Heart on the Hill- May 2013


Heart on the Hill Header
MAY 2013


Advocates Rally in D.C.
You're the Cure on the Hill 2013 brought 300 advocates to Washington, D.C. on April 9 to urge Congress to restore and protect funding for National Institutes of Health and support a Million Hearts high blood pressure campaign. The diverse group of advocates included survivors, researchers, caregivers, young people and medical professional representing 43 states. 
  
Additionally, AHA was proud to participate in the National Rally for Medical Research held in Washington, D.C. on April 8th. An estimated 3,000 researchers, patients, and medical professionals took part in the rally to show their support for a continued investment in NIH research. The event program featured two YTC survivor advocates as speakers

For more on Lobby Day, visit www.yourethecure.org 
 
Contact: Clarissa Garcia, clarissa.garcia@heart.org  




AHA Predicts Heart Failure Costs Will Double
A new AHA policy statement, "Forecasting the Impact of Heart Failure in the United States" predicts that the number of people with heart failure could climb 46 percent from 5 million in 2012 to 8 million in 2030. Direct and indirect costs to treat heart failure could also more than double in the same timeframe from $31 billion to $70 billion. The statement includes recommendations to lessen the impact of heart failure such as the use of quality guidelines, better care coordination, specialized training for healthcare professionals, and increased access to palliative and hospice care for patients with advanced-stage heart failure.
 
Contact: Madeleine Konig, madeleine.konig@heart.org 



ACA Update
Most rulemaking is now complete for the health insurance coverage reforms that take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The focus now is on ensuring that the new health insurance marketplaces can begin enrolling individuals who need coverage by Oct. 1, and educating the public about the new insurance options that may be available to them. In addition, since our last issue:
  • HHS proposed rules to govern how "Navigators" who provide unbiased information to individuals who need help acquiring coverage in marketplaces, will be trained and certified and announced the availability of $54 million in grant funding for organizations to serve as Navigators. The department also suspended enrollment in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan programs at the federal and state level. Coverage will continue for the more than 100,000 individuals already enrolled. For more information: www.healthcare.gov
      
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released Frequently Asked Questions on the "premium assistance" model for Medicaid expansion being considered by some states. The agency also provided new guidance to state Medicaid programs about how they can claim the one percent federal bonus in exchange for making all evidence-based preventive services available to Medicaid beneficiaries with no cost-sharing.
Stay tuned for more information about the association's efforts to help educate the public on the new insurance marketplaces and coverage options for uninsured Americans suffering from heart disease, stroke and their risk factors.
 
Contact:  Stephanie Mohl, stephanie.mohl@heart.org  



Capitol Hill Goes Red During Heart Month
A bipartisan group of 33 Congressional women came together to help Capitol Hill "go red" on Valentine's Day. Thirty-three women members of Congress united for a photo in the Capitol to help raise awareness that heart disease is the leading killer of women. The photo was widely shared by congressional women via social media.
 
Go Red For Women and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease also partnered with HHS on the 3rd Annual State of Women's Heart Health webinar to kick off American Heart Month on February 5th. CEO Nancy Brown was joined on the webinar by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Million Hearts Director Janet Wright, M.D., and Go Red For Women spokeswoman Mary Ann Bauman, M.D.
 
Contact:  Stephanie Mohl, stephanie.mohl@heart.org



Obama 2014 Budget Released
President Barack Obama submitted his FY2014 budget proposal to the Congress on April 10th. The budget includes the administration's proposed spending levels for all federal agencies and programs for the next year. The AHA was pleased with the funding proposed for some of our priorities but not with others. The president's budget requests:
  • $31.331 billion for the NIH, a $471 million or 1.5 percent increase over last year.
    Our request: $32 billion
     
  • $58.870 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, a $108,000 increase.
    Our request: $75 million
     
  • $21.413 million for the CDC's WISEWOMAN program
    Our request: $37 million
  • $5 million be cut from the Prevention and Public Health Fund for Million Hearts, a public-private initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in five years.
    Our request: $35 million
      
  • No funding for Health Resources and Services Administration's Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices Program (specifically automated external defibrillators).
    Our request: $8.9 million
Contact: Claudia Louis, claudia.louis@heart.org 



AHA Submits Comments on Proposed Competitive Foods Standards 
In April, the association submitted a comment letter on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposed nutrition standards for competitive foods sold in schools. Competitive foods include foods and beverages sold a la carte and in school stores, snack bars and vending machines. The standards would establish limits on the amount of fat, sodium sugar and calories.
 
The AHA's comments offered strong support for the standards and recommended that the USDA further toughen them by revising the calorie limits to vary by age group, eliminating a proposed exemption for certain entrees and side dishes sold as a la carte items, and lowering the limit for saturated fat.
 
You're the Cure advocates mobilized to offer over 2,500 comments on the proposal to the USDA.
 
