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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 9, 2017 04:18 PM
From: Representative Ryan E. Mackenzie
To: All House members
Subject: Updating Act 54, regarding Primary Stroke Center designations in Pennsylvania
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation that updates Pennsylvania’s stroke center designation law. Last session this legislation was HB 2350 and it passed the House unanimously on October 26, 2016.

In 2012, House Bill 1400, Act 54, passed both chambers unanimously. Act 54 directs the Department of Health to maintain a list of “primary stroke centers” across the state. Hospitals voluntarily apply to a national accrediting organization to be certified, and upon certification, the information is shared with the Department for coordination between EMS and hospitals. Currently, there are more than 1,000 hospitals certified as primary stroke centers nationally, including 81 in Pennsylvania.

The purpose of the certification program is to quickly transport stroke patients to the nearest stroke-ready hospital and ultimately minimize long-term effects.

When Act 54 passed, the national certification program was limited to primary stroke centers. Since then, guidelines have been updated to include two new levels of certification: (1) acute stroke ready hospitals; and (2) comprehensive stroke centers. These new levels of certification recognize a hospital’s capabilities and access to advanced equipment, availability of experienced medical personnel, and training in stroke assessment procedures.

In order to fully integrate our stroke system of care, Act 54 needs to be updated to include these new certifications. Updating the law will improve health outcomes by ensuring that patients receive the appropriate care at a certified stroke center in the shortest amount of time . Hospitals pursue certification voluntarily and pay any necessary fees at no cost to the state.

This legislation has the support of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

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Introduced as HB23