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Expanding Cardiac-Ready Communities in North Dakota

A bill in the North Dakota Legislature would help communities become "Cardiac Ready." (american heart association)
A bill in the North Dakota Legislature would help communities become "Cardiac Ready." (american heart association)
February 13, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. -- A number of towns in North Dakota are taking steps to become "Cardiac Ready" communities, and a bill in the Legislature would set up a grant program to assist them.

Dr. Jeff Sather, Medical Director of the Emergency Trauma Center at Trinity Health in Minot, said the program helps communities set up their own rapid responses.

"We do that by educating the community,” Sather said, "training them in CPR, establishing defibrillators - the automatic defibrillators - at key points in the community with the lay people in the community trained to use them."

So far, there is one pilot community, Powers Lake, that has been designated "Cardiac Ready," and 10 communities have submitted letters of intent.

Sather said it takes some initiative on the part of those communities to move toward a "Cardiac Ready” designation through the program.

"We need leadership, and depending on the community, they can set that up how they want to. If they have medical people such as hospital or ambulance service, certainly they are key players,” he said. "Also, Chamber of Commerce, church groups, civic organizations, all of that can be involved in that leadership in the community."

Progress has been made in recognizing and treating heart disease, Sather said. And he expects more with the "Cardiac Ready" program.

"I expect, even in our rural states - in North Dakota - we will see within a few years heart disease may not be the number one killer anymore,” he said, "because we are making such great strides in reducing deaths from cardiac disease."

House bill 1210, which would create an advisory committee, including the American Heart Association, has passed in the House, and is awaiting action in the Senate.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - ND