State Rep. Bethany Hall-Long discusses the state budget, legislation to create an Office for Cardiovascular Health and Stroke Prevention, and honoring members of our military on Memorial Day and throughout the year.

The General Assembly enters the final weeks of the Legislative Session in June. A central focus of the legislature will be addressing the state’s operating and bond budget bills. Residents of District 8, like all Americans, are feeling the impact in our daily lives of rising costs such as with high gas and food prices. The legislature will face tough decisions, including budget cuts, fees, and revenue enhancements.  Please feel free to contact my office with any comments or questions on the state’s budget at 302-744-4351.

Stroke Center legislation

Last month, I wrote about legislation I had sponsored to create an Office for Cardiovascular Health and Stroke Prevention (HB352) given heart disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in our state.  The month of May has been National Stroke Awareness Month. I am pleased to be the sponsor of another piece of legislation that addresses stroke care HB 378 that establishes a program and the criteria to certify acute care hospitals as primary stroke centers. An estimated 1160 strokes occur each year in Delaware, and the number is projected to increase as the population of this state ages.

Although new treatments are available to improve the clinical outcomes of stroke, many acute care hospitals lack the necessary staff and equipment to optimally triage and treat stroke patients. The American Heart Association, Delaware Hospital Association and other organizations locally and nationally recognize the value of such centers for improved treatment outcomes for victims of a stroke.

Currently, there are not official JACHO recognized Stroke Centers in Delaware.

In order to increase survival rates and decrease the disabilities associated with stroke, there is a public health need for acute care hospitals in this state to establish stroke centers to ensure the rapid triage, diagnostic evaluation and treatment of patients suffering a stroke.

I and other legislators believe it is in the best interest of the citizens of this state to establish a program to certify acute care hospitals as primary stroke centers, and to establish specific criteria of patient care and support services that such stroke centers must maintain in order to ensure that stroke patients receive the best care.

Memorial Day appreciation

As I write this column we prepare for the Memorial Day weekend. This is a busy time with many picnics, youth sports, and most importantly, events to honor those who serve or have served our country in the military.
As a spouse of a veteran and member of the American Legion Auxiliary, I know firsthand the sacrifices our young men and women in the Armed Forces make for us each day. Not just over the holiday weekend, but year round, may we thank those who currently serve as well as our many Veterans for their loyalty to our country and for protecting our rights and freedom.