Nationally, there is a problem with the delivery of stroke care. “The American Stroke Association wrote a position paper several years ago now that outlined the fragmentation of care for stroke at several levels and urged all states to come up with plans of action that essentially develop systems of care like we are doing here in South Carolina,” says Dr. Robert Adams.
The Stroke Systems of Care Study Committee is holding its second meeting at the Department of Health and Environmental Control office in Columbia today to discuss South Carolina’s plan of action. Adams was appointed as chair by the DHEC board. He says the committee was set up to improve the care for stroke victims and to find ways to prevent strokes.
“So the whole system essentially that we are looking at is we are trying to look at the state and see how we can make recommendations to the leadership of this state so that we can do a better job at preventing stroke the very best that we can and integrating the emergency response system with our hospital system in this state so that the patients can get to the right place as quickly as possible and receive the care that they need,” says Adams.
Adams says the rate of stroke in South Carolina is high.
“It varies from year to year, but usually we are in the top five or so, which is not a good position to be in. We know that South Caroilna is in the heart of the stroke belt. We know that much of this is driven by rates of hypertension and high blood pressure, and blood pressure which is not adequately controlled,” says Adams.
Wednesday’s meeting will be a discussion of the plan for stroke care in the state. As for a timeline: “We are designated to report to the legislature in December of 2010, so basically we have 12 months to meet and to develop recommendations that pertain to a stroke system of care,” says Adams.
Adams says they will probably not develop a highly detailed plan, but more general recommendations that deal with major problem areas. He says if the plan is adopted, then the agencies responsible for carrying out the recommendations would develop the final, more detailed plan.
Adams says if it weren’t for the leadership of some state lawmakers, DHEC, and the American Stroke Assoication, the proposed plan would not have been possible.
“Senator Darrell Jackson, and also from the House of Representatives, Joseph Jefferson. These sponsors were instrumental in getting this bill to come to life. And also the American Stroke Association division of the American Heart Association has been a big proponent for making this happen as well,” says Adams.
The public is invited to attend Wednesday’s meeting from 10 to 3 at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control office in Columbia.