WASHINGTON, DC--The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-76), signed into law in January, includes appropriations of $3.364 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices (AED) Program. While this is less than the $5 million championed by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and allocated in the Senate version of the bill in July 2013, the compromise funding represents a 43 percent increase over current funding. The program provides grants for automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in rural communities.

The Ad Hoc Coalition to Save Lives through Public Access to Defibrillation, spearheaded by the American Heart Association, advocated for the funding increase. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is a member of the Coalition.

"I appreciate Senator Tom Harkin’s efforts in fighting for funding for this program when the past two Presidents have attempted to cut it out of the budget," said H.R. (Butch) Gibbs, from Humeston, Iowa, who survived sudden cardiac arrest nearly 10 years ago thanks to the rural AED program.

"In the first year of this program, our local EMS group received an AED with this grant and two lives were saved in the first 11 months, including mine. Senator Harkin will retire from the U.S. Senate at the completion of his current term. I salute his looking out for the rural areas of Iowa and the nation. He started out in rural Iowa and never forgot his roots. With his tremendous help, he is giving other Iowans and Americans the same chance to live that I had."

The number of grants that will be awarded in 2014 has not yet been announced.

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