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North Dakota Stroke Registry "Money Well Spent"

October 13, 2010

FARGO, N. D. - Heart disease and stroke are the number one and number three killers of North Dakotans. In 2009, the North Dakota Legislature approved funding for the Stroke Registry, which aids all hospitals in looking at how to best meet stroke care needs.

Carrie Mcleod, who chairs the North Dakota State Advocacy Committee for the American Heart Association, says the state's investment to curtail heart attacks and stroke isn't much, compared to what it costs to treat it.

"Just using some 2003 Medicare data for individuals 65 and older, payments for heart disease and stroke, hospital discharges exceeded $61 million at that time – so we are looking at a small amount of funding to have the biggest impact."

She says the "Go Red" campaign, which began four years ago with private funding, has exceeded expectations.

"Sixty-seven percent of the individuals that were screened through 'Go Red' had two or more modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. So, we were able to enroll them in a lifestyle intervention program to help improve those risks."

Mcleod says in the upcoming legislative session, her group would like to see funding continue for the Stroke Registry, as well as additional funding to expand the Go Red program to include men as well as women. The request also includes funding for "Healthy School" coordinators.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND