Better Stroke Care and Prevention
What is the issue?
Every year, about 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke. Over 167,000 die. Neurologists play a central role in the diagnosis, care and treatment of stroke patients. It is essential that policymakers recognize the role of quality neurological care in providing the best outcomes for stroke patients.
Why is it important?
Stroke is a public-health emergency that requires immediate attention:
- Stroke is the nation's No. 3 killer and costs America over $56 billion in 2005.
- Today, 4.8 million Americans are stroke survivors. As many as 30 percent of them are permanently disabled, requiring extensive and costly care.
- Racial disparities in stroke outcomes are prevalent. African Americans have approximately twice the stroke mortality rate of Caucasians, according to the Stroke Prevention/Intervention Research Program (SPIRP).
What is the Academy's position?
The AAN Professional Association (Academy) advocates for policy measures that promote the highest quality, safety and cost-effectiveness in the performance of stroke care. Stroke advocates should ask policymakers to support:
- More specialized stroke care, especially including the development of primary stroke centers at the state level.
- Research funding for stroke prevention and treatment, including exploration into the causes of geographic and racial disparities in stroke care.
- Reevaluation of reimbursement practices for stroke care (in particular on-call reimbursement for neurologists) to promote specialized care.
- Public awareness campaigns regarding stroke diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.
- Public and professional education regarding stroke as a medical emergency.
- Expanded health IT to support data collection, research and sharing of best practices.
What can you do to help?
The Academy has developed an advocacy toolkit (to the right) to help you advocate on this important issue.