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Pennsylvania Lobby Day Scheduled For April 20, 2015

Make plans to join us on Monday, April 20th as we gather at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, PA to meet with lawmakers to talk about important public policies to help reverse the effects of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Advocates from across PA will meet with their legislators to advocate support for strengthening the Clean Indoor Air law to include NO exemptions, reduce smoking rates by increasing the tobacco excise tax, and creating a generation of lifesavers by making sure students learn CPR before they graduate. We'll give you the tools and the resources - all you have to do is show up! 

REGISTER HERE

Schedule of Events

8:30-9:00am:            Registration  (Continental Breakfast available from 8-9am)

9:00-10:00am:          Issue Briefings

10:00-10:20am:        Press Conference (Main Rotunda)

10:20-10:30am:        Group Photo (Main Rotunda Steps)

10:30am-12:00pm:   Legislative Meetings (Member Offices)

Directions to the PA State Capitol

Downtown Harrisburg Parking (Walnut Street Garage is recommended for parking)

If you would like additional information or have questions, please contact:

Kim Ross at (717) 730-1706 or kim.ross@heart.org

David Greineder at (717) 730-1751 or david.greineder@heart.org

Melissa Brown at melissa.brown@heart.org 

 

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When The Surgeon General Comes To Town…

A special thanks to our guest writer, Dr.Sandra Burke of Charlotte, for her contributions to this story!

Recently, the American Heart Association in the Greater Charlotte Region had an excellent opportunity to share its Health Priorities with the newly named U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. Dr. Murthy is undertaking a nationwide listening tour to determine first-hand how his office can best address public health issues, based on initiatives that are currently working effectively in local communities.  Key representatives from healthcare organizations across the region gathered at Care Ring (formerly Community Health Services) in Charlotte to participate in this 2-hour forum.  In his introductory remarks, Dr. Murthy stressed the importance of working together and sharing best practices, and feels that the most effective way to achieve this goal is to hear how organizations are making an impact on public health challenges they face in their communities.  

Dr. Murthy asked each of the nearly than 30 attendees to speak for 2 minutes, and to share how each organization was working to impact public health.  Dr. Sandra Burke, a member of the Greater Charlotte Board of Directors, represented the AHA during this session, and provided an overview of the key issues that resulted from our recent Community Assessment process.  She discussed the two specific areas where our board members and AHA staff feel we might make the biggest impact.  These include our efforts to strengthen tobacco control in North Carolina by protecting the state’s smoke-free law from efforts to weaken it, increasing excise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products and restoring funding to tobacco use and prevention and cessation programs.  She also discussed our focus on improving worksite wellness by changing procurement policies at both the local and state levels and providing healthy vending and food service initiatives.  Finally, she touched on our efforts to increase access to healthy foods through healthy corner store initiatives, and of particular importance, the efforts to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to health care by expanding Medicaid.

The latter effort was stressed by a number of participants in the forum, including Madison Hardee, a staff attorney from Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont, who discussed the fact that one of their biggest challenges is the fact that NC has still not expanded Medicaid.  Similar sentiments were expressed by Dr. Steven Keener, Medical Director for Mecklenburg County, who participated on behalf of Dr. Marcus Plescia, County Health Director.  In response to Dr. Murthy’s emphasis on the importance of coalitions to impact healthcare across communities, Ms. Hardee described a coalition of organizations called Get Covered Mecklenburg, which provides outreach to low income families that need access to affordable health care.  Krsiten Wade, Assistant VP of Clinical Services at Carolina Healthcare System, provided input on MedLink of Mecklenburg, a collaboration of healthcare providers with community clinics embedded in neighborhoods to deliver a variety of services to diverse populations who might otherwise have issues with transportation in seeking healthcare.  Another interesting and important approach was described by Ed Connors, CEO of Heudia Health, who has received a small business innovative research grant from the Department of Agriculture to develop a technology to address community healthcare.  Launched in Lenoir County, NC and piloted in Charlotte with Dr. Michael Dulin, a primary care physician at Carolinas Healthcare System, Heudia Health uses a mobile navigator to assist people in finding healthcare services when they have barriers, including lack of adequate insurance, and limited knowledge regarding how to seek healthcare. 

