on many of these items, we also identify a select number of issues for our leadership focus. These are highlighted below. I’m also including some key talking points, in hope that you will find opportunities to connect with your local elected officials.
Why is our work so important?
Life is why. Heart disease and stroke is our state’s leading cause of death and disability. That’s impacting our families, our communities and our state.
As a nation 75% of our healthcare dollars goes to treatment of chronic diseases.
Are we making an impact?
You betcha! From 2011 to 2012, nationwide, age adjusted death rates decreased significantly for heart disease – 1.8% and 2.6% stroke nationwide. During the same time period, in North Dakota, age adjusted death rates for heart disease decreased 22.3% and stroke declined 38%.
So what’s our problem?
While we are showing improvement overall, we are seeing cardiac disease and stroke events increasing within our active workforce – hitting people at the prime of their life for key work and business production.
The state cost to treat cardiovascular diseases cost North Dakota more than $1 billion each year.
How can I help?
Watch for You’re the Cure action requests, and take action right away! Build the relationship trust with your area legislators, let them know these issues matter to you. Keep in mind this insight: Budget leaders find it is easier to take the eggs from the nest of those who don’t squawk, than from the nests of those that do.
Core AHA priorities:
SB 2013 – Dept of Public Instruction Budget: This bill is currently in Senate Appropriations. We are seeking to insert language that carries over any unspent CPR training funds from the 2013-15 budget to the 2015-17 budget for continued support of teaching students CPR. We anticipate there will be about $400,000 to carry over. Why? Fewer than 1 in 3 victims of sudden cardiac arrest outside the hospital receive CPR from a bystander. CPR can double or triple survival rates. CPR is a lifelong skill, one that saves lives.
HB 1004 – Dept of Health Budget: Currently in House Appropriations, Human Services.
- Optional Request #6: Cardiac Systems of Care. $601,400 for expanded stakeholder work on identifying emergency cardiac care system impact points, target educational efforts to improve the quality of care of patients, data tracking and public awareness. Why? This appropriation further develops ND cardiac capacity to enhance other time sensitive cardiac system of care initiatives which will save lives and improve outcomes.
- Optional Request #12: EMS Database. $480,000 Funding recommendation which includes $448.000 for one-time cost and $32,000 for ongoing maintenance costs. Why? The current system is outdated and lacks company support. Inter-connectivity of technology components is essential, as are EMS patient care records to assist with system improvements.
- Optional Request #9: Million Heart Initiative. $2,039,573. Public/Private/Healthcare Initiatives to address two of the state's leading chronic disease risk factors - high blood pressure and smoking. The initiative will support HBP interventions and standard treatment guidelines through community and health system initiatives; increase health system capacity to provide private and group cessation counseling (Medicaid is adding reimbursement for such). Why? In North Dakota, 32% of strokes are under age 65, and over 73% have high blood pressure, yet only .1% are being treated for high blood pressure. A 5mm hG decrease in systolic blood pressure would result in 14% fewer deaths from stroke, and 9% fewer deaths from heart disease.
Stroke System of Care Legislation. This will be a policy bill and will be appearing in the coming days. Why? Current Century Code language (state law) has old dates. It was also enacted at a time other standards for stroke system care were not yet available. This bill updates state law and also reflects the status of system work in North Dakota.