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#HeartAtTheWH

Last Friday, nearly 200 You’re the Cure volunteers went to the White House as part of the Obama administration’s briefing series on “Making Health Care Better,” with an emphasis on cardiovascular health. The forum followed the release of a White House report on the progress made over the past eight years in research, prevention, coverage, treatment, and quality when it comes to cardiovascular disease and care.

As AHA President Steven Houser, Ph.D., welcomed advocates to Washington and the White House, he highlighted the success of the Affordable Care Act and the more than seven million patients with cardiovascular disease and risk factors that are now covered under the ACA.

Volunteers in attendance were also active on social media, urging their friends and family to tune in to the briefing via a livestream and, more important, add their voice to the conversation (you can watch a condensed version here). And if you haven’t gotten the chance yet, please sign our petition to the next President, urging them to continue fighting for policies that will help reduce and someday end cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Panelists included federal officials, AHA CEO Nancy Brown, and an incredibly inspiring panel of cardiovascular disease survivors, who spoke about how they’ve met their health-related challenges head on, including Gracie Doran, a 17-year-old pediatric stroke survivor who reminded the audience that “stroke can happen to anyone at any age.”

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Join our journey to 200 FAST Act cosponsors

There is nothing like a summer road trip. A chance to explore new places and experience adventures along the way. Right now, we are beginning our own summer journey: achieving 200 cosponsors for the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act and we need you to come along for the ride.

Join the journey to 200 cosponsors by tweeting your House member to cosponsor the FAST Act!

Since we began this campaign last fall, we’ve achieved 145 U.S. House co-sponsors… almost 100 since March alone! But we need to keep up the pressure if we want to reach our goal of 200.

Telestroke can help ensure that more stroke patients receive clot-busting therapy and that they receive it more quickly, greatly improving the chances of a full recovery. But this vital technology is not available to everyone, which is why the FAST Act is vital for Americans across the country.

We need as much support as possible if we want to get this bill to the President's desk.

Will you tweet your member of Congress today?

Thank you for everything you do and enjoy the journey!

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We Can't Rest

Although August is usually a time for vacations and trips to the pool, it’s also an ideal time to meet with your federal lawmakers. Members of Congress will be traveling back home, which means for the entire month they will be closer to their constituents and interested in hearing from you!

As You’re the Cure advocates, we want to meet with as many lawmakers as possible and urge them to take action on important issues that affect heart disease and stroke patients in your hometown and across the country.

Are you up for it? If so, here’s the plan!

1. Pick one (or more!) of the following issues

Click on each issue below to learn more information on the latest developments before meeting with your lawmaker:

 

2. Get in contact with local AHA staff

Fill out this simple form to tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live, your contact information, and which issue or issues you’d like to bring up with your lawmakers. Then AHA staff will take it from there and get in touch with you about scheduling a meeting. 

3. Prepare for your meeting

Members of Congress want to hear how the policies we support affect their districts & constituents, and they want to know why it's important to YOU! AHA staff can help with the local information, but only you can share your personal story!

  • Think about how these policies would impact your life or the life of someone close to you. Would your experience with heart disease or stroke have been different if we had more research funding or better access to telestroke care or cardiac rehab? Do you rely on schools to deliver nutritious foods to your children? Do you see patients who would benefit from these policies? Is there another reason these policies are important to you?
  • Write your story down and practice sharing it, being sure to make the connection to the policy issue you will be discussing.  

That's it- You're ready to help us make a difference this August!

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Cardiac Rehab Hill Day Recap

Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women as well as men, and each year 935,000 Americans have a heart attack or other coronary event. The good news is that cardiac rehab (CR) is proven to reduce the likelihood of a second cardiac event. CR also reduces hospital readmissions, decreases health care costs, & improves the patients’ quality of life. But despite these clear benefits, only 12% of Medicare patients participate in CR programs.

Last Month, 16 You’re the Cure and Go Red for Women advocates came to Washington, DC and asked their lawmakers to change a key Medicare provision to allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to supervise CR programs. With this change in place, hospitals and other entities would be better able to establish and maintain programs nationwide.

While here in Washington, DC, our advocates, who are survivors and medical professionals, participated in 31 meetings with legislators and staff on Capitol Hill to share their stories. They discussed the importance of why the cardiac rehab provision is essential to Medicare-related legislation.

In support of our advocates here in DC, more than 4,300 messages were delivered to Congress in response to an action alert authored by GRFW advocate Kathy Moore who was in Washington, DC to meet with her lawmakers. But, we still need your help.

Urge your lawmakers today to support bipartisan legislation that would allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac rehab programs and make cardiac rehab accessible to more Medicare patients.

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5 Things That Can Make You a Stroke Hero

You don’t need superpowers to be a Stroke Hero!

But you do need to pay attention to the risk factors and know the warning signs of stroke.

