February 22 marked an historic day in the SouthWest Affiliate and set a national precedent for the AHA. On the heels of unanimous passage from the New Mexico Legislature, Governor Susan Martinez signed House Bill 33 into law surrounded by 560 American Heart Association supporters at the Albuquerque Go Red For Women Luncheon.
House Bill 33 allows the state of New Mexico to officially recognize hospitals that meet national guidelines as Primary Stroke Centers. Primary Stroke Centers are critical because they can quickly diagnose and treat stroke victims, giving them the best chance of survival. When a stroke occurs, time lost is brain tissue lost, and Primary Stroke Centers ensure the best care is given in accordance with national standards. This bill encourages more hospitals to reach Primary Stroke Center certification and give more New Mexicans access to quality stroke care.
Before the bill signing, the Governor met privately with Albuquerque Circle of Red members. During lunch she spoke in support of the AHA and our mission by encouraging healthier living and relaying her own family’s history with CVD.
The SouthWest Affiliate is greatly appreciative of the Governor’s presence at the Albuquerque luncheon and strong commitment on this issue. We also thank the Co-Sponsors of this legislation: Representative Conrad James, who was also in attendance at the Luncheon, and Senator Howie Morales. This big win was the culmination of a lot of hard work of many volunteers, including Dr. David McCraney and Circle of Red Co-Chairs Kristie Bair and Melanie Burns.