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LA Gov. Takes First Step to Expand Medicaid

On his first full day in office, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards followed through on his promise to accept the federal funding to expand Medicaid. He signed an executive order calling for the state Department of Health and Hospitals to make the administrative changes needed to begin offering the health insurance coverage to the working poor.

The issue of increasing access to healthcare is important to the American Heart Association. Thousands of Louisianans face every day without the security of insurance. And for those with pre-existing heart conditions or who have suffered from stroke, each day is especially uncertain.

We can help more Louisianans take preventive action against heart disease and stroke by providing insurance for regular health care coverage, as opposed to expensive treatment in emergency rooms after their condition has worsened. Medicaid increases the use of recommended preventive care, and those with Medicaid were much more likely than people without insurance to have a regular source of care. For example:

  • Medicaid beneficiaries with heart disease are twice as likely to take their medication appropriately, compared to those who are uninsured.
  • Those with Medicaid coverage are more likely to have their blood pressure controlled, compared to the uninsured.
  • Those with Medicaid are 20 percent more likely to have been checked for high cholesterol, compared to the uninsured.

Ultimately, covering more people through Medicaid can help save lives and improve the lives of Louisianans. We will continue to advocate as this process unfolds in Louisiana.

You can read more about the executive order at ABCNews.com.

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Join us on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women are asking for your support by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 5, 2016 and donating to help fund research during American Health Month.

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day® and donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. 

And don’t forget to make your heart health a priority. Schedule your Well-Woman Visit, a prevention check-up to review a woman’s overall health so her doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Then encourage others through your social channels to do the same.

We couldn’t make positive changes without the support and donations by individuals like you.

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Get Social With Your Members of Congress

Will you be on Facebook or Twitter today? Your Members of Congress and their staff will be, and it's a good place to reach them according to a report released in October by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF).

The CMF report, #SocialCongress, says Congressional offices are listening to social media chatter and it takes relatively few posts or comments to get their attention. That's good news for us!

So, how can you use the Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline to get the attention of lawmakers and help pass heart healthy policies?

  • Follow your members of Congress, as well as state and local elected officials on Twitter. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ their pages on Facebook.
  • Tweet about our health policy issues, tagging the appropriate legislators by using the @ sign and their Twitter handle. For example: I’m from Pennsylvania, so I’d tag my U.S. Senators by including @SenBobCasey & @SenToomey in my tweet.
  • If they allow it, you can post about our issues directly on the Facebook pages of elected officials. Frequently, that feature is disabled but you are able to comment on their posts. According to #SocialCongress, Congressional offices typically monitor those comments for a limited period of time. Your best bet is to comment within the first 24 hours after a post.
  • Rally your friends and family members to tweet, post or comment about an issue on a single ‘day of action’. CMF’s survey data shows just 30 or fewer comments can be enough to make a legislative office pay attention.
  • Be sure to use the campaign hashtag if one has been created by your advocacy staff partners. The #hashtag allows all the relevant posts to be woven together to tell our story, and makes your post searchable by others interested in the issue.    

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New Orleans Health Department Receives Culture of Health Award

On November 30, the American Heart Association's Greater New Orleans Area Board Chair, Valerie Englade, and Immediate Past President, Dr. Robert Matheney, presented the Culture of Health Award to the New Orleans Health Department. With the leadership of the Deputy Health Director, Charlotte Parent, and Mayor Landrieu's executive order targeting healthy vending options in 2012 and the formation of Fit NOLA focusing on helping to develop programming around nutrition and physical activity resources; the Health Department is committed to creating a culture of health within New Orleans.

When combining the American Heart Association's rankings for cardiovascular health need and population rank, New Orleans is the 22nd market out of 50 in need of community health changes related to the 2020 Impact Goal health targets. Approximately one-in-three residents are obese in New Orleans, leading to higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The American Heart Association is committed to reducing access to unhealthy foods and making the healthier choice the easier choice. We are proud of the Mayor’s commitment to becoming a top 10 of the fittest cities by its 300th anniversary in 2018. We truly believe that the New Orleans Health Department is leading the effort in building a culture of health that will benefit our communities for years to come. We thank the New Orleans Health Department, Mayor Landrieu, Charlotte Parent and Whitney Mitchell (FIT NOLA), for subsequently leading New Orleans in becoming one of the healthiest cities in the Southeast.

