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Minnesota Legislature

Prevention for heart disease, strokes

Published (3/6/2009)
By Sue Hegarty
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Proponents for the prevention of heart disease and strokes are requesting $500,000 to fund data collection and other activities associated with such medical conditions.

HF499, sponsored by Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul), was laid over March 4 for possible inclusion in the House Housing Finance and Policy and Public Health Finance Division’s omnibus bill.

The bill raised questions with members and one testifier who believe there could be Data Practices Act issues. Murphy said there would be no personal identifiable collection of patient information. Data collected would be used to monitor and improve cardiovascular health through targeted prevention programs.

Rep. Dan Severson (R-Sauk Rapids) questioned the need and timing for the appropriation since other state health prevention programs overlap and there are General Fund deficit problems.

Dr. Russell Luepker, a University of Minnesota public health professor and 30-year American Heart Association volunteer, testified that the program would pay for itself if it can prevent nine people from experiencing a stroke or heart attack, and their subsequent hospitalization costs.

Also, the funds would be a needed match to acquire a federal grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A companion, SF432, sponsored by Sen. Ann Lynch (DFL-Rochester), rests with the Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division.

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