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Stroke Center Update Legislation Receives Senate Committee Vote

April 25, 2017

As noted by the Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), May is Stroke Awareness Month, and today’s committee vote to update the stroke designation law is aptly timed. The committee unanimously voted House Bill 23 out of the Senate committee.

During the committee meeting, the bill’s prime sponsor, State Representative R. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh), pointed out that strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and it is important for patients to be taken to stroke centers that are able to deliver the appropriate level of care. HB 23 makes important changes to Pennsylvania’s stroke center law to reflect federal updates. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Change the name of the current law to the Stroke System of Care Act
  • Create designations for acute stroke-ready hospitals and comprehensive stroke centers
  • Establish the process to be used to recognize each facility designation
  • Call on the Department of Health to make available location and other information regarding each designated facility
  • Require the Department of Health to ensure proper protocols related to the treatment of stroke patients
  • Provide for completion of a biennial report to identify any changes in the number or location of each facility designation

Primary stroke centers were created through Act 54 of 2012 to ensure patient access to a network of hospitals fully prepared to evaluate, stabilize, and provide emergency and inpatient care to patients with acute stroke.

HAP commends Rep. Mackenzie for his work to update the act and for the committee’s affirmative vote.

Last session, this issue (House Bill 2350) was voted out of the House of Representatives at the end of the legislative session. Unfortunately, the clock ran out before the bill could get to the Governor for his signature. The bill now awaits consideration from the full Senate.

For additional information, please contact Scott Bishop, HAP’s senior vice president, legislative advocacy; or Stephanie Watkins, vice president, state legislative advocacy.

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