Governor Matt Mead joined the American Heart Association and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to announce a $7.1 million project to improve heart attack care in Wyoming. The project known as "Mission: Lifeline Wyoming" will fund efforts to close the gaps separating heart attack patients from timely access to care.
"Thanks to the $7.1 million in funding the American Heart Association will be able to get right to work putting in place elements needed to address heart attack response in a rural area," Governor Mead said. "This includes ambulance services attaining the equipment they need to better diagnose the most deadly heart attacks, training for EMS and hospital personnel and tracking data for quality improvement. Heart disease is the number one killer in America and in Wyoming. This initiative takes aim at that statistic and will have significant impact especially because it targets rural residents."
The Helmsley Charitable Trust contributed $5.9 million to this project. Additional support has been received from First Interstate Bank and The Wyoming Community Foundation's Working for Wyoming Fund. Stakeholders from across the state will be involved in the implementation of Mission: Lifeline Wyoming. This includes large and small hospitals, ambulance services and the Wyoming Department of Health.
"We know that in the case of Sudden Cardiac Arrest, for example, a victim's chance of survival decreases by 7 to 10 percent for every minute they go untreated. So, it is critical that care be provided immediately," said Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, National President of the American Heart Association. He is also a professor and director of the Division of Cardiology at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. "This program will help to make dramatic improvements in the system of care, reducing the amount of time it takes heart attack victims to receive the appropriate care. It will have an equally dramatic effect on survival rates."
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has invested $17.8 million in Wyoming health care through their Rural Healthcare Program. The program was established to address the health care needs in states like Wyoming, where access to care is challenging because residents are spread across a much wider geographic area. Other gifts went to cancer treatment in Sheridan, as well as telemedicine facilities in Gillette, Douglas, Thermopolis and Afton.