Heart Health Doctors go to Washington DC

BW ARA labcoatThe American College of Cardiology (ACC) is home to nearly 50,000 cardiovascular care team members including your Heart Health Doctors. I spent 3 days last week in Washington DC with ~ 400 other ACC members who took time away from their patients and practices to visit Capitol Hill together on October 20 and educate our legislators about heart health.

  • HeartHealthDocs goal is education to gain knowledge and maximize heart disease PREVENTION. James Madison’s words can apply to knowledge used to defend against heart disease and optimize heart health:

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Photo above: Library of Congress, Madison building inscription.

Last week I learned more about how our government works; and had the opportunity to talk heart health and present the ACC message to 4 legislators from Ohio: Senator Sherrod Brown’s Legislative Fellow LaTasha Lee, PhD, MPH, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty’s Senior Legislative Assistant Donnica Hawes-Saunders, JD, Congressman Patrick J. Tiberi’s Legislative Correspondent Abigail Finn, and Congressman Steve Stivers’ Legislative Assistant Taryn Dorfman.

The ACC advocacy priorities are inspiring by necessity; despite a 50% decline in heart and vascular related deaths over the last 40 years, heart disease remains the #1 killer in the US (and the world), accounting for 1 in 4 deaths in America (ACC).

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ACC strives to create a value driven health care system, ensure patient access to care and cardiovascular practice stability, promote the use of clinical data to improve care, foster research and innovation in cardiovascular care, and improve population health and prevent cardiovascular disease.

The specific ask for our representatives is 4-fold:

  1. Support legislation to expand patient access to CARDIAC REHAB – by maximizing cardiovascular care team members’ work and programs.
  2. Promote the usability of electronic health records; to maximize your cardiovascular specialists’ time and energy focused on patients’ cardiac health, not on the computer.
  3. Support new funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration ~ where funding levels have remained flat for the past 12 years.
  4. Work with medical specialty societies to develop alternative payment models for effective and efficient patient care.

Read more about the importance of Cardiac Rehab here, only through research will we find ways to manage heart disease and promote heart health; without usable workflow, our cardiovascular care team members are limited both in access for patients and range of services offered.

The trip was full- great education and inspiration. October 20 was a remarkably successful legislative day for heart health not just for Americans in general, but also for those of us walking the hill. I logged > 18,000 steps on my pedometer on Tuesday.

Photo is at the 7 am start for the day on Capitol Hill – 

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