§ 23-78.1-2 Legislative findings.
It is hereby found and declared as follows:
(1) The rapid identification, diagnosis, and treatment of stroke can save the lives of stroke victims and in some cases can reverse neurological damage such as paralysis and speech and language impairments, leaving stroke victims with few or no neurological deficits;
(2) Despite significant advances in diagnosis, treatment and prevention, stroke is the third (3rd) leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability; an estimated seven hundred eighty thousand (780,000) new and recurrent strokes occur each year in this country; and with the aging of the population, the number of persons who have strokes is projected to increase;
(3) This year in Rhode Island, more than three thousand (3,000) people will fall victim to a potentially treatable stroke and more than six hundred (600) Rhode Islanders will die from stroke-related complications. This tragic loss of life and viability creates an annual financial burden for the state of over three hundred twelve million dollars ($312,000,000) in medical costs, supportive care, and lost productivity;
(4) Although new treatments are available to improve the clinical outcomes of stroke, some acute care hospitals may lack the necessary staff and equipment to optimally triage and treat stroke patients, including the provision of optimal, safe and effective emergency care for these patients;
(5) An effective system to support stroke survival is needed in our communities in order to treat stroke patients in a timely manner and to improve the overall treatment of stroke patients in order to increase survival and decrease the disabilities associated with stroke. There is a public health need for acute care hospitals in this state to establish primary stoke centers to ensure the rapid triage, diagnostic evaluation and treatment of patients suffering an acute stroke;
(6) Primary stroke centers should be established for the treatment of acute stroke. Primary stroke centers should be established in as many acute care hospitals as possible. These centers would evaluate, stabilize and provide emergency and in patient care to patients with acute stroke; and
(7) That it is in the best interest of the residents of this state to establish a program to facilitate development of stroke treatment capabilities throughout the state. This program will provide specific patient care and support services criteria that stroke centers must meet in order to ensure that stroke patients receive safe and effective care. It is also in the best interest of the people of this state to modify the state's emergency medical response system to assure that acute stroke victims may be quickly identified and transported to and treated in facilities that have appropriate programs for providing timely and effective treatment for stroke victims.
(8) For the purposes of pre-hospital transfer and triage clarification, an "acute stroke" is defined as any new-persistent focal neurological deficit determined to be less than six (6) hours since last seen normal.
(P.L. 2009, ch. 88, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 89, § 1.)