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Siouxlanders meet with Iowa lawmakers regarding stroke care

Currently in the state of Iowa, a stroke is not considered a brain injury or a reportable disease.

However, a group of Stateliners took to the Iowa capitol to change that.

Several weeks ago, members of the Siouxland Stroke Support Network traveled to Des Moines to make changes to stroke care across the state of Iowa.

They had one main goal in mind.

"To try and make stroke a brain injury and a reportable disease in the state of Iowa," said Nicole Shea, Stroke Program Manager at Mercy Medical Center. "Because it's not a brain injury and not a reportable disease in the state of Iowa, not every hospital in the state has to adhere to a standard of care."

Twelve people from the network, including local survivors Contessa Siders and Michelle Gehrke-Herwynen, went to Des Moines. The two credit the care they received following their stroke as the reason they recovered.

"I can drive, so that is a huge difference," said Siders. "I never lost my license."

"The hospitals have been great with cares and therapies," said Gehrke-Herwynen. "It just makes me feel a whole lot better that they're looking out for my well-being."

Some hospitals are limited to the length of time they can administer care, so this network feels the need to make these changes.

"This is really the first time that survivors have gone and actually talked to legislators, and it made a huge impact, so we are closer now to legislation than we've been in the three years I've been in my position," said Shea.

Shea also mentioned progress is already being made in Des Moines, as two representatives are drafting bills to help with stroke care.

They will be going back to Des Moines in March to speak further with lawmakers.

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