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The Department of Health Services will strengthen coordinated stroke care systems statewide thanks to a 5-year, $3.75 million CDC grant to continue the Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program. Wisconsin is one of only nine states to receive the funding.
“Continued support for our stroke care initiative will help us increase the likelihood that patients throughout the state receive fast and high quality stroke care,” said Dr. Timothy Corden, Chief Medical Officer, Bureau of Community Health Promotion.
Ongoing program partners include MetaStar, the Wisconsin Stroke Coalition, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, Wisconsin Hospital Association, Wisconsin Office of Rural Health at UW-Madison, the Wisconsin EMS Association, Wellbe, Inc., and UW-Milwaukee’s Center for Urban Initiatives and Research.
In the event of a stroke, outcomes often depend on how quickly a patient gets care after symptoms start. Reducing the time before a stroke patient gets clot-busting drugs makes a difference for patients and their families. Working with 29 certified stroke centers and 83 EMS agencies, the state’s stroke program reduced the average time it took to get a patient into treatment by 20 minutes. The renewed grant funds will continue to support timely treatment initiation, and also focus on improving people’s lives after a stroke has occurred.
Because early recognition of stroke symptoms and emergency response are critical to helping patients avoid disabilities, another key program goal is to increase public awareness of stroke symptoms and the importance of calling 911. EMS transportation to the hospital has been shown to reduce patients’ average time to treatment by 35 minutes.
Although 70 percent of people who have strokes are over age 65, a growing number of patients experiencing stroke are under age 55. High blood pressure — a treatable, preventable condition — is a major contributing factor for strokes.
Program funding comes from the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Prevention Program, named in memory of Georgia Senator Paul Coverdell who died of a stroke in 2000 while serving in the U.S. Congress.