Overall, the forum was an impactful session that allowed not only Dr. Murthy and his staff to hear about local community health efforts, but enabled those interested in improving health of all citizens to hear of other innovative solutions currently underway around the region.  We were privileged to be a part of that process!

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Stroke Center Designation Rules Approved!

On January 15, 2015 the NC Rules Review Commission approved new stroke center designation rules by unanimous vote.  These rules were developed as the result of Session Law 2013-44 Designate Primary Stroke Centers that was signed into law on May 8, 2013.  The rules include designation for acute stroke ready hospitals, primary stroke centers and comprehensive stroke centers.

The NC Stroke Advisory Council and You’re the Cure advocates worked together with the Department of Health Service Regulation and Office of Emergency Services to develop the rule language.  As a result of a great team effort the rules were perfected and presented to the Rules Review Commission for approval on January 15, 2015 where they were unanimously approved. 

Peg O’Connell, Vice-Chair of the NC Stroke Advisory Council, member of the NC AHA Advocacy Coordinating Council and You’re the Cure member stated, “Six years ago, I lost my dear husband and our Insurance Commissioner Jim Long to a severe stroke.  I know what it means to lose someone you love in such a sudden and tragic way, but we were fortunate because when Jim's stroke occurred, we knew what to do and where to go.  Everyone in our state needs to have this knowledge.

It has been a journey in North Carolina to build strong stroke systems of care.  Many people have come together to ensure that all North Carolinians, regardless of location can access quality acute stroke care and I was proud to be part of that effort.  These rules are a critical part of our state’s stroke system of care and inform both EMS and the public where stroke centers are located in the state.”

North Carolina already required EMS authorities to have transport protocol plans and procedures and now with the addition of designating all three tiers of stroke centers became the second state in the country to take this step in establishing strong stroke systems of care.

Many thanks to all the You’re the Cure advocates that supported this effort.  You are making a difference!

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Kids can't eat healthy foods if they don't have a healthy choice…

Did you know low-income neighborhoods have 50 percent fewer supermarkets than the wealthiest neighborhoods? 

For millions of people around the country—many of them kids—the fast choice is the only choice when it comes to food.  But things don’t have to be this way.  Healthy food financing initiatives can help...and everyone should have easy access to the fresh, healthy food our bodies need to stay well. 

In New York State, six out of ten adults are considered overweight or obese.  That’s 8.5 million New Yorkers that are struggling!  The state's Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund can help communities across New York by providing the funding needed to create supermarkets and mobile markets. 

Providing healthy food, creating jobs and revitalizing the economy...now that sounds like a win for kids and families!

You can help bring healthy food to communities across New York, create jobs and revitalize NY’s economy too—by speaking out in support of  the state's Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund. 

Let's help give kids and families a healthy choice.

 

 

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New maps provide insight on access to supermarkets in New York State

For millions of people around the country—many of them children—the fast choice is the only choice when it comes to food.  Newly created maps paint a picture of the problem.  View below to see maps outlining supermarket sales and income data in New York State.  Additional blog posts on yourethecure.org outline supermarket sales and income in New York City, Syracuse and Buffalo.

 

 

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Update from Raleigh: Representative Becky Carney Urges Lawmakers to Go Red for Women

On Thursday February 5, 2015 Representative Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg) called on her colleagues in the NC House of Representatives to take action to fight cardiovascular diseases in women. She challenged her fellow lawmakers to show their support by wearing red on Wear Red Day Friday February 6, 2015. You can listen to Representative Carney’s comments on this recording of the day’s legislative session from the NC General Assembly website here.

You’re the Cure advocates provided each member of the NC General Assembly with a fact sheet about women and heart disease with a reminder to join the American Heart Association in celebrating Wear Red Day.

This year marked the 12th anniversary of National Wear Red Day. Since National Wear Red Day started:

  • Nearly 90% of women have made at least one healthy behavior change.
  • More than one-third of women has lost weight.
  • More than 50% of women have increased their exercise.
  • 6 out of 10 women have changed their diets.
  • More than 40% of women have checked their cholesterol levels.
  • One third of women has talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.

