S.C. bill seeks to increase telemed for stroke

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A South Carolina bill requiring the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to identify hospitals that use telemedicine in stroke treatment is slated to hit the governor’s desk after passing unanimously in both the state House and Senate.

The South Carolina General Assembly on June 1 unanimously passed the Stroke Prevention Act of 2011 (S 588) after the state Senate also unanimously voted in favor of the measure on May 25. Sponsored by Sen. Darrell Jackson (D), the bill is expected to increase the use of telemedicine in treating strokes.

If ratified, the bill will require the DHEC to identify hospitals that use telemedicine in treating acute or early strokes as “stroke enable centers through telemedicine." Additionally, it will create a Stroke System of Care Advisory Council to be appointed by the DHEC, one of whose members must be “a hospital administrator, or designee, from a hospital with a stroke telemedicine program that is not a primary stoke center upon the recommendation of the South Carolina Hospital Association.”

According to the text of the bill, it will require the DHEC to distribute a list of primary stroke centers and acute stroke centers to emergency medical services (EMS) providers and to post that list on its website. It also will establish pre-hospital care protocols for the stroke patients by EMS providers.

In addition to establishing a Stroke System of Care Advisory Council, a subcommittee of the council, the Stroke Registry Task Force, would be obligated to analyze information generated by a statewide stroke registry database, indentify potential interventions to improve stroke care and provide recommendations to the department and General Assembly for the improvement of stroke care in the state.

To read the text of the bill, click here.