SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 51K the following 3 sections:-
Section 51L. The department shall designate a hospital as an acute stroke ready hospital, a primary stroke center or a comprehensive stroke center if: (i) the hospital has applied to the department for a designation; and (ii) the hospital has been certified by The Joint Commission, the American Heart Association or any other department-approved, nationally-recognized certifying body as an acute stroke ready hospital, primary stroke center or comprehensive stroke center.
Section 51M. The department and regional EMS councils as defined in section 1 of chapter 111C shall establish prehospital care protocols related to the assessment, treatment, transport and rerouting of stroke patients by licensed emergency medical services providers to acute stroke ready hospitals, primary stroke centers and comprehensive stroke centers. The protocols shall include plans for the triage and transport of suspected stroke patients including, but not limited to, those patients who may have an emergent large vessel occlusion, to an appropriate facility within a specified timeframe of onset of symptoms. The protocols shall also include any additional criteria necessary to determine the level of care that is the most appropriate for suspected stroke patients. The protocols shall be based on nationally-recognized guidelines for the transport of acute stroke patients. The protocols shall also consider the capability of an emergency receiving facility to improve outcomes for those patients suspected, based on clinical severity, of having an emergent large vessel occlusion. Each regional EMS council shall establish a prehospital point of entry plan for stroke-related patients for their own respective region.
The department shall: (i) make available the list of designated stroke centers, including the identification of hospitals with continuous neurointerventional coverage, to the medical director of each licensed emergency medical services provider; (ii) maintain a copy of the list in the office designated within the department to oversee emergency medical services; and (iii) post a list of all designated stroke centers and the level of care to the department website. The department shall update the list of designated stroke centers at least annually.
Section 51N. The department shall establish and maintain a data oversight process to improve the quality of care for stroke patients. The process shall include a stroke registry database that compiles information and statistics on stroke care that align with nationally-recognized stroke measures.
A hospital designated by the department as an acute stroke ready hospital, a primary stroke center or a comprehensive stroke center shall utilize a nationally-recognized data platform to collect the stroke data set that shall be required by the department. The data elements shall be collected through the data registry platform and transmitted to the department for inclusion in the stroke registry.
The department shall convene a group of experts including, but not limited to, a representative from the American Stroke Association, a representative from The Massachusetts Neurologic Association, Inc., a representative from Society of Neurointerventional Surgery, a representative from Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, Inc., a representative from Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians, Inc. and a representative of a regional EMS council, with input from key stroke stakeholders and professional societies, to form a stroke advisory taskforce that shall assist with data oversight, program management and advice regarding the stroke system of care. The task force shall meet not less than quarterly to review data and provide advice.
SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, until hospitals have been designated pursuant to section 51L of chapter 111 of the General Laws, the department of public health shall designate primary stroke service hospitals as acute stroke ready hospitals capable of providing care previously designated in regulations as primary stroke service care.
At the time that the department begins the designation of 3 tiers of stroke facilities pursuant to said section 51L of said chapter 111, hospitals may maintain primary stroke service designation utilizing the existing processes and criteria for a 6-month period. At the time that the department begins the designation process, primary stroke service hospitals shall be recognized as acute stroke ready hospitals. After the department has begun the designation process, all primary stroke service hospitals shall be considered acute stroke ready hospitals, regardless of additional capacity, until they receive a higher designation of primary stroke center or comprehensive stroke center.
SECTION 3. The department shall designate hospitals pursuant to section 51L of chapter 111 of the General Laws not later than 180 days after the effective date of this act.
SECTION 4. The department shall establish protocols pursuant to section 51M of chapter 111 of the General Laws not later than 90 days after the effective date of this act.
SECTION 5. The department shall establish the data oversight process pursuant to section 51N of chapter 111 of the General Laws not later than 180 days after the effective date of this act.
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