Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Legislators Show Support for Women’s Hearts

A survivor, a Senator and a cardiothoracic surgeon provide heartfelt testimony!

The Women's Heart Health Promotion Act (SF 473) moved one step closer to securing more funding! On March 9, the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee voted to pass this important bill! It now moves to the Senate Health and Human Services Budget Committee.

The American Heart Association had two great testifiers inform the committee about how investing in prevention saves lives and dollars. Natasha Fleischman, a cardiac arrest survivor and WomenHeart volunteer, shared her poignant story about experiencing sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 33. She emphasized the importance of women of all ages better understanding their risk factors and how to address them.

Dr. Mary Boylan, a cardiothoracic surgeon from St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, also appeared in front of the committee and provided information about how prevention of heart disease and stroke can make significant impacts on the health of Minnesotan women and can reduce death, disability and save in health care costs. She emphasized that 80% of cardiovascular disease can be prevented, but women must be made aware of their risk factors with simple tests. She also emphasized the cost-effectiveness of this program, citing research that preventing just 14 women from hospitalization of heart disease pays for the program.

The Women's Heart Health Promotion Act provides funding to invest in early detection and management of risk factors by increasing funding to the state program that provides screenings for low-income and uninsured women. This program currently screens about 1,000 women. We could increase this to as many as 15,000 to truly make an impact and save lives with the Women's Heart Health Promotion Act.

Thanks to all the advocates who sent letters in support of this bill to their Senators! And thanks to our chief author, Senator Patricia Torres-Ray (62)!

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