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Pulse Ox Bill Passes Public Health Committee!

Recently the Colorado House Public Health and Human Services Committee voted in favor of  House Bill 1281, a measure ensuring Pulse Ox screenings for congenital heart defects in newborns. The Chair of the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee, physicians, and mothers shared incredible personal stories about their children and the importance of passing this policy. Kayla Mumbey and Gretchen Whitehurst (pictured) shared touching stories with the committee. Click here to learn more about Pulse Ox laws from around the state: https://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/allposts.aspx?Tags=Pulse%20Ox.

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Tobacco to 21 is Progressing in the Hawaii State Legislature

Guest Blogger: Don Weisman, Hawaii Government Relations Director

As of April 1, Hawaii Senate Bill 1030, which proposes to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21, has passed through the required House and Senate committees. The next steps pending approval on the House floor, will be to move to a conference committee where House and Senate members will work out differences in their respective versions of the bill.

Tobacco to 21, as the issue is often referred, has taken on greater focus since a March 14 report issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that it could join higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free air laws, and adequately funded community tobacco prevention, control and cessation programs as the cornerstones of effective reduction of tobacco addiction and use among minors. The IOM strongly concluded that boosting the tobacco sale age to 21 will have a substantial positive impact on public health and save lives. It found that raising the tobacco sale age will significantly reduce the number of adolescents and young adults who start smoking; reduce smoking-caused deaths; and immediately improve the health of adolescents, young adults and young mothers who would be deterred from smoking, as well as their children. Significantly, the greatest impact would be among adolescents 15-17 who would no longer be able to pass for legal age and would have a harder time obtaining cigarettes from their older friends and classmates.

Overall, the report predicts that raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 will, over time, reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent and smoking-related deaths by 10 percent.

The American Heart Association is supporting the Hawaii state legislation. National data shows that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21. The ages of 18 to 21 are a critical period when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use. While half of adult smokers become daily smokers before 18, four out of five do so before they turn 21. Increasing the tobacco sale age to 21 will help prevent these young people from ever starting to smoke. If passed, Hawaii would join at least 58 localities in 7 states – including Hawaii County and New York City – that have already raised the tobacco sale age to 21. California, Washington and New Jersey state legislatures are also currently considering similar bills.

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Nevada Lobby Day 2015 Recap

On Tuesday, March 31st, American Heart Association staff, business leaders, survivors, and You’re the Cure advocates joined together in Carson City at the Capitol to support heart-healthy legislation.  In addition, dozens of advocates supported their efforts by taking action online.

To those of you who joined us in Carson City or took online action, the Nevada Advocacy Team wants to say THANK YOU!  

In case you didn’t attend Lobby Day, here’s how we did it:  

  • We hosted a Hand-Only CPR demonstration in the morning.  If you don’t know Hand-Only CPR or would like a 2 minute refresher, please click here!
  • We met face-to-face with legislators in the Assembly Education, Assembly Health and Humans Services Committees as well as members of the Senate Finance Committee.
  • We dropped off informational packets to all remaining legislators who were unavailable to meet due to previous engagements.

And if you missed this year’s Lobby Day, don’t worry! You can still support our efforts online by clicking here and there will be additional opportunities to take action in the coming months. We’ll need every single one of you along the way! 

Please email Ben Schmauss at Ben.Schmauss@heart.org or Josh Brown at Josh.Brown@heart.org if you are interested in future volunteer opportunities, or if you have any additional questions. 

Thank you again for being a critical part of the You’re the Cure team!

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It’s Not too Late – RSVP for Lobby Day, April 22nd

Can you believe it, our annual California AHA/ASA Lobby Day in Sacramento is just a few weeks away?  

California AHA/ASA Lobby Day

Wednesday, April 22nd

West Steps of the Capitol

10am - 3pm (Registration starts at 9am) 

It’s not too late! Register here if you’d like to attend! 

 

A few highlights of the event will include: an opportunity to connect with other AHA/ASA advocates, an advocacy training to ensure you’re prepared for the day, motivational speakers and survivors connected to the AHA/ASA mission, the opportunity to directly communicate with your state legislators, and two complimentary heart-healthy meals. 

