Inside Kentucky Health

Lawmakers in Frankfort have an opportunity to pass a piece of legislation this session that could save thousands of lives .

cpr-300The American Heart Association and other health organizations are supporting a “CPR in Schools” bill to ensure that students across the Commonwealth learn the lifesaving skill of basic CPR.

“In just a few years we could have hundreds of thousands of young adults who know how to respond in a cardiac emergency, bringing these skills into our companies and neighborhoods,” said Tonya Chang, Senior Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association. “Once passed, Senate Bill 33 will save countless lives across the Commonwealth, but to do so we need the community’s support to help our legislators understand the need for this law.”

The Senate bill, introduced Jan. 13, has bipartisan support. Among its supporters are Republican Julie Raque Adams and Democrat Perry Clark, both of Louisville.

Similar laws have already passed in 27 states, according to the American Heart Association, ensuring that 1.6 million students in the U.S. learn how to respond in a cardiac emergency.

If passed, Kentucky students in grades 7-12 would take a multi-hour or all-day CPR training class sometime during their public school education. A basic training can be done in about 30 minutes, less than most class periods.

The American Heart Association believes that having a population trained in CPR will save lives. According to the AHA, only 10 percent of the 326,000 people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive, but “hands-only bystander CPR” can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. Also, survival rates fall dramatically after five minutes of cardiac arrest if CPR is not administered.

cpr-300BThe AHA is appealing to medical professionals and citizens throughout Kentucky to support the legislation, asking people to go online to www.yourethecure.org to sign up. The AHA is also encouraged people to call their representatives in Frankfort to show their support of the “CPR in Schools” initiative.

And on Feb. 9, the AHA will have its annual “Lobby Day” in Frankfort, where advocates of the bill can meet with legislators to encourage passage of the CPR bill and other health initiatives. For more information on Lobby Day, visit www.bitly.com/KYAdvocacyDay.

Health Reports
Passport Health Plan is a provider-sponsored, non-profit, community-based health plan administering Medicaid benefits to more than 310,000 Kentuckians. Passport has been contracted with the Commonwealth of Kentucky to administer Medicaid benefits since 1997. For more information, call (800) 578-0603 or go online to www.passporthealthplan.com.