"The Heart of the Matter"

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Transcripts: 499.1 & 499.2

Week: 499.1 Guest: Frederick Ruof Topic: NEMA Grants - Part One Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is the first half of a conversation with Frederick Ruof, president of the National Emergency Medicine Association on NEMA's grant program, both past and future.

NEMA: Mr. Ruof, what is NEMA's overall mission and how does its granting program fit into that mission?

RUOF: Richard, NEMA's mission is straightforward. We exist to see that people all over this country get rapid and good health care in emergency events. In other words, we foster the delivery of quality emergency medical treatment in the nation's hospitals and in the emergency rooms throughout the country.

NEMA: What grants has NEMA recently awarded and what are they meant to accomplish?

RUOF: This year's been a banner year for us. We've awarded so far 22 grants and before the year's out, I rather suspect we'll award some more. The grant that excites me most right now and we just awarded it two weeks ago is the grant we're giving to the USS Sanctuary. That's a hospital ship in permanent dock in Baltimore. It will serve the poor, dispossessed with primary health care but it will serve as well, it will have a 90 day rehab program for people in chemical addiction, drugs and alcoholism and what excites me about this program, it will be treating the whole person - the body, mind, heart, soul with the hope that these dispossessed addicted people will, when it's all over - the 90 days - find new jobs and hopefully new living situations.

NEMA: Do you find grant making a very satisfying experience?

RUOF: Come on. Everybody likes to be Santa Claus. Yeah. I love it. It's nice to wake up in the morning and to know that people are alive and enjoying life because of our work, our grant work as such and our education programs - yeah - it's a happy way to earn a living.

NEMA: Over the history of NEMA, do you have certain grants that really stand out in your mind that you celebrate?

RUOF: I brag at the drop of a hat about the grant that we gave to St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore about eight or nine years ago. Dr. Bahr and his staff there developed a program of rapid and thorough treatment of suspected heart attack patients as soon as they come through the hospital doors and we know we've saved countless lives in the Baltimore area in the past eight years and that's a success story in itself but the best part of the story, the rest of the story, if you will, is that we insisted when we gave St. Agnes that money, we asked them to take this program and to export it if they could to the nation at large and to date we have 293 hospitals all over the country emulating the St. Agnes rapid response to heart attack program and more than that, I think the latest figure is from 263 hospitals plan to open. We're coming up close on 600 hospitals from one grant and I'll tell you - that's satisfying.

NEMA: Is there such a thing as a grant that you would take back?

RUOF: We don't set out to take grants back but now and again we'll do a spot check to see whether the grant money was spent as we had authorized it. The answer to the question is yes.

NEMA: Join me for the second half of my conversation with Frederick Ruof on NEMA grants.


Week: 499.2 Guest: Frederick Ruof Topic: NEMA Grants - Part Two Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is the second half of a conversation with National Emergency Medicine Association president Frederick Ruof on the NEMA grant program. I asked Mr. Ruof how NEMA monitors grant recipients.

RUOF: When we award the grant, we insist on several things. Number one, we ask for a six month report, then a twelve month report and that covers most grants. If it's an ongoing grant, of course it reports for as long as the grant is operative, every six months.

NEMA: How and where does NEMA find the dollars to give away?

RUOF: We live in a generous country and most of our dollars come from people like you and me who give us $10, $25 at a time so our mail program is the biggest source of our income although increasingly people are remembering us in their wills so we must be doing something right.

NEMA: How does an organization qualify for a NEMA grant?

RUOF: An organization has to have a dream or be actually doing important things that deal with one aspect or another of emergency medicine. At present, we are highlighting grants on coronary issues and stroke issues and I'll tell you why we're doing that. Heart attack, or a suspected heart attack, is still the number one reason throughout the nation why people dial emergency 911 so there's where we put most of our emergency dollars, into the heart and stroke area.

NEMA: How much of the United States at this point is adequately covered by 911?

RUOF: I haven't seen the most recent figures I'm embarrassed to admit, but as recently as a year or two ago, only four states had comprehensive coverage, had a 911 system and approximately 60% of our urban areas had a 911 system. If you live in the rural areas, you're still apt not have a same number. It might be just zero. You never know what you're going to run into.

NEMA: To mention a subject near and dear to my own heart, The Heart of the Matter, is The Heart of the Matter a grant?

RUOF: Yeah, it is in the broad sense. I like to think of The Heart of the Matter, our health program of course, as a grant to everyone of America's people. Right now The Heart of the Matter has the ability to reach 24% of Americans every day. In fact, we just added three new stations this morning, this week I should say so we can reach through the stations that carry our program 60-65 million people every day so we feel pretty good about that. Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty nice grant or a gift to every one of our friends and neighbors.

NEMA: And how about just a sample of some of your future plans in terms of where you hope to put some grant money. RUOF: We're going to keep putting money into heart and stroke issues because that's what people give most of their money for so we have to honor that but we're looking for moneys, dollars to do something about the increasing multiple emergencies in our cities, not just health emergencies but education, employment emergencies and so forth. I think of these things when they're neglected as the seed bed of emergencies. They're the quiet emergencies. Unless we take care of these quiet emergencies, it's only a matter of time before they become screaming siren emergencies.


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