Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2015

Contact Taylor Gage, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1970
Leah Bucco-White, DHHS, 402-471-9356

Lt. Governor Foley Announces $6 Million Grant
to Help Save the Lives of Nebraskans

Lincoln— Today, Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley announced that Nebraska received a grant of almost $6 million from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. This three-year grant will be used to purchase lifesaving equipment for ambulances and hospitals to increase the chances of survival for Nebraskans having a heart attack.

“This grant represents another significant investment in Nebraska’s cardiac care system,” said Lieutenant Governor Foley. “It will help provide more EMS services and hospitals especially in Nebraska’s rural communities with the resources they need to embrace existing technology and improve cardiac patient care.”

“Seconds count when someone is having a heart attack and timely care and treatment can mean the difference between life and death. With advanced equipment and strong cardiac care systems in place, more lives can be saved,” said Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Approximately 360 ambulance services and 80 hospitals in Nebraska will receive the Physio-Control  LUCAS® 2 chest compression system. LUCAS 2 is an external, mechanical device that provides automated chest compressions to an adult in cardiac arrest. The device is a consistent and effective way to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). LUCAS 2 is designed for use by first responders and hospital personnel and it enhances opportunities to improve outcomes for heart attack patients.

DHHS’ Emergency Medical Services program will help coordinate purchase and distribution of the devices as well as the appropriate training.

Today’s grant enhances existing cardiac care efforts and continues to build on the good work already being done in Nebraska.

In 2013, the state Legislature appropriated $150,000 which helped move Nebraska’s cardiac care systems ahead. The funds were used to purchase or upgrade electrocardiogram devices for ambulance services. The devices monitor and identify problems with the heart and increase communication between EMS providers and hospitals when a person is having a heart attack.

In 2014, a $4.1 million Helmsley Charitable Trust initiative, Mission: Lifeline, was announced in Nebraska. The American Heart Association Midwest Affiliate who is leading the initiative partnered with the Helmsley Charitable Trust and DHHS along with Nebraska hospitals and EMS services across the state to provide important training and equipment.

Just over 500 Nebraskans died from heart attacks last year. Cardiac care systems speed up the process which in turn increases chances of survival, achieves better outcomes, and enhances life expectancy.

About the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in a variety of selected areas. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grant making, it has committed more than $1.4 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. The Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $250 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. For more information on the Trust and its programs, please visit