The Massachusetts State Senate unanimously passed legislation that will help lead to better care and treatment for individuals suffering from stroke.
“Stroke is a leading cause of death in the nation and the Commonwealth and its impact is felt not only by the victim, but also their loved ones,” said Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury) Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. “In order to effectively treat and combat the impacts of stroke, it must be responded to quickly and effectively. This legislation establishes a framework so that this may be achieved.
The bill, An Act to Prevent Death and Disability from Stroke, would:
• Direct the Department of Public Health (DPH) and regional EMS councils to annually review protocols to ensure stroke patients are transported to care facilities best equipped to treat them;
• Directs DPH to publicize regulations that create statewide standard pre-hospital care protocols and statewide criteria for designating hospitals in a tiered system;
• Requires DPH to publicly post, and annually update, a designated list of stroke facilities on its website; and
• Establishes a Stroke Advisory Task Force to assist with data oversight, program management and advice regarding the stroke system of care in the Commonwealth
A stroke is caused by a disruption of blood supply to the brain. While stroke can cause disability or death, identifying the signs and getting immediate treatment can help reduce the long-term effects. Signs and symptoms may include face drooping, arm weakness and difficulty speaking.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 140,000 Americans die each year of stroke. A 2017 survey of Massachusetts adults 35 and older, 3.5 percent of reported suffering from stroke.
The legislation now moves to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.