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We're Feeling Grateful

As AHA Advocacy staff, we get to work alongside the most remarkable volunteers- like YOU! We get to see lives improved and lives saved as a result of the work we’ve done together, and for that, we're grateful.

As You’re the Cure volunteers, you share personal stories of loved ones lost too soon, of survival, or of triumph over heart disease or stroke- all because you know your stories will make a difference in someone else’s life. It is often those stories that convince lawmakers to pass the policies making our communities healthier.

Because of you, more babies are being screened with Pulse Ox and having their heart defects corrected before it’s too late. Because of you, people in communities around the country have been saved by students who learned CPR in school. Because of you, people are getting better stroke care, families have safe places for active play, fewer people are smoking, and kids are eating healthier food at school.  The impact you’re making is incredible, and our communities are better places- because of you.

You make us cry. You share your joy. You inspire us. You amaze us. And we’re just so grateful for all you do.

We’re including YOU as we count our blessings this month, and we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!   

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Youth Summit in Alexandria, La.

About 500 junior and high school students from Central Louisiana attended the Youth Summit on Healthy Behaviors held on Oct. 14 at the Riverfront Center in Alexandria, La.  Members of the Rapides Foundation's Youth Advisory Council design and plan the one-day event each year to help students become advocates for healthy choices. This year's theme is "Be a Voice for Change."  "What we're trying to do here is teach teenagers to be advocates for healthier communities and healthier schools," said Trayce Snow, program officer with The Rapides Foundation. Click here to read the entire article from The Town Talk.

 We also encourage you to watch the video from the Rapides Foundation's Youth Summit, by clicking on the image. 

The American Heart Association works with the Rapides Foundation in several projects to make Louisiana a healthier state for all residents. 

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Will We See You at a Heart Walk?

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association's premiere event for raising funds to save lives from this country's No. 1 and No. 5 killers - heart disease and stroke. Designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living, the Heart Walk creates an environment that's fun and rewarding for the entire family.

This year, more than 1 million walkers will participate in nearly 340 events. Will you participate in one near you?

When you join Heart Walk, you join more than a million people in hundreds of cities across America in taking a stand against heart disease and helping save lives! Walk with friends, family, coworkers or strangers you'll bond with along the way. Any way you choose to do it, your heart will thank you for it!

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Sing to End Stroke

One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs. What if singing a song could help people recognize a stroke and give someone the power to save a life?

On World Stroke Day, October 29th, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is using music to help people remember the common warning signs of stroke, F.A.S.T. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Why learn the F.A.S.T song? The quicker you recognize the stroke warning signs and call 9-1-1 for stroke, the better the chances of recovery. 

Here is how you can participate:

So get your vocal cords ready and let's sing to end stroke!

  

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September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and to help raise awareness with families across the country, the American Heart Association has brought back a fun and easy way to help you with the No. 1 health concern among parents – childhood obesity. Through the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™  families and kids will learn to take control of their health in four weeks by pursuing a different goal each week with activities that are fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family! By the end of the month, you might feel accomplished and be better equipped to live a heart-healthy life. There will also be four Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ Twitter Chats every Wednesday in September.

Mark your calendars and get ready to take the challenge in September by visiting www.heart.org/healthierkids - where you will have access to videos, complimentary challenge materials, and the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™ social media group that will help you, and your family, stay on track.  

 

 

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Is a Smokefree Baton Rouge on the Horizon?

Dear Editor-

There are more than 7,000 chemical components found in cigarette smoke and hundreds of them are harmful to human health, according to the American Heart Association. Not only is smoking a controllable risk factor for the number one killer in our city, heart disease, but it is a factor that affects more than just the smoker. 

Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard for nonsmokers. Nonsmokers who have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol have an even greater risk of developing heart diseases when they’re exposed to secondhand smoke.

Hospitality workers are more likely to suffer from bronchitis, respiratory infections, chronic illness, and other lung and respiratory problems when exposed to secondhand smoke at work. No worker should ever have to choose between his or her health and a paycheck.

Thanks to the New Orleans smoke-free law, every New Orleans worker can breathe freely. Shouldn’t we protect Baton Rouge employees from toxic secondhand smoke?

Many of us are protected from secondhand smoke but not all of the Baton Rouge workforce is. Every employee deserves to breathe clean air while earning a living.

Let’s follow the lead of our neighbors and say that secondhand smoke in the workplace needs to be eliminated.

We want clean indoor air for all of our Baton Rouge workforce.

Jay Brooks M.D. FACP 

Baton Rouge

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