SB 1460 sponsored by Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) passed through the Florida Legislature this week and is heading to Governor DeSantis’s desk for signing. The bill contains measures to improve first responders’ access to hospitals that provide thrombectomy – a procedure that helps reduce disability and death, as well as lower the immense costs associated with long-term health care.
“In stroke care, minutes, if not seconds, count,” says Senator Book. “This legislation ensures that all Floridians have access to the latest innovations in the treatment of stroke, leading to better health outcomes and increased quality of life. I am honored to be a champion for stroke patients in Florida.”
Stroke is a leading cause of death in Florida. Growing research shows, however, that severe stroke patients’ outcomes can be significantly improved when they receive thrombectomy — a procedure that removes clots in the brain and restores blood flow. The new bill requires thrombectomy-capable stroke centers to provide location information to the statewide stroke registry, as well as requires Florida’s Department of Health to send a list of thrombectomy-capable stroke centers to EMS.
“If someone in my family suffered a stroke, I would want them to have access to the best practices and procedures so this event is as least life-altering as possible,” says Representative Scott Plakon (R-Longwood). “This bill will save lives.”
“This legislation will help ensure that every stroke patient in Florida — not just the lucky ones — are taken directly to the stroke center best equipped to treat them. Because of these changes, we will see more patients survive and thrive after stroke,” says Dr. Guilherme Dabus, an interventional neuroradiologist in Miami.
Following the passage of a resolution in Virginia in February of this year, Florida joins a growing number of states across the country that are adopting changes in stroke care protocols. Both Ohio and Tennessee have passed bills improving the way first responders triage and transport severe stroke patients. In 2017, a stroke resolution was unanimously passed by the Colorado Legislature, and Arizona updated its state protocols.