Neurosciences Medical Director Presents Before Congress|
Reno, Nev. (May 21, 2008) –Paul Katz, MD presented in front of Congress at a briefing about stroke telemedicine in Washington, D.C. on May 15. The purpose of the briefing was to educate members of Congress and the Congressional staff about how telehealth technology can be used to improve access to and the quality of acute stroke care.
Katz, the area’s leading stroke expert and the medical director of the Renown Institute for Neurosciences and the Comprehensive Stroke Center, gave an overview of Renown’s program detailing how it works, who it serves, and how it has improved stoke care outcomes. With the use of telemedicine, Katz is personally involved with patients at a distance by examining them and working with the nurse in a rural location over the Internet.
“Telemedicine is the answer to providing patients with the interventional stroke therapy they need quickly when they do not have immediate access to a major stroke center,” said Katz. “This, along with formal transfer agreements with rural hospitals will ensure consistent delivery of the highest level of stroke care.”
Katz, who is also part of the Brian Attack Coalition at the National Institute of Health, spoke to bolster support of the STOP Stroke Act. The act is bipartisan federal legislation that would help to provide resources to states to develop and implement standardized stroke care systems, including using telemedicine technology if the state so chooses. This consistent and regulated level of care would be similar to hospitals that receive and maintain trauma certification.
“It is critical that stroke victims are brought to the correct facility the first time,” said Katz. “The STOP Stroke Act will put into place, certifications that designate certain hospitals that use an organized system of clinical protocols to treat stroke. Identifying certified stroke centers is important for federal funding opportunities as well.”
The STOP Stroke Act was recently approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Renown was the first hospital in Nevada to earn the gold Seal of Approvalâ Primary Stroke Center Certification for stroke care by The Joint Commission – the nation’s largest healthcare standards setting and accrediting body. Renown is considered a comprehensive stroke center, but currently no certification is available for comprehensive stroke centers because so few exist. The STOP Stroke Act would make progress toward establishing a comprehensive stroke center certification.
“Our rural stroke program is getting national attention,” said Katz. “Renown is making a huge contribution to improving stroke care throughout rural America.”
Other speakers in front of Congress included a member of the CDC to speak briefly about its new Atlas of Stroke Hospitalizations, a stroke survivor, and another stroke telemedicine program that serves primarily urban/suburban areas. The briefing was co-sponsored by the American Heart Association, American Stroke Association and the American Telemedicine Association and is being co-hosted by the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition and the Capitol Hill Steering Committee on Telehealth and Healthcare Informatics.