But despite this progress, many women are still unaware of their risks and the facts.  Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in North Carolina, killing more women than men and is more deadly than all forms of cancer.

  • 8,286 women died from heart disease in NC in 2013. That’s 20% or one in five deaths among women.
  • 2,635 women died from stroke in NC in 2013. That’s 6.3% or one in sixteen deaths among women.
  • Overall about 11,000 women died from cardiovascular disease in NC in 2013. That’s over one out of every four deaths among women.

This year resolve to help the AHA/ASA fight cardiovascular diseases in women and be an active advocate for high impact health policies. Learn more by contacting Grassroots and Local Advocacy Director Kim Chidester, or Senior Director of Government Relations Betsy Vetter. 

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Advocate Spotlight: Ron Drouin

STROKE – some things you may not know and were afraid to ask!

My name is Ron Drouin and I am a stroke survivor. There are two types of strokes, namely: Ischemic (which account for 87% of all strokes) and Hemorrhagic. There are many contributing factors: genetics, STRESS and Health habits. My factors were 40-plus years of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, along with lots of job-related STRESS.  

My stroke was Ischemic and it occurred during the night of my 62nd birthday in 2002. “Happy Birthday Ron”. After an unknown time at home, I spent another 4 to 6 hours in the ER before undergoing an MRI that determined I did in fact have a serious stroke.

After two weeks in intensive care, working with my bedside therapist, I was able to move two fingers in my left hand. I cried a good deal with that experience. I have always been a typical ―”macho man” and you are not supposed to do that, (cry that is), but since the stroke, I now find myself crying at sad parts of movies and sad stories, etc. My experience is that there are many stroke-related side effects.

I spent three months in a rehab hospital and one of the therapists jokingly said: “You won’t be able to go home until you can tie your shoelaces. I said: “You’ve got to be kidding, here let me show you.” Guess what! I couldn’t tie my shoelaces and had to learn how to do that as well.

I spent about a year in a wheel chair and many sessions working with physical therapists.  There is kind of a rule of thumb that therapy can help you recover some of your abilities for the first six months after the stroke.

There is another stroke- related category called TIA’s (Transient Ischemic Attack). These should be taken seriously as well. I experienced one of these recently and it was discovered that my heart would actually stop beating for 3, 4 or even 5 seconds on occasion. A neurologist at the hospital told me that the heart pauses would cause the blood to thicken for a short period and produce stroke symptoms. So doctors installed a pacemaker and my heart is beating fine now.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge someone who has been “my rock” and demonstrated the quintessence of “in sickness and in health”; it is namely my wife Sharon. We just celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary - 50 years - this past July. We are looking forward to better times and “happily ever after” In 2015 and the years to come.  

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Does it make sense to penalize those who need therapy most?

My answer to this question is a loud “NO!” and I bet yours is, too. But that is just what Medicare’s current limits on outpatient therapy do. Unfortunately, if Congress does not act by March 31st, stroke survivors and others on Medicare with the most serious and debilitating conditions will face a cap on their outpatient therapy. But our lawmakers can prevent this from happening.  

Right now there is a bill in Congress to end these caps once-and-for all.

Will you ask your member to co-sponsor this commonsense legislation today?

After surviving a stroke, the last thing anyone needs to worry about is running out of therapy sessions. Stroke is our nation’s No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability and dementia. Therapy services provide stroke survivors with the ability to regain vital skills like walking and talking, prevent falls, and live as independently as possible. Limiting access to such beneficial care does not make sense.

I know you believe our stroke survivors deserve better. Ask your legislator to end these harmful caps today!

 

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Last Chance to Register for the MN Legislative Breakfast!

The Minnesota Legislative Breakfast is coming up next Wednesday February 18th at the Kelly Inn!  Register now to join advocates from Minnesota to speak with legislators in a strong, unified voice about the importance of acute care issues when treating heart disease and stroke. During this event you will have the opportunity to learn more about our system of care policy efforts and speak to lawmakers about the importance of supporting a strong statewide system of care to treat stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Breakfast is included. No cost to attend but advanced registration is required.

Don't miss out on this great even and register here now or call Jess at (952) 278-7928.

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