By Bob Katzen
The Public Health Committee’s virtual hearing included a bill that would establish a multi-tiered system of stroke facilities, including Comprehensive Stroke Centers, Primary Stroke Centers and Acute Stroke Ready Centers. The measure also requires Emergency Medical Services (EMS) councils to create and annually review pre-hospital protocols related to the assessment, treatment, transport and rerouting of stroke patients to the most clinically appropriate facilities. Another provision requires the Public Health Department to make available a list of all designated stroke centers to EMS providers in order to give patients the greatest possible chance of survival and recovery.
Sponsor Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) has filed stroke legislation for nearly two decades. “Stroke is a chronic, deadly and destructive disease that demands immediate action from policymakers,” said Montigny. “Years of inaction on Beacon Hill is not acceptable when commonsense policy changes can save lives and improve outcomes. The lives of our loved ones are far more important than the bottom line of any business or desire to maintain the status quo.”
“In 2017, strokes claimed the lives of 2,370 Massachusetts residents,” continued Montigny. “This largely preventable disease also costs Massachusetts a staggering financial burden with annual costs increasing from $1.5 billion 10 years ago to $2.5 billion as of last year. We must evolve our stroke system of care to save lives, reduce long-term costs and eliminate severe inequities in our health care system.”