(BIVN) – A bill that would help Hilo Medical Center provide the interventional care needed for patients suffering from a heart attack, rather than airlifting them to an Oʻahu hospital, is advancing at the state legislature.
SB 911 has already passed through the State Senate and is now with the House of Representatives.
The bill states that “while there are barriers to offering interventional cardiology for heart attack treatment to Hawaii county residents, Hilo medical center has reduced many of these barriers through the acquisition and installation of cardiac imaging equipment and software, as well as establishing cardiology clinic infrastructure designed for up to three cardiologists and supporting providers. Because cardiac interventions are complicated procedures, it is important that Hilo medical center receives support to expand its offering of interventional cardiology for heart attack treatment, and thereby continue to save lives and improve the quality of life for cardiac patients.”
The House Committee on Health held a hearing on the bill on March 19.
One of the testifiers who traveled to Oʻahu from Hawaiʻi Island to testify was Rebecca Moore, the Stroke and STEMI coordinator for Hilo Medical Center. What she said mirrored what was stated in her written testimony:
Seven years ago I began my nursing journey at HMC on the Stroke and Heart attack unit known as the Progressive Care unit. My goal was once to be the Stroke Coordinator and I was honored with that privilege along with the cardiovascular program responsibilities 14 months ago.
In my occupation time and time again i have had to administer the lifesaving medication called TNK, which is a clot busting medication for those who are experiencing a heart attack. Time and time again I’ve had to tell patients and families to be optimistic, stay positive and pray as we wait hours for the flight team to show up or even hours or days just to receive a bed at a higher level of care facility, which goes against every nursing oath I’ve ever taken, to do no harm to our patients but doing so because we are unable to provide 24 hour cardiac interventions.
I’ve had to watch children say their last goodbyes to their parents who are experiencing a heart attack because they knew their parent would not survive and are too unstable to make the flight. Often times patients have to face the unknown alone due to their families’ financial constraints of the cost of flying, hotel and car cost all the while taking time off from work.
I come before you today as a Registered Nurse, a community member and a person who has family risk factors for heart attack I am pleading with you to help me help my patients to receive treatment in their community, to stay in their community and to return to their community.
My communities’ future is relying on your support of SB911.
The House Health Committee recommended the measure be passed, and the bill next goes before the Finance Committee.