Mo. stroke treatment program suffers $150K budget cut

Officials are looking for solutions after a budget cut of more than $150,000 for Time Critical Diagnosis, a program for stroke, STEMI and trauma patients


Lake Sun Leader

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri department of health officials is looking for solutions after a budget cut of more than $150,000 earmarked for Time Critical Diagnosis, a program aimed at improving treatment for stroke, STEMI and trauma patients.

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is working with partners, including hospitals, providers and emergency medical service professionals to ensure funding for the Time Critical Diagnosis (TCD) System will remain steady moving forward.

The TCD System is a statewide system that brings together the 911 response system, ambulance services and hospitals in a coordinated way to provide patients the right care, at the right place, in the right amount of time.

By ensuring timely treatment for stroke, STEMI and trauma patients, the system improves recovery times, reduces complications and saves lives.

The Department of Health's overall budget is $1.4 billion. Governor Parson's veto of the TCD program totaled $153,546 with the intent to find a more stable long-term funding source than operating from general revenue.

"We remain committed to working closely with our hospitals, providers and emergency medical services professionals to provide time-sensitive care to patients in a coordinated manner. As we transition the time-critical diagnosis system forward, we will ensure the funding remains steady and continue to provide this essential service for Missourians," stated Randall Williams, DHSS Director.

As the DHSS moves forward in this transition, it will continue to work with its partners, and current designations and emergency transport protocols will remain in place.

"The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and agencies throughout Missouri recognize that the TCD System saves hundreds of lives a year. We are excited about the prospect of working with others to improve the TCD System and assure its long term viability," said Jason White, EMS Consultant Mid-America Regional Council.

"We look forward to working with Gov. Parson and his administration to make sure that access to life saving care is available to every Missourian. We appreciate his commitment to continuing this important program," stated Herb Kuhn, President and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association. Missouri currently has 56 hospitals designated as stroke centers, 55 hospitals designated as STEMI centers and 30 hospitals designated as trauma centers. Most hospitals carry two or more designations. In all, 71 hospitals participate in these voluntary designation programs.

One of those hospitals is Lake Regional Health Systems. The state designates TCD centers based on nationally recognized guidelines established by experts in trauma, stroke and heart attack care. Lake Regional Health System is the only hospital between Columbia and Springfield that has earned state designation for all three time-critical diagnoses.

"Our triple designation matters to residents and visitors throughout the mid-Missouri region," said Dane W. Henry, CEO, Lake Regional Health System. "Because we have committed significant resources to meeting these stringent guidelines, EMS providers know they can trust Lake Regional to provide top quality care for stroke, heart attack and trauma patients, instead of having to drive 50 to 80 miles to the next center. That saves time, and saving time saves lives."

For more information about the TCD System in Missouri, visit https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/chronic/tcdsystem/index.php.

Copyright 2018 Lake Sun Leader

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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