New bill promises better stroke care in Tennessee

In this Jan 30, 2014, file photo, state Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, discusses his bill to allow supermarket wine sales during a Senate floor session in Nashville, Tenn.

Transporting stroke patients to the proper hospital - not necessarily the closest - is the rationale behind a bill recently passed by the Tennessee General Assembly.

Pending Gov. Bill Haslam's approval, the bill would establish procedures for emergency medical services to identify and quickly transport severe stroke patients to the facility best equipped to treat them.

"This legislation is the next step forward in creating a comprehensive stroke system of care throughout the state," the bill's primary sponsor, Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, said in a statement. "This will ensure stroke patients get to the best stroke center as quickly as possible, and it brings Tennessee one step closer to improving stroke care."

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the No. 1 cause of disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association's website.