June 7, 2006 - HUMESTON, IA - The Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations subcommittee has earmarked $1.5 million for Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices Grant Program, "rejecting efforts of the Administration to terminate the initiative." The program provides funding to rural communities to purchase automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and provide training in their use. The appropriation level is substantially lower than amounts allocated in the past and a disappointment to emergency cardiovascular care advocates. The funding level in FY 2005 was $8.927 million.
Many cases of survival have been attributed to this initiative. In Humeston, Iowa, for example, Howard “Butch” Gibb, a first responder, saved the life of Don Greenlee with an AED acquired through the grant program. Some time later, Butch himself went into cardiac arrest and his wife Susie gave him CPR and used the same AED to save his life.
The Ad Hoc Coalition to Save Lives Through Public Access to Defibrillation, spearheaded by the American Heart Association, urges the public to contact their senators to have funding restored to previous levels. The SCA Foundation is a member of this Coalition.
For information about the Rural Access to Emergency Devices Act, visit http://grants.hrsa.gov. To apply for a grant go to http://www.grants.gov Applications are due by June 26, 2006, at 5:00 pm Eastern.