Washington, D.C. – On October 30, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced $11.9 million in Federal grants to states to buy automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) and train emergency personnel in rural areas in their proper use. The grants are part of the Rural Access to Emergency Devices Grant program that the NVFC strongly supported.
AEDs are lightweight, portable devices that provide an electrical shock capable of restoring the normal heart rhythm of cardiac arrest victims, greatly improving chances of survival until they reach a hospital.
According to the American Heart Association, every minute that passes after a cardiac arrest, a person’s chance of surviving decreases by 10%. Cardiac arrest takes a tremendous toll on the American public; each year, it kills over 220,000 people. Few communities, however, have programs to make emergency defibrillation widely accessible to cardiac arrest victims. Those that do have achieved average survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest as high as 50 percent.
The grants are administered by the Office of Rural Health Policy in HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). (On the Web at: www.ruralhealth.hrsa.gov)
A complete list of agencies/organizations that received funding via this program is available at http://www.nvfc.org/news/hn_hhs_grantees.html.