Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation Urges Citizens to Contact Their Legislators
Funding for the Rural Access to Emergency Devices (RAED) Grant Program has been excluded from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) FY 2012 budget, according to HRSA’s newly released “Congressional Justification for the Health Resources and Services Administration.” This is a decrease of $2.5 million from FY 2010.
The RAED Grant Program, which began in 2002, provides funds to community partnerships, which then purchase and distribute automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be placed in rural communities to treat victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA is a leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting 295,000 Americans each year. On average, only 7-8% survive. In communities that have rapid access to AEDs, the survival rate is 38%.
The RAED grants also provide training in the use of AEDs by emergency first responders. In FY 2007, HRSA allocated $1.2 million for the program, enabling the purchase of 675 AEDs and training for 2,000 people. In FY 2008, the same amount was allocated, 700 AEDs were purchased, and 2,100 people were trained. In FY 2009, funding was reduced to about $1 million. In FY 2010, 800 AEDs were placed in rural communities. Since the RAED Grant Program was authorized in FY 2002, approximately $32 million has been invested in rural communities to purchase and place AEDs and train providers in their use.
According to HRSA, "The discontinuation of funding for RAED reflects a reprioritization of funds to other activities within the Office of Rural Health Policy." HRSA’s 2010-2015 strategic plan focuses on “equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce, and innovative programs.” HRSA's current funding priorities are programs and services that focus on health insurance, underserved Americans who live in rural and poor urban neighborhoods, healthcare for African American infants, HIV/AIDS, and organ transplants.
Activities related to access to emergency medical devices and training in FY 2012 may be addressed through other funding sources available to grantees such as the Rural Outreach and Rural Network Development programs, HRSA advises.
“It would be unfortunate if the Rural Access to Emergency Devices program is cut,” said Norman S. Abramson, MD, FACEP, FCCM, of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. “To optimize survival from sudden cardiac arrest, victims should be treated with defibrillation within three to five minutes. Emergency medical services in rural areas are often unable to respond that quickly. Elimination of this program will reduce access to AEDs and likely increase the mortality rate in rural communities across the nation,” he said. “We urge HRSA to restore funding for this live-saving program.”
For more information, click here and see pages 329-330.
Call to Action
“The Rural Access to Emergency Medical Devices program provided an AED to our small Iowa community that ultimately saved my life," said SCA survivor, Butch Gibbs, of Humeston. "We are 20-25 minutes away from the arrival of EMS. If our local first responder unit did not have this lifesaving device, I would not be alive today. What's more, I was the second person saved by the AED in its first year of use.”
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation urges you to contact Congress to ask that funding for the RAED program be restored. To contact your legislators, click here.
Current RAED Funding Deadline is February 28
Funding is still available through the FY 2011 RAED Program, but hurry. The deadline to submit grant applications is February 28, 2011, at 8:00 PM EST. Applications must be submitted through www.grants.gov. To be eligible to apply, your organization must have a DUNS number and a CCR number, which can take several days to secure. For details, please see attachment.