 

If you haven’t done so already and are planning to join us in Sacramento, please register here. Registration is required so we can schedule face-to-face meetings with your legislators’ offices!

Please contact me at your earliest convenience if you have any questions via email at Josh.Brown@heart.org or via phone at (916) 431-2364. 

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American Heart Association Celebrates National Walking Day

By Violet Ruiz, Government Relations Director

The American Heart Association celebrated National Walking Day on Wednesday, April 1st! National Walking Day is celebrated on the first Wednesday in April and is meant to help Americans actualize ideal cardiovascular health. Even though National Walking Day is over – take time to tie up your sneakers, take a walk and celebrate your health every day!

On National Walking Day, Americans are encouraged to lace up their sneakers and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. Statistics show people stick to walking plans more than any other form of physical activity and walking is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke – the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers.

The other amazing thing about walking is that you don't have to wait until next year to get moving again. National Walking Day celebrations will come and go, but walking should be part of your daily exercise routine. Regular physical, such as walking, gardening, cycling, and climbing stairs can help you:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Reduce or control blood pressure.
  • Raise HDL ("good") cholesterol.
  • Reduce your risk of diabetes and some kinds of cancer.
  • Sleep better.
  • Have more energy to do the things you love.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) a week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity. Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any other physical activity. If you can't carve 30 minutes out of your day to walk, just taking a few more steps in your day is a simple and effective place to start. It's really that easy. Or be creative and break up your activity into 10- or 15-minute increments. For example:

  • In the morning, park or get off the bus/train 10 minutes away from your job and walk briskly to work.
  • At lunch, walk for 10 minutes around where you work, indoors or outdoors.
  • At the end of the day, walk briskly for 10 minutes back to your car or station.

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Thank You for Supporting House Bill 2605 - Stroke Systems of Care Legislation

Thanks to your consistent and tremendous support over the last few weeks, House Bill 2605 was signed into law by Governor Ducey on March 31st!  You’re the Cure Advocates accounted for over 400 online actions and countless offline actions to persuade Arizona’s lawmakers to pass HB 2605 this session.  HB 2605 will protect all of Arizona’s citizens by establishing a statewide comprehensive, coordinated system of care that can save lives by providing seamless transitions from one stage of stroke care to the next. 

In Arizona, stroke is the 5th leading cause of death and accounts for over 45 hospitalizations a day. Many hospitals do not have the necessary personnel, equipment, and systems to effectively and rapidly treat stroke patients. HB 2605 will improve stroke care in numerous ways including: improved infrastructure, improved clinical tools and resources, improved patient education resources, increased access to the most up-to-date research, and require regular performance reporting for continuous quality improvement. 

Simply put, HB 2605 will encourage hospitals to adhere to the latest scientific treatment guidelines which will dramatically improve patient outcomes.

For more information on the details of comprehensive stroke systems of care, please visit here.

Thank you once again for your support. You are the cure!

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Ask Texas Lawmakers to Fund Prevention Programs

Because of your help over the last three months lawmakers have drafted a state budget that includes several important investments for heart disease and stroke prevention. Take Action Here and ask lawmakers to fund critical measures that will prevent and treat heart disease and stroke:   http://p2a.co/DKoFezs

The Texas House has passed their version of the state budget and now the Texas Senate is considering their version.  The budget that is eventually passed will fund state programs over the next two years and we want to ensure Heart and Stroke programs are adequately funded. 

Here are some of the funding items we support:

 -$2 million for Heart Attack and Stroke Data Collection. These funds will support a state program to collect data on the prevalence and treatment of heart attack and stroke, to improve care for heart attack and stroke patients in Texas.

 -$10 million for Texas Grocery Access.  This investment will provide grants and low cost loans to incentivize grocery stores opening in underserved communities.  Everyone should have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and this will help provide more options in the most needed areas of our state.  

 -1 million for Coordinated School Health (CSH). These funds will help school districts implement CSH which is  a systematic set of school-affiliated strategies and activities designed to advance student academic performance through physical, social, and educational development. 

