Ohio Governor Signs Bill to Reduce Death and Disability Among Stroke Patients

Maria Enie, or 202-248-5454

Ohio Governor Signs Bill to Reduce Death and Disability Among Stroke Patients

Buckeye state to update stroke systems of care to help more patients survive and thrive

FAIRFAX, Va. — Today, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law “S.B. 21,” a measure that will improve how first responders triage stroke patients and transport them to care facilities designed to treat their particular kind of strokes. The Governor was joined for the signing ceremony by bill co-sponsors Senators Nickie Antonio and Nathan Manning, as well as stroke survivors and representatives from the Get Ahead of Stroke® campaign and the Ohio Ambulance and Medical Transportation Association.

With the changes proposed in the legislation, Ohioans will have a better chance of surviving stroke, reducing the immense costs for both the state and families associated with long-term health care that is needed following a debilitating stroke. The bill will take effect within 90 days.

“With severe strokes such as ELVOs, the clock is ticking,” said Dr. Shazam Hussain, director of the Cerebrovascular Center at Cleveland Clinic and member of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS). “Time wasted in transporting patients to a second or even third hospital is time — and brain cells — that can never be reclaimed. This legislation will help more Ohioans get to life-saving treatment the first time.”

The legislation requires the State Board of Emergency Medical, Fire and Transportation Services to develop guidelines for the assessment, triage and transport of stroke patients to hospitals by emergency medical service personnel — including patients experiencing a severe stroke known as emergent large vessel occlusion (ELVO). This is important because currently, the Ohio stroke system of care lacks protocols that would help ensure severe stroke patients get to a Level 1 stroke center — the most appropriate care facility equipped to treat this deadly type of stroke.

The law also requires that first responders receive training about how to properly triage stroke patients, including those experiencing ELVOs.

“As a 30-year-old stroke survivor, I know that seconds are everything when it comes to stroke survival and recovery,” said Ohio stroke survivor Jeri Ward. “Reducing the unnecessary travel time for stroke patients will be the difference in life, death and long-term disability. Today I am immeasurably proud of my state in signing Senate Bill 21 into law, and so grateful to have been a part of the process in telling my story to relate the importance of the legislation.”

Stroke is a leading cause of death in Ohio. Growing research shows, however, that severe stroke patients’ outcomes can be significantly improved when they receive thrombectomy — a minimally invasive procedure that removes clots in the brain quickly and restores blood flow. This law will provide patients more direct access to that life-saving treatment.

“We commend Senators Antonio and Manning, along with their colleagues, for their bipartisan leadership in passing this important legislation,” said Dr. William Mack, a stroke surgeon and president of SNIS.

Similar measures have recently passed in Tennessee and Florida, along with positive regulatory changes in Colorado and Arizona. The Get Ahead of Stroke® campaign is currently supporting similar policy changes in Massachusetts, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

To speak with Drs. Mack or Hussain, please contact Maria Enie at or 202-248-5454.

Get Ahead of Stroke® is a national public education and advocacy campaign designed to improve systems of care for stroke patients. Founded in 2016 by the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS), today the campaign is supported by a coalition of organizations with the goal of securing the best possible outcomes for stroke patients by driving policy change and public awareness nationwide.