Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Arkansas Legislative Issues


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2009 Arkansas Legislative Session Agenda Set for American Heart Association

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in Arkansas has set it's legislative agenda for the 2009 Session. Key issues will reach across the state and save lives if they are addressed and approved by Legislators in the 87th General Assembly, which begins in January of 2009.

Arkansas 2009 State Public Policy Priorities

Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

Public funding for prevention is important to complements the benefits of research provided at the federal level and proven public health intervention into practice. Advocacy efforts will focus on continued support for Arkansas Cardiovascular Health Program, as well as other public health programs and activities aimed at reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Support programs including Emergency Cardiac Care for CPR in schools and funding for automated external defibrillators, Search Your Heart, Power to End Stroke and Community awareness by distributing AHA materials across state. Media ads for Public awareness on stroke and heart disease warning signs and symptoms.

Health Disparities (including Women & Cardiovascular Disease)

The AHA will work to reduce healthcare disparities in heart disease, stroke and associated risk. Activities will be aimed at increasing awareness, and improving quality and access to care to reduce disparities among women and minority populations.

Wear Red Day & Go Red for Women Movement

Obesity Prevention

Obesity is a major modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Advocacy efforts will focus on ensuring Arkansas continues to work for mandated physical and health education laws that met the National standards. We will continue to work through the Child Health Advisory Committee to provide positive recommendations that will move the state forward in physical activity and education. We will continue to educate lawmakers on the importance of mandated statewide curriculum for health and physical education, as well as lay the ground work for potential funding.

The Association will continue serve on the Child Advisory Committee and work to increase physical education and activity for all school children.

Tobacco Control

Reduced tobacco use - particularly among children and youth - and reduced exposure to secondhand smoke are important elements in lowering the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. The Association supports efforts to fund educational programs and to strengthen Arkansas’ Clean Indoor Air law (Act 8). The AHA will also monitor the states Master Settlement Agreement set forth in Initiated Act 1 of 2001. The Association will begin exploratory efforts to increase taxes on all tobacco products.

Increase state’s tobacco tax and address other tobacco related issues i.e internet sale, smokeless tobacco products like Snus and reducing the burden of tobacco across the state. Also work to reduce exemption with regards to secondhand smoke.

Quality & Availability of Care

Recent statistics show that 44 million of Americans are without healthcare and an additional 36 million with insurance lack access to physicians or other healthcare providers. The Association will oppose any cuts to Medicaid programs, as well as look for ways to provide access to healthcare for all. The Association will work to secure funding for automated external defibrillators for all school across are allow quality of care in our schools with relationship to emergency “sudden cardiac arrest”.

Support statewide trauma system – when healthcare professional are in place for traumatic injuries they will also expedite the immediate care for heart attack and stroke patients. See attachment on Stroke in Arkansas.


Access to quality stroke care, including prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services, is a priority of the American Heart Association and its division the American Stroke Association. Advocacy activities will be aimed at promoting the development and implementation of the essential elements of stroke systems of care. The Association will work with entities in Arkansas to support a statewide trauma system. Additionally we will support efforts to secure funds for a stroke registry and will join forces with the University for Medical Science in telemedicine for the state.

Initiated the Acute Stroke Task Force, which is working to secure funding for Stroke Registry to address stroke in Arkansas. Encourage more stroke centers in hospitals across the state. Arkansas has only two designated stroke centers. Telemedicine in now on the horizon and needs support from the state to address the ravages of stroke.

Arkansas is now third in the nation in deaths by stroke. There are some 63,000 Arkansans who have survived a stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in Arkansas and will take the lives of some 2,000 Arkansans this year alone.

American Heart Association • South Central Affiliate
Arkansas Department of Advocacy
Barbara Kumpe – State Advocacy Director Arkansas
909 W. Second Street, Little Rock, AR 72201



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