The final nutrition standards are expected to be released by USDA later this year.
 
Contact:  Susan K. Bishop, susan.k.bishop@heart.org.



AHA Submits Comments on Proposed Competitive Foods Standards 
In April, the association submitted a comment letter on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposed nutrition standards for competitive foods sold in schools. Competitive foods include foods and beverages sold a la carte and in school stores, snack bars and vending machines. The standards would establish limits on the amount of fat, sodium sugar and calories.
 
The AHA's comments offered strong support for the standards and recommended that the USDA further toughen them by revising the calorie limits to vary by age group, eliminating a proposed exemption for certain entrees and side dishes sold as a la carte items, and lowering the limit for saturated fat.
 
You're the Cure advocates mobilized to offer over 2,500 comments on the proposal to the USDA.
 
The final nutrition standards are expected to be released by USDA later this year.
 
Contact:  Susan K. Bishop, susan.k.bishop@heart.org.



EPA Proposes New Emissions Standards
The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed new "Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Standards" for cleaner gasoline and vehicle emissions. These standards will significantly reduce particulate matter and ozone pollution, both of which are harmful to cardiovascular health.
 
The association, along with our public health partners, will continue to support these new standards and defend them from being weakened as they move through the regulatory process.
 
Contact: Kelsey Stefanik-Sidener, kelsey.stefanik-sidener@heart.org 



Rep. Chris Smith Co-Chairs the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) is the new House Republican co-chair of the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition. Congressman Smith joins Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Senators Michael Crapo (R-ID) and Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) as leaders of the coalition. In addition to being a long-time member of the congressional coalition, Rep. Smith has been a strong supporter of funding for the National Institutes of Health, as well as a cosponsor of the HEART for Women Act and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

The Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition was founded in 1996 by the American Heart Association for the purpose of raising awareness of the seriousness of cardiovascular diseases and to act as a resource for heart and stroke issues..

Contact: Kristy Anderson, kristy.anderson@heart.org 



STATE ROUNDUP 

Stroke and STEMI Systems of Care Strengthened
Several states made significant progress in moving proposals to address critical stroke and STEMI system of care polices this year. In February, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed a bill into law that would make Wyoming the first state in the country to define STEMI/heart attack facility designation using Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care/American Heart Association accreditation. New Mexico followed suit in March by passing a bill that allows for the department of health to formally recognize STEMI Receiving and Referring Hospitals. In April, a North Dakota bill was signed into law that develops a statewide emergency cardiovascular system of care. It would allow the state to formally recognize STEMI facility designations and creates a STEMI registry. The bill also establishes an advisory group for continued system work on STEMI and other emergency cardiovascular care systems.

Contact: Jeff Ranous, jeffrey.ranous@heart.org 



Several States Pass Pulse Oximetry Laws
In early 2013, policy requiring that all newborns be screened for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) using pulse oximetry was enacted into law in North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Maryland and Utah. A number of other states, including Connecticut, Kentucky and Virginia are developing rules to carry out previously enacted legislation to implement CCHD pulse oximetry screening which offers a quick, painless way to screen newborns and identify those who may have a critical congenital heart defect. Early identification of CCHD enables health providers to treat the defect quickly, and more than 85 percent of children who undergo surgery for the defects reach adulthood.
 
Contact: Jeff Ranous, jeffrey.ranous@heart.org



Momentum Continues to Build for CPR Training in Schools 
Momentum continues to grow for the AHA's nationwide effort to encourage policymakers to enact legislation/regulation requiring that all students be trained in quality, psychomotor skill-based, CPR prior to graduating from high school. So far this year, we have already seen success in Virginia and Arkansas. Additionally, legislation in Georgia and Washington has moved forward and we are expecting the governor in each state to take action soon. These states would join the four states which enacted strong CPR training laws in 2011, the first year of the association's campaign.

Contact: Jeff Ranous at jeffrey.ranous@heart.org 



Lufkin, TX passes comprehensive Smoke-free Air Ordinance
In April, Lufkin, Texas gave unanimous approval to a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance that will to go into effect on May 16. The community of 35,000 individuals had a well-organized coalition working on this ordinance for the past few months. Many thanks to the Smoke-Free Lufkin Coalition who worked with the AHA with action alerts, providing educational material to council members and making sure a comprehensive ordinance was enacted.

Longtime AHA volunteer & State Advocacy Committee member Kinnie Douglas testified on behalf of the AHA, submitted a letter to the editor and provided technical assistance as a member of a local tobacco control workgroup. Also, AHA volunteer John Brink submitted a letter to the editor and helped provide communication to council members as well. AHA worked with Texans Standing Tall to train some of the community leaders and provide guidance to volunteers to prevent attempts to weaken the ordinance throughout the process.

Contact: Chris Sherwin, chris.sherwin@heart.org


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