Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program - Emergency Medical Services Supplement: Committed to the Heart Initiative

  • Scott, Ernie (PI)
  • Combs, Kayla (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


The Kentucky Office of Rural Health’s proposed “Committed to the Heart” initiative was developed in response to the 2019 Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex) - Emergency Medical Services Supplement funding announcement. (Funding Opportunity Number: HRSA-19-095 CFDA Number: 93.241). The overarching goal of the project is to make noticeable improvements in the ability of rural Kentuckians to achieve access to quality emergency medical care by implementing a demonstration project focusing on data collection and reporting for a set of rural-relevant EMS quality measures. This project specifically focuses on improving out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest survival rates among those rural counties served by one of the state’s 27 designated rural Critical Access Hospitals. Central to the initiative is the phased rollout of CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival). CARES was developed to help communities determine outcome measures for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, allowing for quality improvement efforts and benchmarking capabilities to improve care and increase survival. CARES is a secure, web-based data management system in which data can be compared at the local, state and national level in order to discover promising practices that could contribute to improved emergency cardiac care. A related emphasis on bystander CPR training at the community level as well as AED registry promotion among the targeted communities should prove advantageous to meeting programmatic goals. It is no secret that sudden cardiac arrest is among the leading killers of Americans, claiming an estimated 350,000 people each year. More people die of sudden cardiac arrest than breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancer combined. More than 90 percent of people who experience sudden cardiac arrest will die, representing a national survival rate that has not significantly changed in more than 30 years. Kentucky is no exception. Year in and year out, Kentucky has been plagued with some of the worst cardiovascular disease statistics and mortality rates in the nation. This holds especially true for those calling rural home. The proposed “Committed to the Heart” initiative is focused on developing and expanding out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest response systems by coordinating measurement, providing education and training at both the community and health professional level as well as through the application of evidence-based best practices. Impact will be experienced throughout rural communities and include general public, first responders, EMS agencies and hospital personnel. Proposed partners for the project include the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS), Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA), Kentucky Rural Health Association (KRHA), Kentucky Ambulance Providers Association (KAPA), American Heart Association, as well as other rural health stakeholders based on need and interest.
Effective start/end date9/1/198/31/20


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