Mission Lifeline’s Newest State: Iowa

The Helmsley Charitable Trust (HCT) has been giving generously to outfit ambulances with EKG machines through its Mission: Lifeline program, which began in 2010. Its goal is to cut mortality rates for patients experiencing an ST-elevated myocardial infarction, or STEMI—an especially deadly type of heart attack. It gave big to establish programs in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming, and then, in March 2013, it was $8.5 million to establish the program in Minnesota. In 2014, it was $4.1 million for Nebraska in January, and $4.6 million for Montana in February.  

And now, Iowa, to the tune of $4.6 million. It makes lots of sense that Helmsley is focused on STEMIs. During one, blood supply is completely obstructed, and, deprived of oxygen, the heart muscle tissue dies off rapidly as a result. Studies estimate that two-thirds of STEMI sufferers don’t receive adequate emergency care, and the numbers are even more troubling in rural areas.

All this dovetails nicely with the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s foundation goals and focus: It likes funding projects in the upper Midwest, and it loves technology-based approaches to health problems. It's precisely the sort of thing Helmsley wants to put its name and its money behind: improving STEMI patients’ outcomes by outfitting ambulances with electrocardiograms at $25,000 a pop so the emergency care team can communicate a patient’s condition directly to the hospital upon arrival.