 -$11 million for Tobacco Prevention and Cessations.  These evidence based programs have proven to reduce youth smoking and provide resources for smokers that want to quite.  However, this program is underfunded based on Texas’ population and smoking rate.

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Take Action on Important Issue Alerts

We have reached the point in our legislative session when important decisions are being made regarding Appropriations.  Several issues that, if passed, can help to improve the cardiovascular health of Nebraskans are being discussed by the Appropriations Committee.  Take a couple of minutes today to message legislators on these important issues. 

Please contact state senators on the Appropriations Committee and ask them to support a $200,000 appropriation to be used for training Nebraska high school students in CPR.  Thousands of our students could be trained in this life-saving training with this appropriation. By training high school students in CPR, we have an opportunity to create a generation in which every brother, sister, son, daughter, friend and complete stranger is trained in CPR and is prepared to save lives.  Three to five minutes is a matter of life and death for sudden cardiac arrest victims.  Bystanders must act quickly to save a life.  CPR training can teach them what to do.

Second, please ask your state senator to support a one-time appropriation of $300,000 to Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to be used for 12-Leads to help close the gap in pre-hospital treatment of STEMI. Our rescue services cannot diagnose a STEMI if they do not have the 12-Lead equipment.  In order to develop the best STEMI heart attack care system we can possibly have, it must include ambulances being equipped with 12-Lead ECGs.   

Finally, please take a moment to send a message to members of the Appropriations Committee and ask them to support Legislative Bill 98 which would fund tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.  Tobacco use takes a tremendous toll on our state and in the U.S.  Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined — and thousands more die from other tobacco-related causes — such as fires caused by smoking (more than 1,000 deaths/year nationwide) and smokeless tobacco use.

Take action on these important Action Alerts today, and together we can help to improve the cardiovascular health of all Nebraskans!

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Oklahoma: State Legislative Update

With less than two months to adjournment, the Oklahoma Legislature remains hard at work to address critical issues facing the state of Oklahoma. At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, over 2,000 bills were introduced, ranging on topics health, taxation, and education.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has been hard at work advocating for evidence-based policies that will improve the health of all Oklahomans. An example is legislation that would adopt healthy nutrition guidelines for vending machines on all state properties. House Bill 1613 by Rep. Katie Henke and Senate Bill 621 by Sen. Kyle Loveless, were introduced this session and aimed to increase healthy options on all state property. This bill did not receive consideration this session but the AHA/ASA will continue to advocate for making the healthy choice the easy choice next session.

One bill that is still under consideration is House Bill 1463 by Rep. Elise Hall and Sen. Jason Smalley. This bill will update the current law regarding our stroke systems of care in Oklahoma by incorporating evidence-based practices and recommendations for stroke care. HB 1463 has cleared the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and will next be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The AHA/ASA has worked closely with public health partners to support legislation that would make all school property tobacco free, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.  House Bill 1685 by Rep. Lee Denney and Sen. Jim Halligan, was just approved by the Senate and will return to the House before being transmitted to Governor Mary Fallin.

Lastly, as the state faces an estimated 600 million dollar budget deficit, the AHA/ASA will work to preserve critical public health and tobacco cessation program funding, so that evidence/based programs continue to support health outcomes in Oklahoma.

If you are interested in learning more about the AHA/ASA’s State legislative agenda, contact Naomi Amaha, Oklahoma Government Relations Director, at Naomi.amaha@heart.org

Have you taken action yet to ask your lawmaker to support of House Bill 1463? Take a minute and take action by clicking this link http://p2a.co/PLAYPzx

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National Walking Day Highlights

Kick-starting a physical activity routine was the focus on Wednesday, April 1st at some Central Arkansas Schools. The students participated in the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day. In Little Rock, 5th graders at Jefferson Elementary heard from Mayor Mark Stodola about heart health and the importance of activity. The group then took a walk around the school’s track.

In North Little Rock, Mayor Joe Smith spoke with 3rd grade students at Indian Hills before joining in a heart healthy walk.

In Maumelle, students at Academics Plus Charter School laced up their sneakers to head outside and walk. Americans are encouraged to get at least 30 minutes of activity a day.

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