Acute Cardiovascular Care

Updated:May 4,2011

The American Heart Association covers many areas when it comes to heart disease and stroke (see list at right). The current priority is for a strong emergency response system, critical to saving the lives of victims of heart attack, cardiac arrest and stroke.

Support 9-1-1 and Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD)

  • Support public policy initiatives and other activities that promote increased quality and appropriate use of 9-1-1 systems. This includes the ability of current and future generations of telecommunications technology to supply E-9-1-1 capabilities to their customers. Promote the use of nationally recognized emergency medical dispatch protocols and appropriate quality improvement programs among 9-1-1 dispatch agencies to assure that bystanders promptly receive effective CPR coaching and support efforts to train dispatch personnel to provide pre-arrival medical instructions.

Encourage Access and Use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)

  • Champion public policy initiatives that promote the purchasing and placement of AEDs for first responders and targeted responders in high-risk locations. 
  • Remove obstacles for the purchase, placement, and usage of AEDs, including extending Good Samaritan law coverage to all AED users and program facilitators regardless of implementation of training or other program requirements.

Support the Establishment of Quality Community AED Programs

  • Assure that all public policy related to Community AED programs are consistent with the American Heart Association’s policy statements and guidelines.
  • Assure that public policy regarding the placement of AEDs in schools incorporates training and medical emergency response plans in schools. Support efforts to appropriate funding to support the implementation of quality Community AED programs that follow AHA guidelines.

Promote CPR and AED Training for Both Professionals and Lay Rescuers as a Critical Part of the Chain of Survival

  • Support public policy initiatives that require CPR and AED training for licensure/certification of professionals that may need to respond to medical emergencies.
  • Work to assure that AHA CPR and first aid training are recognized by licensing agencies that regulate professions that are required to have CPR and/or first aid training for licensure/certification. Support policies that encourage bystander CPR.
  • Support CPR and AED training in schools with an emphasis on hands-on coursework.

Support Strong EMS Systems and EMS Triage and Transport Protocols

  • Support public policy initiatives and other activities that promote a strong, well trained, data-driven, quality EMS system that improves collaboration, responsiveness and effectiveness. 
  • Assess, establish, encourage and promote the use of, and training in, ACC/AHA guideline-based EMS triage and transport protocols for acute MI and stroke patients to ensure access to timely and appropriate evidence-based treatments.

Establish STEMI Systems of Care

  • Through an integrated approach with the Mission: Lifeline initiative, promote efforts to create inclusive and coordinated statewide and regional systems of care to improve the treatment of STEMI patients by adhering to ACC/AHA guidelines and maintaining consistency with Mission: Lifeline recommendations for criteria for STEMI systems of care.
  • Support efforts that include encouraging EMS agencies to obtain or upgrade to effective 12-lead ECG field devices, including appropriations for training and equipment. 
  • Support public funding to advance the clinical decision support program ACTION Registry – Get With The Guidelines, and advocate that this program serve as the state registry data platform.

Development of Coordinated Stroke Systems of Care

  • Through an integrated approach with other AHA/ASA program activities, promote efforts to create inclusive and coordinated statewide systems of care to improve the treatment of the stroke patient.
  • Work to ensure that the recognition, and the protection, of Primary Stroke Centers designation is based on Joint Commission certification or an equivalent process. Utilizing current AHA/ASA guidelines for stroke care, promote within EMSS statewide standardization and implementation of stroke training, assessment, treatment and transportation protocols.
  • Support the utilization of telemedicine, which is consistent with AHA science and policy statements, to help facilitate the links critical to establishing a meaningful system for stroke prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Support the removal of barriers for rehabilitation referral and rehabilitation treatment of stroke patients.
For more information about the policies on this page, please contact Jeff Ranous, 262.271.4908

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Advocacy Contacts

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association advocates for sound public policy strategies aimed at reducing heart disease and stroke. We have government relations teams in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Learn who your federal and state staff contacts are and how to reach them about policy issues.