This May for American Stroke Month, join other Stroke Heroes across the nation in learning and sharing steps to live heathier lives in an effort to prevent stroke and learn what to do in case of a stroke emergency.

Here are a few ways for you to take action and to help put an end to Stroke.

To learn more ways on how you can be a Stroke Hero, visit StrokeAssociation.org/StrokeHero.

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Exercise their Minds: Protect PE

The benefits of physical education ring clear as a school bell. With daily PE, we can keep kids’ hearts healthy and their minds in gear to do their best at school. The fact is, active kids learn better. And the benefits don’t end there. Physical education has positive impacts on their physical, mental, and emotional health.

Yet competing priorities are making effective PE programs less and less common. With your help, we can change that. In April, the Voices for Healthy Kids team is launching a campaign to start a national conversation about PE and why it is so critical for all kids themed, “Exercise their Minds. Protect PE,” and they need your help. 

As a Voices for Healthy Kids PE action team member, you’ll be kept up-to-date on campaigns in your community and around the country in support of PE, and be provided with opportunities to get involved. Join today at www.voicesforhealthykids.org/PE and help us start the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #ProtectPE.

Voices for Healthy Kids is dedicated to ensuring that physical education is provided to all of our kids. It’s not only good for their health, it’s good for their minds. And that’s good for all of us.

Download the full toolkit now at Physicaleducation.voicesforhealthykids.org .

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The Road to Recovery

Everyone knows someone who has had a heart attack, and thanks to modern science there are amazing medical interventions making survival possible. But once a patient has survived their cardiac event, what is next? For many patients, cardiac rehabilitation is a vital part of the recovery process but our laws don’t always make it easy to get this important care. You can help urge lawmakers to ensure access for patients needing cardiac rehab.

Patients who suffer from cardiovascular disease benefit from exercise training, healthy lifestyle education, and counseling to reduce stress. These activities are all part of a cardiac rehab program, and research shows cardiac rehab reduces the risk of a second cardiac event and improves a patient’s quality of life. Unfortunately, there are a number of barriers that prevent patients from participating in a cardiac rehab program, but a simple change in the law would help patients utilize these services. The proposal would allow non-physician providers – such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants – to directly supervise these programs and ensure people have access to cardiac rehab to improve their cardiovascular health.  So contact your lawmakers today, the message you send could help a loved one get the care they need.

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Healthy school meals should be here to stay

The recent compromise on strong school nutrition standards is a win for students, parents, and educators. But it’s not a guarantee. Floor votes in both the House and Senate lie ahead, and plenty of voices are still saying that we should go back to meals loaded with sugar, salt, and fat. Help us keep the momentum by telling your lawmakers this deal is the one we need to keep our kids healthy.

Going back would mean taking away the serving of fruits or vegetables that now comes with every school meal served. It would mean telling our kids that it’s not important they have more whole grains and lean proteins, and that they shouldn’t worry about eating foods loaded with dangerously high amounts of sodium.

These are lessons no parent would want to teach their child, and we shouldn’t let our schools teach them either. Step up to the plate and help us give kids the healthy futures they deserve.

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The State of Heart Health

Did you see the shout out the President gave during this year’s State of the Union address about our major accomplishment around medical research? The President said last month's $2 billion increase gave, “scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they’ve had in over a decade.”

That achievement is thanks to you and your hard work and we are thrilled it got the attention it deserved this week!

But now it’s time to move forward.

The State of the Union kicks off the New Year and we need to remind our lawmakers that the State of Heart Health still needs improving. And although we saw big victories in 2015, this year we need to see even more.

Whether it is continuing to increase NIH’s budget, protecting school meals or increasing access to telestroke care, our elected officials need to keep hearing that our work is far from over.

Will you send a quick email to your legislator letting them know that they still have work to do in 2016?

Sending a message now shows that You're the Cure advocates across the country will be watching as our representatives in Washington tackle heart health issues. It demonstrates that we're here to support them as they advocate for policies and initiatives that will save lives, and hold them accountable when they don't.

The state of our union might be strong, but the state of our heart health needs to be stronger.

Send your message now. 

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A Season of Giving

We couldn’t share advocacy accomplishments with you this year if not for the generous gift of your time as an advocate and your donations to support the organization. Funds raised support so many programs to help prevent and treat heart disease and stroke and it’s our policy goals that have a tremendous impact in your communities. This year I was moved when a high school student saved a life not long after learning CPR in her high school, this thanks to life-saving legislation passed in her state. And I was also hopeful as we heard more success stories of schools offering healthy lunches creating good eating habits that can span a lifetime. Donations held us invest in education campaigns, outreach to lawmakers, and public awareness events. Please consider lending your support on more time this year with a donation to the American Heart Association.

 

 

 


Thank you and happy holidays to you and yours.

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