The legislature intends to understand how current cardiac and stroke systems of care are functioning to impact health. Heart disease and stroke continue to be the leading cause of mortality in Washington state, responsible for approximately 15,000 deaths annually which is more than a quarter of all deaths in the state. A rigorous and systematic statewide assessment of care and outcomes will identify gaps in system performance and opportunities to target improvements that can save additional lives and decrease disability for all Washingtonians.
The legislature finds that the department of health in collaboration with prehospital and hospital stakeholders has developed important data platforms that have the potential to measure prehospital and hospital care across health care systems. In order for these platforms to deliver on their public health potential, they require statewide coordination and oversight, robust linkage across stakeholder registries, and rigorous analysis to effectively identify and address gaps in care for cardiac and stroke emergencies. In response, the legislature intends to direct an evaluation that will inform the optimal statewide strategy to improve cardiac and stroke emergency care. The evaluation will inform the legislature on the gaps in the current cardiac and stroke system and what is required to strengthen this system.
The department of health must, subject to amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, contract with an independent party for an evaluation of the state's current system response for cardiac and stroke emergencies and provide recommendations to the legislature for ways in which the current response might be improved. The evaluation must contain at a minimum, the following:
An assessment of the existing system of care for cardiac and stroke care delivery, taking into consideration a review of the emergency medical system, its current gaps in resources such as equipment and training for emergency medical service providers, and hospital and system capacity including treatment resource availability with particular attention to critical access and rural hospitals;
An analysis of the current state of quality data collection, its deficiencies, the reasons for the deficiencies and the feasibility and value of registries to monitor and improve cardiac and stroke care and outcomes, including identifying beneficial data linkages and interoperability;
An analysis of potential benefits of establishing a statewide cardiac and stroke steering committee to monitor the provision of cardiac and stroke care and prioritize improvement initiatives; and
Recommendations to support a cardiac and stroke care system for Washington state.
In leading the study, the department of health must seek input and guidance from representatives of the following:
a. A statewide medical association; b. A statewide organization of emergency physicians; c. A statewide hospital association; d. A representative of critical access hospitals; e. A statewide for-profit ambulance association; f. A statewide public emergency medical response organization; g. County and city governments actively engaged in providing emergency response; h. The American heart association; and i. The emergency cardiac and stroke technical advisory committee.
The department of health must provide a report on the findings and recommendations from the evaluation under section 2 of this act to the legislature by October 1, 2023.