Cardiovascular disease, including stroke, is one of the nation’s leading causes of death and disability. Prompt recognition, evaluation and treatment can lead to improved recovery outcomes and quality of life. TeleStroke has allowed hospitals without the necessary expertise to get quick patient care at any time and through different media sources such as smart phones, tablets and video conferencing software.
Looking for ways to expand this type of access to more patients, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) doctors have joined to support the FAST (Further Access to Stroke Telemedicine) Act, which was introduced by Senator Mark Kirk. This bill will “amend title XVIII of the Social security act to expand access of stroke and telehealth services under the Medicare program”. Among the experts involved, Lee Schwamm, MD, who is the vice chairman of the Department of Neurology and the director of TeleStroke and Acute stroke services in MGH, testified via teleconferencing before the U.S. Senate.
Director of the TeleStroke program at MGH, Juan Estrada, stated that the “lack of reimbursement is a major barrier to the development of TelesSroke programs” and that with these reimbursements hospitals are unable to participate in 24/7 stroke care will be able to engage a TeleStroke program as an affordable solution.
Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2015;131:e29–322.